Sunday, April 30, 2017

The New Normal

I am a full time mom.
I am a full time student.
I am no longer a full employee.
I am no longer a principal.

I am no longer the maker of my own schedule.
I can no longer sleep when I please.
I can no longer move around as I please (still healing).
I am no longer simply a working wife.

J.T. goes back to work tomorrow and so that means it's just me, Isabella, and the puppies.  The whole day laid out before us.  The first day after a three week hiatus from a routine that no longer exists for me.

Over the last two weeks I have been asked by various doctors and nurses "What do you do?".  Technically I am still a principal so I threw that out there.  However I also tried out stay at home mom and full time student.  Despite the former being exactly what I wanted I seem to stumble over the words.

Maybe it's because I don't know what it means.  I've been raised by one.  I have said I want to be one my entire life.  However, now that I stand at the threshold I'm not totally sure they it means.

There will be no orientation.  There is no schedule, mission, vision or handbook by which to abide.  There are no tests, certifications or formal evaluations.

Where do I begin?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2 Weeks Old

For week 3, we will do a better job of getting some shots with her eyes open:).

Back in the Clink err I mean Hospital

Soooo, regulating my internal thermostat has been a bit tricky over the last week.  I seem to be either roasting or freezing.  Monday evening I was finalizing a paper and realized upon submitting that I had the chills and was achy.  In taking my temperature I did not have a fever, but given the pain meds I was taken it was possible one of them was masking a fever.  I called the nurse triage line and shared my concerns.  She suggested that I wait until my pain meds were on the back end and take my temperature.  If I was running a fever in the morning I should call the doctors office to come in.

At 1:30 am I was running a low grade fever (99-100), but it was gone by the time I got up.  So we just continued with our day.  At about 4:00 I laid down for a 30 minute cat nap and when I woke up at 4:30 I felt like I was on fire.  The thermometer confirmed my temperature was hovering just above 103.

Of course the doctor's office had just closed so I again got in touch with the triage line.  They instructed me to make my way to urgent care.  Since we couldn't crate Isabella the way we could the dogs, we had to quickly come up with a new plan.  My friend Stacy, who lives in our neighborhood, had stopped by the previous morning and had said to call her if we needed anything.  Little did she know we would be calling so soon!  We got everything organized and headed to urgent care.

After hearing my deal:  c-section, fever, no other symptoms, they immediately sent me back to the hospital sight unseen:(.  They gave me Tylenol upon arrival and during the near 2 hours we waited (Evenings are a busy time in ERs apparently!) my fever seemed to break.  So I figured (more like wishfully hoped) that all was well and we could go home.  But it turns out you can't just have a fever without an underlying cause-go figure!

So they did several tests to try to determine the cause.  There was a changing of the guards where my brother came up to stay with me so J.T. could go home and relieve Stacy (I am too chicken to be in the hospital by myself).  And it was almost 11 when, finally, a CT Scan showed that there was an abscess near my uterus which was most likely the result of the c-section.  Damn rabbit hole never seems to end!

They said it could be resolved with antibiotics (phew-no surgery); however, these antibiotics could only be given through IV so I would be staying the night.  They transferred me up to the maternity ward and allowed J.T. and Isabella to come and stay with me...yay!  My brother stayed until J.T. and Isabella got there around midnight.  We settled in and around 3am one of my OBGYN's stopped by and dropped the bombshell that yes IV antibiotics would likely be all that were needed, but that they would be needed for 24-48 hours (likely at least 36) so I was looking at spending at least two nights back in the clink hospital.

Are your freaking kidding me?!?  I have spent more time in the hospital in the month of April than I had in my ENTIRE life and poor Isabella was spending the first half of her short, little life behind bars with me!  J.T. also ended up having to take additional leave from work as he was supposed to return on Thursday.  While I can't stand being in the hospital, being with my little family made it much more bearable.

The crazy thing is that once that fever broke Tuesday night I had no other visible issues.  Nurses kept stopping in and saying you are looking great...I was the healthiest sick person around!  Wednesday was spent watching LOTS of HGTV while they gave me 4 IVs of antibiotics over the course of the day/night.  I was bored and I swear being in a hospital just makes me feel more sick.  Though the good news was that the fever stayed away and no other symptoms emerged.

We got sprung for the second, and God willing final, time Thursday morning around 9.  I don't think they had ever seen someone so excited to leave.  Again, they are an amazing staff, but I don't do hospitals!!!!  Picture the italicized words being said like this:

I will follow up with a week of oral antibiotics and a doctor's appointment next week.  Fingers crossed this is the very bottom of the rabbit hole as I don't want to know what would come next!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finding our Groove

Parents have been a godsend.  I am still swollen and despite the steady stream of narcotics and painkillers, moving around like a 90 year old women who has not slept more than 2 consecutive hours in almost a week.  They grocery shopped, cooked, mowed and took more than their share of turns holding holding baby girl.  I am as happy for them to be grandparents (again) as I am for us to be parents.  We have had  a few visitors and haven't had to cook a single meal.  My parents ended up staying an extra day until Wednesday morning to eek just a little more time with sweet girl, visiting my brother, and helping/spending time with us.

These are all good things because Isabella, in classic newborn style, is confused between day and night.  Our girl is a rockstar of a sleeper especially during the day.  We have to wake her to eat.  This is true at night as well, except she takes much longer to go to sleep.  We are up every three hours, and are awake for about 90 minutes at a stretch.

Monday, Isabella didn't produce much output, which on the one hand was pleasant, but clearly troubling.  We had a pedi appointment scheduled for Wednesday, but I called first thing Tuesday morning and they told us to come in at one.

Her weight had not increased since we left the hospital Sunday (somewhere around 7 lb. 12. oz).  The pedi who released us on Sunday did not seem very worried about the loss being around 10% even when I brought it up.  However, the pedi we met with on Tuesday wanted us to begin a new routine.  Breast, pumped milk, and formula to supplement every two hours.  She also suggested we meet with a lactation consultant.

We came back for our previously scheduled appointment the next day.  She had already put on a few ounces with the new routine.  She also was given a clean bill of health and is in 86th%tile for head circumference (I told you she had a big ole head), 83%tile for height (20.5 inches) and 65th%tile for weight (work in progress).

The next day we went to the lactation consultant appointment.  I warned J.T. in advance that if she told me that I was part of our issues, I would likely cry.  And cry I did.  So you see, I seem to have this trifecta working against me:  c-section, infertility, and a limited amount of breast tissue (somehow my boobs were the one part of me that didn't grow so much-eye roll).  As a result, Isabella is not getting more than half an ounce out me and I am currently pumping only about an ounce or two at a time.

Why is it that my body needs significant intervention for anything related to reproduction?!?!?!  The only thing I seem to be able to do on my own is carry a pregnancy to term.  Which I am pleased about and recognize as no small feat; however, when you look at all the parts: conception, pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding I can only do 1/4 of these things on my makes me sad:(.

She sent us home with a slightly modified version of our current game plan, and we scheduled an appointment to come back a week later.  Fingers crossed things are looking up in a week!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Time to Go Home- A Very Special Easter Sunday!

We got sprung from the clink this morning!  Discharge was pretty smooth and we were on our way home around 11.

Out of force of habit I rode in the front seat (Mama fail), but fortunately we live less than 2 miles from the hospital so it wasn't really a big deal-crisis #1 averted!

Step one was the introduction between Isabella and the puppies.  We had done some prep.  We had all of her stuff set up around the house for a while so they could get used to it.  We had also sent home hats and things over the weekend with our parents so they could acclimate to her smell.  J.T. brought the carrier in so the puppies could jump all over me first:).  Then he sat it down and let them take a look at her.  They are good puppies and the initial intro was a success!


Our parents were hugely helpful assisting us get unpacked and settled.  J.T.'s mom left in the afternoon and my parents made Easter Dinner for which my brother joined us.  Isabella watched us eat from her bouncy chair without a peep.  

This was without a doubt, my favorite Easter on record:).

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Parenting in a hospital room

J.T. did an awesome job with Isabella overnight.  She woke up off and on.  He would hand her to me.  I would feed her.  He would change her, swaddle her (he is a master swaddler) and put her back down or hold her.  Neither one of us slept very much (shocking I know!) and as the sun began to rise I was totally looking forward to getting out of bed.

Normally they allow c-section patients to leave their beds 12 hours after surgery.  Of course, I got to be the exception to the rule (insert eye roll).  My stomach was apparently distended which they did not like so much.  As a result I was trapped in the bed without food or water (what is this prison?!?) until they were totally sure I was not headed back to the OR.

Our parents rolled in the next morning bright and early and while they breathed in their new granddaughter also provided J.T. with some assistance as the only mobile parent.  Isabella slept off and on during the day.  I would feed her and pump (apparently c-section births often result in a delayed milk supply so they were helping me get a head start).   Then someone would change her, hold her and lay her down.  She was definitely on the upper end of the sleepy-o-meter for newborns:).

The morning drug into the afternoon and finally at 4:00 I was given assistance to get out of bed, permitted a liquid diet, AND I even got to shower!  That dinner of Jello, Italian Ice, Sprite and chicken broth might have been the most delicious meal I had ever eaten.  While my belly felt better, my legs were wrecked.  Attached to my body were a pair of legs normally seen on an elephant.  They were so swollen I could not straighten them at the knees.  Apparently it is normal given the length of my (attempted) labor, c-section, and then additional fluids given throughout the day.  Normal, but by far one of the strangest sensations I had ever experienced (of course that bar had just been increase 100 fold over the previous 48 hours!).
C-section births require a three night stay in the hospital (our first uneventful night, of course did not count).  So Friday into Saturday brought about much of the same, but this time we were in the hole two nights of sleep.  As a result, when the nurse came into check on us at about 2am she saw J.T. was dead to the world, I was likely dozing in a chair holding Isabella and quickly deduced now was the right time for Isabella's health assessment.  When she asked I immediately said yes and traded in my tiny girl for a measly hour (well actually less since nurses were still in and out monitoring me) of sleep.  This makes me normal not a bad mom, right?!?  If you believe it's the latter, please feel free to not to respond!

Saturday brought the return of family and more eating, bodily functions, and sleeping for Isabella.   For her parents it brought an opportunity for J.T. to go out to eat with his mom and visitors for both parents.   We also took a few walks around the floor which was encouraged to allow my legs to begin to drain.  Of course my footwear choices consisted of the x-tra large socks provided by the hospital or the large men's flips flops my mother-in-law had to go out and buy me since the ones I came in wearing were too small for my monster feet.   And for the nursing staff it brought nearly a whole day of questioning from me when I could have real food:).

I will pause here and sing accolades of our hospital staff.  They were amazing.  Even though we ended up at the very bottom of the rabbit hole I went in intending to avoid, it wasn't because they pushed me.  They provided me opportunities at every pass and what I had in mind simply wasn't in the cards.  Also, the nurses (they changed shifts every 12 hours so we had a bunch), anesthesiologists, and other support staff answered my gazillion questions, laughed at my stupid jokes, and were genuinely supportive every step of the way.

Finally at around 6pm I was given the all clear for a regular diet and the Cobb salad my mom and brother went out and brought back was the second most delicious meal I had ever eaten behind the previous night's feast:).  Things were looking up and our sweet girl truly has an amazing temperate.  She really only cries when her diaper needs changing or she's naked...little miss prim and proper:).  That being said we couldn't wait to get sprung and head home with baby girl on Sunday.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Labor Day

The back labor got the better of me around 1:30am when I took an additional step down the rabbit hole, by requesting an epidural.  The epidural made the labor more manageable and I could still move my legs which was good.  I got zero sleep that night though my body continue to slowly, but surely dilate.

I was not allowed to eat and with no sleep and the hours ticking by, I was beginning to think this would never end!  J.T. was awesome, but at one point that next morning I just called my mom (who was a little more than 20 feet away) and cried because I was so exhausted.  A little after the tears, I go really silly and then sometime around 1:00 (a full 24 hours after we had arrived) they checked me and declared me 9.999cm dilated, fully effaced, baby girl was at the proper station and it was time to push.

And push I did.  Luckily I could still move my legs because pushing on my back was a no go for me.  We tried a bunch of different positions until we found a few that I liked.  However, as much as I liked them and as hoarse as I was getting we were well into my four hour play list when the doctor came back and explained that I had pushing for almost two hours with very little to show for it (he said it better than that, but that's how I took it!).  He began to use the c word which immediately dissolved me to tears.  He took pity on my sorry soul and said he would let me push until 7 (my magical intervention time apparently) and then we would have to seriously consider a c-section.

This new challenge sparked new life in me, but unfortunately this new life did little in the way of physical progress and by the time he came back it was obvious to all that I was headed to the operating room.  By this time I had managed to have massive shoulder pain and they way I had to lay on the table made it infinitely worse.

I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say the only good thing about a c-section is that it brought us our baby girl at 8:18pm.  Turns our girl was a big 'un measuring 8 lbs. 10 oz. at just under 39 weeks.  She also has a big ole head AND was "sunny side up".  So even if I did not enjoy the c-section it turns out it was the best way of brining Isabella into the world.

J.T. got to see her arrive (while still holding my hand) and cut her umbilical cord.  When they handed her to me I was shaking/convulsing uncontrollably from the medication but it must have been like a bouncy chair because as soon as they laid her on my chest she stopped crying.

J.T. joined us in the recovery room where he got to change her first diaper and I got to give her her first feeding.  Our hospital only has a NICU, no general nursery, so all babies room in with their parents.  Around 10:00pm they took us back to our room where our parents all got to meet her and we got to spend our first night, finally, as parents.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It's game time!

Welp, so much for appliance shopping.  Isabella had other plans for today!

I woke up at 7, went to the bathroom, laid back down and felt like I had gone to the bathroom again:(.
There was no "pop" or gush just a trickle and slow stream of fluid.  After shuffling back and forth from the bathroom a few more times, I asked J.T. if he had slept well last night because it looked like today was going to get interesting!

After changing a couple of times, it appeared that this might be the real deal despite not feeling any contractions.  I called the nurse triage line as the office didn't open until 8:30.  They asked if I wanted to go to the hospital or the doctor's office.  Doctor's office for sure, so I made an appointment for 9:15.

Because we were worked in we didn't make it into the actual doctor until almost 10.  I was soaked and even managed to make a splash right there on the floor.  The doctor swabbed, but was pretty certain that my water was in fact broken.  She examined me and found I was 2cm dilated.  She gave us the option of going straight to the hospital or going home first and checking in at the hospital at 1:00.  Given that I still had not packed my hospital bag (I thought I had time!) and still had not begun contracting, we chose the latter.

We arrived promptly at 1:00 at the hospital with only one possible contraction felt.  When we arrived the doctor began to discuss Pitocin, but not being shy, I asked about the possibility of having some time to try to walk and use the exercise ball to see if we could still get things going on our own.  The doctor agreed and said she would be back at 7 to see how things were going.

So we walked, and we walked and we walked.  I bounced, and I bounced and I bounced.  6 hours later, there was still nada in way of contractions though I had dilated a bit more and was more effaced.  Next step was the first step down the rabbit hole of intervention and they started me on the Pitocin drip around 8:00.

Our parents were en route by this point and as much as having they waiting stressed me out, those thoughts eventually went out the window.  They increased the Pitocin in increments of 2 every 30 minutes and about 2-3 hours later I was having some fierce back labor.    It was going to be a long night...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Labor Playlist and Kaput Dryer

So far I am keeping up with my to do list and getting things knocked off!  Today's tasks involved putting together my labor playlist (4 hours in all-hopefully will only go through it once--fingers crossed!!!).  It is quite an eclectic list.  Some highlights include Salt N Peppa's "Push it" (which I am hoping will make me laugh, Linkin Park's "Break" which always gets me moving, and a host of other relaxing and energetic numbers.

The dyer repair man also made an appearance today.  On Sunday I dried three loads of laundry.  The first dried with no problem, but the third not so much.  It would tumble for about 10 minutes and then cut off-no matter what cycle.  It also would not produce any heat.  Just what you want when you are expecting a newborn-lacking laundry facilities.

Unfortunately, the repairman let us know that the repairs would cost almost as much as a new dryer so we are currently shopping around.  Unfortunately, we have several things working against us.  They no longer make our dryer.  Our washer and dryer stack and apparently stacking appliances are not interchangeable.  Our current washing machine will not work in the laundry closet side by side with a new dryer (1989 house + 2010 appliances= not a good fit).  So it looks like the week prior to having a baby we are buying a washer AND a dryer.  Sigh...we are going to sleep on our selection and pull the trigger in the morning.

At least it waited until spring break to conk out on us.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break!

Teachers, principals, any adult who works at a school really!  This break will not be much of a break for me.  Rather it will be a knock everything off of my to-do list before little Isabella arrives.  I have given her permission to come on Easter, but not before.  Let's see what kind of a listener she is!

I have some things to get done around the house (like packing the bags for the hospital!), course work, and cleaning out my office and some other last touches before passing the principal torch to my interim.

Fingers crossed I get it all done!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Weekly Checkup

My BP-check!
Measuring on time-check!
My weight-check!

I did express some concern about not feeling Isabella as frequently this week.  Tuesday night I took a bath and realized I had not felt her as much that day.  I got out, drank a Capri Sun, laid on my left side and took kick counts.  I got ten kicks in less than 10 minutes, so that made me feel better.  However, Wednesday and Thursday it was more of the same.  Just to be safe the doctor ordered a NST (Non-Stress Test).

When we were done, the doctor declared that "baby looked beautiful!".  So I am going to chalk this up to a crazy week where I have not been able to focus much on her movements during the day (sorry, Ella!) and her movements not being as strong since she has less space to really add any momentum to them.

I will be so happy when this little girl is on the outside!

Sunday, April 2, 2017


So I understand that I will not be able to jump into my pre-baby clothes upon leaving the hospital AND I recognize that ,while my maternity clothes would be a good go-to fit wise, I will now need regular access to my boobs.  Since this had not been a priority previous virtually none of my maternity tops or sleep wear (giant t-shirts) will double very well for nursing.

On top of that the bra I bought in the fall during my boob's brief growth spurt (now wear a B which is still big rather than an A that was too big:) is the only one I have needed so I also need a bra that allows access.  On top of all of this, comfort will be king but I also want to feel somewhat like myself so will want to feel somewhat pulled together.

Annnd, there's the fact that I am cheap and had not considered budgeting for a postpartum wardrobe.  So much pressure:)!!!!

This morning I spent some time on Amazon and this is what I came up with (all have free returns!).    I also bought a boring beige nursing bra.

Any thoughts, suggestions, links?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

It's April!

How did that happen?!? We are now in the home I continue to live in the land of delusion that she will arrive on April 21.  Hey I'm sticking to it until proven otherwise and who knows we tend to live in the minority in this arena so maybe she really will be part of the 5% who come on their due date.

I am sooo excited to meet her, but I'm not going to lie, the whole her-getting-out keeps lingering on my mind and so I am good with the 2 weeks and 6 days we have left.  Let her finish baking, let me/us finish getting stuff done out here, and give me a couple more weeks to buck up and mentally prepare for the most physically daunting task I have ever endured-yippee!

As far as things still left to do:   her nursery is ready to go;we set up the pack and play downstairs this morning and will set up the co-sleeper either this weekend or next; I washed her clothes last Sunday and will try to do the blankets tomorrow.  We still have to install the car seats and pack the hospital bags, but otherwise feel ready on the home front.

I would like to look into some postpartum clothing items (nursing bras, tops, etc.) and stock up on paper products and other home necessities, but if we get stuck can always rely on Amazon Prime in a pinch.   I am planning to use the pick-up feature from our Wal-mart grocery tomorrow for the first time to give that a spin. I submitted our order yesterday, but the first available pick up time they had was tomorrow at 3.  I suspect this process will come in handy over the next month or so.  I am also getting together with friends to do a Wildtree Party next Saturday so we should have 10 freezer dinners ready to roll.

On the work front, the interim principal is supposed to come by this week to shadow me.  I am also conducting all of the summative evaluations for my staff of 50 and wrapping up as many other lose ends as possible in the event that I end up not returning after Spring Break the following week.  It was so sweet at lunch on Friday as one of the second grade classes was leaving one of the little girls said "Bye Mrs. K...bye Isabella!".  I am going to miss the people (both small and big), but am certainly not going to miss the stress!

On the school front, my classes are winding down in terms of actually meeting for class.  The next two weeks I only have two classes physically meeting each week and the following week I have none.  The not meeting is to allow us time to work on:  two research proposals, a docuvideo, a course syllabus, and a presentation poster.  My goal is to have each of these completed prior to the end of my spring break from work on the 16th (fingers crossed!).

God willing Isabella will hold on until at least Easter; however, even if she doesn't I know He's got this and will help us to follow suit!