Life through the eyes of a diabetic, first-time mom.
On Monday I was at Lake Wilderness Elementary School in Tina Newberry’s fifth grade social studies class. I was there to witness students using netbooks for the first time in the classroom.
It is part of the Tahoma School District’s efforts to help students at all age levels have access to the best kinds of technology tools with the idea that the skills learned will help them after they walk of the stage, diploma in hand, ready to head out into the world that is increasingly wired and wireless.
This kind of thing is funded by a technology levy passed in 2006 — a levy that took three attempts before it finally passed — which over its four year life will collect $10 million in taxes from residents of the district.
I have no problem admitting that as a resident of the district, I voted for the levy, and would do so again. At the time we didn’t have kids and hadn’t decided to have kids. But, there’s a whole lot of kids in Maple Valley, about one-third of the city’s 20,000-plus residents are under the age of 18.
And a handful of them live on my block not to mention the hundreds of youngsters that live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
My thought process then was if the kids who live around me are getting a good education and have plenty of opportunities to do the right thing they won’t go breaking into my car or my house.
Now, though, I realize that someday my own kid will be using these tools. Whoa.
As I stood next to Kevin Patterson, the district’s spokesman, and talked with him about how far technology has come just in the four years since the technology levy originally passed (which I wrote about then, too, and that’s crazy for me to wrap my mind around having been working in this community that long).
Then I thought, man, imagine what kind of cool stuff kids are going to have when Lyla is in grade school. Right now students are using netbooks to draw maps, create PowerPoint presentations — a skill I do not have and I consider myself quite tech savvy — and do online research.
And not just kids at Tahoma High, no, all the kids at the elementary level have access to these netbooks and eventually there will be 1,700 of them throughout the district.
Considering less than six months ago I bought myself a Toshiba netbook to tote around in my camera bag for doing interviews and other handy work-related things, this puts Tahoma on the edge of technology, not quite the bleeding edge because netbooks have been available for a few years now but in the past six months or so have really come into their own.
I am trying to envision what kind of cool stuff Lyla will be doing in kindergarten with technology, in fifth grade, in high school. It blows my mind.
My dad was an engineer, an O.G., and by that I mean original (tech) geek. When I was five years old I was playing video games on a black and white screen monitor on a computer my dad had at home. He had a VCR and a microwave in the early 1980s when they were still novelties.
I remember sitting next to him on the couch when I was 7 years old, watching “Dennis the Menace” on Nickelodeon, nodding inattentively while keeping one eye on the TV as he explained how batteries worked.
So, here I am, 31 years old. My dad is long gone. But the geek factor is clearly an inherited trait.
Look in my camera bag for an example. Inside is a Nikon D80 with an 18-135mm lens attached, a speed flash in another compartment, and a Sigma 70-300mm telephoto lens. Also in there is my netbook, a digital voice recorder (the high tech version of a tape recorder minus the tapes) and my 120GB iPod classic with Bose TriPort headphones.
If someone got hold of my camera bag they would have well over $1,500 in gadgets.
Add to that my love of cell phones. I have the newest BlackBerry available, the Bold 2, which replaced my year-old Bold. I ordered it from at&t with my upgrade the day before I went into the hospital to have Lyla. It was waiting on my door step when we brought her home.
Normally I would have torn into that box right away and set up my new toy.
It took me almost four days. A newborn is kind of hard not to focus on.
Quite a few folks jokingly asked what cell phone Lyla would be getting. Heh.
Oh, I already have a couple cheapo spares ready for her to play with when she starts reaching for my BlackBerry. And she will.
Now I also wonder how much will she be into technology.
According to a guy name Ian Jukes who spoke to Tahoma teachers a couple years ago, kids these days are “digital natives” anybody over the age of 25 is a “digital immigrant.”
Pfft. Not me!
But, anyway, the point is this tech stuff is second nature to kids these days.
So, if I’m lucky, we won’t blame any tech geekiness on my genes and simply say Lyla’s just one of them “digital natives” Mr. Jukes talks about.
Meantime, how young is too young to give a kid their first cell phone?
Oh, you think I’m kidding. Ha. Ha. Ha.
The conversations I’m preparing to have with my daughter. I have to be prepared because every parent I know says time flies and before I know she’ll be graduating high school.
I think I’m going to stop envisioning the future of technology in Lyla’s lifetime and just enjoy her being a baby.
The rest of the stuff, I’ll deal with it when the time comes. Yeah.
Many people say tattoos are addicting, once you get one, you’ll want more.
For me, this has been quite true.
My first tattoo was one I thought about for a long time. When I was 16, a junior in high school, I decided I wanted a feather quill pen on my right forearm. Then I went to college and thought about it some more. I realized I couldn’t have a tattoo there and get a job in an office. Since I decided I wanted to be a journalist before I settled on this tattoo, I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize getting a job in the business, so I figured I’d get the ink on my right arm in the bicep area.
Then I moved to Las Vegas after graduating from college where sleeveless shirts in the summer are a must, at least for women, so I decided the final placement of my first tattoo would be on my right shoulder blade.
With no knowledge about how to select an artist, I went to the nearest place I could find to get the work done, Diversity on Maryland Parkway across from UNLV. Our apartment was just a half mile away.
I set my appointment for my birthday, Sept. 8, 2002. I turned 24 that day. It took eight years from initial thought (though legally I couldn’t get one for two years after I came up with the idea) to finally going and getting it.
Much to my dismay, the kid who did the tattoo showed up an hour and a half late, he barely grunted more than a few words to me during the process and not long into it I found out he had only been tattooing for about nine months. I paid $150 for my tattoo, about double what I would’ve paid anywhere else.
My second tattoo was a much better experience. In October 2007 I decided to write a story about Maple Valley Tattoo next to Gloria’s on Maple Valley Highway. I decided a great way to write the story would be to get a tattoo. I had wanted to get a memorial tattoo for my dad, who died when I was 7 1/2, because my mom scattered his ashes but doesn’t remember where anymore. At the time, she wouldn’t tell me, so I guess I’ll never know.
So, I decided to get a triquetra knot, also known as the trinity knot. It’s common design found in Celtic knotwork. It seems like I have a lot of Scottish stock in my ancestry, particularly on my dad’s side, which seemed appropriate. Another reason I picked the triquetra is because it looks like three fishes, or pisces, and my dad’s birthday is in March, making him a Pisces. Plus, I just liked the way it looked. His name and birth date are also part of the tattoo.
Eddie Campion did the work and I love the way it looks.
My third tattoo was done by Jay Hand in June 2008 while he was at Ancient’s Arts tattoos in Renton. It covers up a scar on my lower back that remained following surgery I had in March 2006 to repair a bulging/herniated disc. By the time I got this piece done I was totally pain free and felt like that was a good time to cover up the scar. It was closure. I just like fleur de lys. I know I had some good reasons for why I picked this, but, first I figured it was different plus there’s some strong connections to this symbol from my teen years as well as some more connection to my ancestry, both French and Scottish.
Finally, another very personal tattoo. I got this one done yesterday. Not long after I found out I was pregnant, maybe a month or so, I decided I would get the baby’s name tattooed on me as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I tracked Jay down at Kya’s Underground Ink in Auburn via Facebook.
I got a time set up with him after talking over the idea on the phone. I told him what I wanted in sort of vague terms and somehow I got exactly what I was looking for from him, but, given how awesome my previous ink came out this wasn’t at all surprising. I love it and hope Lyla does, too, when she’s old enough to realize what it means.
What will I do someday when she comes to me wanting a tattoo? I’ll tell her she better wait till she’s 18. Then I’ll talk it over with her, what does she want, where does she want it, will it have an impact on any future career plans and go with it from there. If she seems dead set on it and it won’t create an obstacle for her, as well as if it means something, then I wouldn’t try and stop her — at least that’s how I feel now. I can only hope that my own thoughtfulness in the process to getting each tattoo will inform her own thoughts on the matter. For all I know, she’ll hate tattoos and never want one. We’ll just have to wait and see.
For now, I can only hope that she understands that I put her name on my shoulder so she’ll always be with me, because I am so proud to have her in my life and that I love her more than I could ever express in words.
Yesterday morning I rolled into the office to work for a living for the first time since the middle of November.
It was a little weird to be going work after more than six weeks away from the place but once I sat down and started talking to Dennis about everything that’s been happening around here (and it’s been a whole lot, good, bad and otherwise) it felt like I’d never left.
We went over some of the more interesting stories that broke while I was gone — I swear, all hell broke loose, people getting fired, quitting, resigning mid-term, developments changing their construction schedules, and so on — as well as talking about what we would be dealing with this week as far as getting the paper out.
Dennis is a great boss and definitely did what he could to ease my transition back. I totally appreciate that … but don’t tell him I said that to you. I would *never* give him such a compliment in person because then he’d want to don a cape and mask pretending he’s a superhero. Or worse.
But, I digress.
Colleen Starr from Vine Maple Place stopped in yesterday afternoon to drop off some calendars bearing the name of the local non-profit she founded. VMP helps single homeless parents transition from a tough situation to permanent housing and as a Christian based organization supported by the community and local churches, they help through faith, counseling and education.
One of the very first stories I wrote after we started the Covington/Maple Valley Reporter was about Vine Maple Place and Colleen is one of the first people in the community I met, so, I was happy to see her on my first day back to work.
She asked me how motherhood is treating me.
I love it. I love being a mommy more than I could have ever imagined.
So, as you can imagine, it was a challenge to leave Lyla at home yesterday morning. I have to admit, I had to hold back a few tears, but I took a deep breath and kissed her and my husband goodbye for the day.
There is no doubt that I was torn. I have loved journalism since I first got into it when I was a sophomore in high school. The longer I’ve done it, the more I love being in the business, and I’m thankful to be working here because my office is only two miles from my house. Plus, it’s just fun covering these communities, especially now that I’ve been doing it for more than four years.
That’s why I blogged while on leave. I had to stay connected and keep writing. Ultimately, the core of my identity is the fact I’m a writer, even if I weren’t a reporter I’d still be a writer.
But, now, another significant part of my identity is being a mom.
Somehow, I have to find a way to balance both. I am pretty sure I can do it, especially with the help of Jason, as well as our family. Heck, even our friends are awesome and supportive.
For example, I bought U2 tickets for the show at Qwest Field that’s coming up in June, and I posted on Facebook that I got the tickets. A couple wonderful ladies were offering to babysit when I mentioned I’d need one. It was bordering on a friendly competition. Heh.
Lyla is blessed to be so loved.
And that’s what makes it easy for me to be back at work, the knowledge that she is well taken care of when I’m not there, that way I can make a living to make sure she never wants for anything.
But, she is the wallpaper on my cellphone, because I do miss little Lyla terribly. It’s all I can do not to pester Jason (who is off for a few weeks to spend time with her now that I’m back to work) constantly to find out what she’s doing.
Tonight when I get home from work I’m sure I’ll rush in the door and scoop her up then shower her with kisses and coos and hugs.
That’s me, journalist, wife, working mom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s been nearly eight months since I first met my obstetrician at Valley Women’s Clinic. I had been a patient there for a few years but my annual exam had been done by a nurse practitioner, Barb, whom I like quite well. Since things generally looked good there hadn’t been a need to see one of the doctors.
Then I got pregnant and after the initial once over by Barb in May, I finally met the OB who would handle my pregnancy, and as I didn’t have a preference they assigned me one seemingly arbitrarily.
Now, I had done my research and not only had I found that I liked all of the docs in the practice on paper, but I’d had nothing but positive experiences with the clinic staff so I wasn’t stressed — especially when Barb reassured me that this doc has a ton of experience with high risk pregnancies, more than 20 years in fact, and that other OB/GYN practices sent their high risk patients to VWC.
The first time we were supposed to meet the doc, he got called away to deliver a baby, so when we finally got to (Jason went to all but a handful of appointments with me) meet him it was a relief.
He walked in the room and said, “Hi, I’m Jim Rice,” then shook both of our hands. We talked some things over and from the start he was serious about making sure I got my diabetes under control.
For some time I was sure the man had no sense of humor. I realize now that because of his approach I probably did a better job managing my diabetes and ultimately the pregnancy than I might have with a more lenient doctor.
And now that Lyla is here, Dr. Rice is totally different, well he even showed his humor when I was in the hospital. In fact, I wanted to tell him at one point that it’s nice to know he’s such a smart aleck.
Last Wednesday I went in for my six week post-partum appointment and I would dare say he was almost relaxed.
Right after, “How are you?,” he went straight to asking about my blood sugar.
I paused for a moment, seriously considering bluffing my way through this conversation, much like I have with my endocrinologist over the past three years.
Instead, I realized I respect him too much to lie, so I came out with it.
“I don’t know.”
And he lectured me a little bit but I explained that I had an excuse. I broke the lancet pen on one of my meters and I couldn’t find the other one.
He said that he’d order me another one but he couldn’t because I’m not pregnant anymore. I promised him I would get another one and I would get back to it because he’s right, it is important to keep my diabetes under control still.
Luckily, I stopped at my office that afternoon and discovered that my extra meter was in my desk drawer where I had left it, instead of lost somewhere because I thought I had put it in my camera bag and brought it home before I went on leave.
Had I not found it, though, Jason would have picked one up for me … he can get me a meter for $15 at the pharmacy he works at so no excuse for not testing.
Now, if I could ever get more than quick answers out during appointments, I would have explained to him that I remember vividly how sick my dad was before he died of complications from Type 1 diabetes when I was 7 years old. His feet were purple due to loss of circulation, he was blind, and generally miserable, not to mention grossly overweight.
That is the kind of thing that motivated me to take care of myself while pregnant and will continue to motivate me during the rest of my life. Not only do I owe it to myself, I owe it to my husband and more importantly, to my daughter.
But, I digress…
After discussing birth control — hey, there’s no reason to get pregnant again right away, hopefully everyone understands — and settling on a new method since the pill made impossible for me to lose weight there was the joy of the full on exam. I’ll spare you the details because the conversation was more interesting anyway.
Becky, his assistant, asked how was Christmas with her.
“It was great,” I said. “She slept through most of it and was passed around from relative to relative.”
“I bet she got her weight in gifts,” Dr. Rice said.
“Oh yes, toys she can’t play with yet and clothes she can’t wear, but that’s OK. That’ll come in handy later.”
Something he mentioned related to the new birth control method we agreed on led me to say something about how it would be ideal to have some space between child no. 1 and child no. 2, though it did take me almost nine years to talk my husband into having no. 1.
“Now that you’ve had her,” he said, “and she wraps him around her little finger, it won’t take nearly as long the second time around.”
Sounded like he was speaking from experience. Heh.
Becky also kept commenting on how cute Lyla is — I hear this a lot so my ego gets bigger all the time — and my favorite moment of the appointment came.
“She is precious,” Dr. Rice said.
I have to think that getting to this point is one of the reasons he does this job, which from what I’ve read requires some of the most hours put in of any specialty, at least 55 to 60 hours a week on the low end with many OB/GYN’s putting in upwards of 100 hours a week.
At the end he said that everything looked good and he’d see me in a year.
He put out his hand and shook mine again, closing with “Happy New Year” before turning to leave.
What a New Year for me, the first time in my life I haven’t minded watching the holiday season and the old year slip away as I trudge forward into the dark and dreary dead of winter.
And to think, this time last year we were just planning to start trying, with the hopes I’d be pregnant by Christmas.
Now we have our little family, I’ve got the clean bill of health, goals for taking care of myself and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
Let’s see how long this lovely glow lasts.
Tomorrow, I go back to work.
First, let me tackle old habits.
Hi, my name is Kris and I have a potty mouth.
There are a fair number of you reading this who are surprised by this revelation. I make every effort, especially when I’m dealing with sources, the public in general and just about anyone I encounter in my professional life to keep my foul language out of the conversation. I do this because I am representing not only my newspaper, but my company and the profession of journalism and they all deserve the utmost respect. Nothing I do should sully that if I can help it.
But, anyone who knows me outside of work knows that I can curse a blue streak.
It’s an old habit.
Growing up going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with my mom (she got sober two years before she got pregnant with me) I learned a lot of bad words at an early age.
I didn’t really begin to employ this knowledge until I was a freshman in high school. I was quite the angry teenager and when my fuse was lit generally how I would respond was with some inappropriate outburst of obscenities followed by stalking off with a figurative black cloud over my head.
As I got more into writing and found better, more constructive ways to express myself, this became less frequent. But it took some time.
But, the outside of work version of my speech is still peppered with a lot of bad words, and I worry that Lyla will pick up on that and eventually incorporate that into her own vocabulary.
I’m not so sure I can curb my bad language around her, but, I’m going to try. I know I probably don’t need to worry about it for a little while but I know that little ears pick up on those things sooner than you think.
As for new habits, well, my eating habits that I developed during my pregnancy are sticking a lot better than I thought they would.
Now, with a newborn, it’s been hard to eat perfectly and some days I hardly eat at all because it’s more important to me that Lyla’s needs are met.
During my pregnancy, I couldn’t wait until all the dietary restrictions were off and I could eat whatever I wanted again.
Now I’m finding myself generally making the same choices and eating the same healthy things I was eating for six months to manage my blood sugar.
I have, however, totally embraced caffeine again. Mmm.
But, some of the other things I was looking forward to aren’t as great as I thought they would be, like potatoes. I thought I missed French fries. Turns out that I’m pretty good without them. I’d rather eat fruit or salad than have fries.
Yesterday I was at Target at The Landing in Renton. I love the cheap-o popcorn they sell in the little cafe. I almost always get a bag of it on my way out. Yesterday I had no trouble resisting. In the past, if I tried to leave without buying it, I’d have quite an internal conflict.
Another thing that helps is my appetite is much smaller and it’s easier to eat better when you get full fast. Portion control is critical.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been great about testing my blood sugar. Yesterday I stopped by the office and found my extra meter was still there and not lost somewhere in my house as I had thought.
So, my plan is to start testing regularly again so I can be even better about what I eat now.
This is starting to sound dangerously like a set of New Year’s resolutions as I write this on New Year’s Eve.
But, really, these are long term goals.
I’m sure you’ve realized that I am like any other new parents with the best intentions and these things are motivated out of love for being the best mom I can be for Lyla.
So, here’s hoping that bad habits go away and the new habits stick around, not just in 2010 but for the long term because not only will I be a better person and parent for it but hopefully Lyla will benefit, too.
Happy New Year, my friends.
Long ago I discovered “A Baby Story” on TLC. I was in my early 20s, not remotely ready for children and barely married, but I loved the show.
Since then, TLC and its parent network Discovery have added other new baby related shows to its stable of programming, and while I’ve been on maternity leave I’ve been consuming it all obsessively.
Take today. I got out of bed with a very alert baby at 8 a.m. and turned on TLC. The non-HD channel has two episodes of “Bringing Home Baby” from 8-9 a.m. This show documents the first 36 hours a baby spends with its family at home.
Next up was two older episodes of “A Baby Story” from 2000-2003. There goes another hour of my morning. By now, Lyla is passed out after her morning feeding, so I am entrenched on the couch.
After that, TLC in HD is on the East Coast feed, so I get three more episodes of “A Baby Story” that have been shot typically in the past two years.
At one point this morning after flipping to the HD channel, a mom featured in the last episode of the day was pushing, I found myself pushing with her. Ha!
Moving on …
There’s an episode of a show called “Birth Day” to cap that all off but those are eight or nine years old and the shows have more of a documentary feel to them and I find the impersonal touch to be a little off putting.
So, then I flip to Discovery Health to watch “Deliver Me: Home Edition.” This show follows a trio of women who all work together in an OB/GYN practice in L.A. as they work together with their patients while trying to balance their practice with their own personal lives.
This half hour episode condenses a previous hour long show and wraps up with a follow up some months later with patients to see how they’ve adjusted to life with their new babies.
For a break I switch over to Food Network and watch “Guy’s Big Bite” with Guy Fieri, and get a half hour of watching someone else cook, then back to Discovery Health for another episode of “Bringing Home Baby.”
I’m done at that point, so, I have some lunch, take a shower and generally head out to run errands. Or I do chores around the house with ESPN on as there’s about 90 minutes of sports talk analysis shows on that make for good background noise.
If you’re thinking, “Kris, you have lost your mind,” you’re probably right.
I’ve always been like this. When I get interested in something, I develop an obsessive fascination with it, which can be offputting to some people on a personal level but can also be very helpful in my job. I’ve actually had to force myself not to do it as much at work now because it can have a detrimental effect. If I get too focused on one thing, all my other stories can suffer, which I just can’t do working in a two-person shop.
But, since I’m on leave and my no. 1 job is to spend 24/7 with a newborn, this seems like a great thing to be obsessed over.
I just hope I can tear myself away when I go back to work in January.
One thing I do know is that it will be a little bit easier to leave Lyla when I go back to work now that we have the child care issue resolved. We need to work out the details with the person who has offered to take care of my precious baby girl but there’s no one in the world I would trust more with her and I am thrilled. I will come back to this topic after Christmas.
Next time, though, I plan to tackle my bad language or someday I’m going to have to tell Lyla not to repeat what I say because “Mommy has a potty mouth.”
Way back in July when I first found out we were having a girl, I expressed my distaste for pink and my hope to keep the cotton candy color to a minimum, which was like hoping for a money tree to spring spontaneously from the earth in my back yard.
Not only is Lyla awash in pink, I have found myself purposely putting her in pink when taking her out so that people have that visual cue she’s a girl, plus I have even happily purchased outfits with pink in them while exclaiming to my mother in law “Isn’t this so CUTE?!?”
I’ve never liked pink. I’m a tomboy. As a fifth grader I was so deep into tomboy world that I wore my hair short, played football with the boys in my apartment complex and often was mistaken for a boy. As I got into middle school and pre-adolescent pressures to conform began to set in, I tried to be girly, something I so am not.
So, I got my ears pierced and started wearing pink, too much pink.
By freshman year of high school I swung back the other way and realized that wasn’t the path to acceptance which also resulted in my loathing of pink being further cemented. I was getting to a point where I was more comfortable in my own skin and pink was never a part of that. I wanted to be myself and not worry as much about what my peers thought.
But, the reality is that when shopping for baby clothes for a little girl or receiving gifts, pink is just part of life.
I’ve had to do a couple of trips to buy clothes for Lyla. Remember at 37 weeks the ultrasound technician told us Lyla was estimated to be about 6 pounds, 14 ounces? Well, if she was that weight and gained half a pound a week, then doing the math we figured she’d be about eight pounds.
Most of the clothes I received at my shower were for three to six months and even items my mother-in-law and I bought toward the end of my pregnancy were in that range because we thought for sure she’d be able to fit into those items right away.
Plus, I’m diabetic. I’m supposed to have a bigger baby.
Ha! I did SUCH a good job managing my blood sugar, Lyla was a dainty bundle of joy.
And, um, as a result she had next to nothing to wear.
Luckily Fred Meyer in Covington has a nice selection of baby clothes and there’s a Carter’s outlet store in the SuperMall. A trip to each got me plenty of nice newborn items that should get us through the first couple months.
When shopping for baby clothes it quickly becomes apparent that the folks who design (for lack of a better word) this stuff generally stick to the “girls wear pink and boys wear blue” edict.
So, yeah, I have intentionally purchased pink items for Lyla because a) it’s readily available and b) admittedly pretty darn cute.
I’m hoping there’s greater diversity in toddler clothes.
In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on finding someone to watch Lyla when I go back to work, that’d be awesome. I’m still looking into that and forming my thoughts on the topic.
Giving birth was much easier than I thought it would be while breast feeding my daughter has been an epic challenge which I wasn’t expecting.
After having Lyla’s tongue tie fixed last Monday by Dr. O’Hara in Seattle, I thought, ‘Sweet, now we’ll just get right to nursing.’
It was a struggle after her tongue was clipped (the flap connecting her tongue to the bottom of her mouth was “clipped,” that is) to get her to eat. At all.
So, I called the lactation specialists at Valley and took her in last Thursday. Lyla had dropped down to six pounds before we saw the specialist and I was concerned she would lose more and I couldn’t have that.
Jane, the lactation specialist, was awesome. She gave me some great tips. I went home, tried some stuff out, and I thought we were on our way.
But during the past week it was hit and miss. One of the things that I thought worked, the nipple shield, became an obstacle instead of a help.
Lyla started eating, though, with a little time to heal her tongue and a little children’s Tylenol. It just wasn’t nursing every time, but, I tried not to stress too much because she was eating a ton and I had a follow up appointment with Jane yesterday.
First thing Jane did was get a weight check on Lyla, who had put on eight and a half ounces in a week, which was awesome.
Jane and I talked about the challenges I was still experiencing, that sometimes Lyla was all for nursing and other times she hated the very idea of it, and I also asked what other things I could do to manage some of the other obstacles I’ve encountered.
I felt a lot better after I left, knowing it would take more time and practice to get Lyla nursing, and now that I knew exactly how to work the Medela breast pump I am renting from the hospital (thankfully the insurance company is covering the rental cost through mid-February) that I could move Lyla away from formula and to regular consumption of breast milk.
So, yesterday was great, then this morning I try to do stuff on my own and I struck out. I have to remember I am determined. I am persistent.
On the other hand, I have times I want to just give up. I’m going to keep trying to nurse and pump for another week. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll decide where to go from there.
As for sleeping, well, that’s a question I get from everyone.
“How are you sleeping?”
The first week, well, we slept awful. We just didn’t know what we were doing. I mean, we sort of did, but now we’ve got a handle on sleep. We’re lucky that Lyla sometimes sleeps six or seven hours at a time, but, usually we get four to five hours of sleep then either Jason or I get up with Lyla in the middle of the night, feed her, change her and get her back to sleep. We’re trying to take turns so that we’re not both sleep deprived. When Jason has to be at work early, I get up, and when Jason has a day off, then he’ll get up. It seems to be working so far.
Next thing I need to tackle is child care. I’m leaning toward a babysitter or nanny. I just need to find one.
Then there’s the issue of clothes. Particularly the fact that no matter how much I hate pink, it is now part of my life, and since Lyla was way smaller than we anticipated I’ve been buying clothes to get her through the winter. Pink clothes. And I kind of like it.
More on those topics next time.
Shortly after Lyla was born I tried to breast feed her but it wasn’t successful. During the first 24 hours of her life I tried repeatedly to nurse in the hospital but she just couldn’t seem to latch on.
I was determined to breast feed so I remained persistent.
But, Thursday morning as I was getting ready to be discharged and she still wasn’t eating, a lactation specialist came to see if she could help. She discovered that Lyla has a webbed frenulum, also known as being tongue tied, which was preventing her from latching on and nursing.
I was referred to a specialist in Seattle to get her tongue fixed, a quick procedure that would alleviate the issue that kept her tongue anchored to the bottom of her mouth, and I got an appointment set up. Lyla handled it beautifully, getting “clipped,” so to speak and moments later we were able to get her to nurse. She still needed some help with the supplemental nursing system I was provided at the hospital. This is basically formula provided through a tiny tube so you don’t have to use a bottle which still allows her to practice suckling using a finger or breast.
It’s going to take some practice to help her get the hang of nursing but we’re working on it. I am determined.
Meanwhile, I’m adjusting to the diet of a diabetic who isn’t pregnant. It’s weird. I can eat whatever I want now.
Wait. Let me back up a bit.
Before we were discharged from the hospital, my OB stopped in and among his instructions were to go see my endocrinologist in a week to work on the transition from insulin to oral diabetes meds.
Forgive me, doc, but I ignored that suggestion. I dumped the insulin the day after we got home from the hospital. I still haven’t been to see the endocrinologist, heck, I haven’t even called her office. I’ve been more focused on taking care of Lyla and, honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary.
Oh, I will call her this week and set up an appointment. I do plan to see her before I go in for my six week post partum check up with my OB. But, that’s the only reason why … for some reason I’m more likely to be compliant for my OB than my endo. It’s terrible.
In any case, I haven’t tested my blood sugar in a while, either. I broke the lancet pen that goes with one of my meters and totally misplaced my other meter.
I feel fine, though, and I’m basically back to the pill regimen I was on before … half a 5 milligram tablet of glyburide (a pancreatic stimulant) and 1,500 mg of metformin a day.
While I am treating myself to things I haven’t eaten in six months, I have made a point not to overdo it as I might have before, plus the weird thing now is that the change in hormones after giving birth has killed my appetite. Well, coupled with being focused on taking care of a newborn, I seem to forget to eat.
I got so used to being ravenously hungry all the time during the third trimester that not having an appetite is strange. Hopefully when I get to a regular nursing routine with Lyla that will change.
Taking care of myself and Lyla is still a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, but, it’s a different ride than the one that we call pregnancy. But, it’s only been two weeks, and there are still more ups and downs, loop de loops and hairpin curves to come. Or, so I hear.
I apologize profusely for leaving you all hanging the past two weeks. Life has been busy and hopefully all my friends and followers understand. I’ve also been hoping the tingly fingers caused by pre-natal carpal tunnel syndrome would improve but I’m still waiting for that to go away completely. Since everyone has been waiting for a full update I decided it was best to just catch everyone up now.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, I was due to be induced at Valley Medical Center. Being a Type 2 diabetic, my obstetrician was worried about letting me go too far past my due date.
At 6 a.m. I called the Birth Center as instructed. The charge nurse asked me to call back at 9 a.m. with the hope that they’d have a C-section “under their belts” as well as getting a few patients discharged. In other words, they were busy and didn’t have room for me.
We were both thankful for some more sleep. Facing the unknown of parenthood for the first time we both tossed and turned. We were both a little freaked out.
An hour later the phone rang.
“How soon can you be here?”
We were at the hospital at 8:30 a.m. We checked into the Birth Center. We had pre-registered so it was a breeze. We were directed to follow the signs but turned one corner and a nurse whose name I have now forgotten flagged us down.
“I think we’re waiting for you,” she said.
She showed us to our room, introduced herself and another nurse, Jehna, and we got settled in.
After a lengthy admitting assessment, getting into the gown, the nurses got to work. Instead of 3.5 cm dilated like my OB thought at the last appointment, they thought I was only 1 cm dilated.
I was disappointed.
Jehna told me to expect to have the baby in about 24 hours … that was about 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Eventually a medication to induce labor was provided, it’s called cytotec, feel free to look it up if you want to know more. It’s a bit too graphic to explain how it works.
I started feeling stronger contractions but I wasn’t really dilating further. The nurse who came on in the afternoon decided not to do the second dose when my doctor wanted it to be done because I was experiencing strong contractions close together. She was concerned I would hypercontract.
But, as it became clear later in the evening that I was not progressing, I was given two more doses of cytotec about four hours apart, around 8 p.m. then midnight. Somewhere in all that Jason and I went walking on two separate occasions.
Jason and I tried to get some sleep. I had been on a monitor tracking the baby’s heart rate as well as my contractions pretty much the whole time I’d been there.
At 3:30 a.m. the overnight nurse, Celina, took me off the monitor and I was checked again by the resident, Dr. Heather Something Something. If I remember right I was 2-3 cm dilated at this point.
It was suggested we walk around again. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Jason had passed out in the fold out bed next to the hospital bed. I decided to lay down next to him for a while.
Half an hour later things started moving. Serious contractions, about 90 seconds apart, give me something for the pain, please.
Happily I was given a dose of fentanyl “to take the edge off.”
Cool by me.
Around 5 a.m. Dr. Heather checked me again and now I was making progress. I was 4-5 cm and the resident said I could have an epidural at any time if I wanted.
I chose to try another round of fentanyl. That lasted about half an hour, or so it seemed, and I requested an epidural.
At this point things start to get fuzzy. Time passes in a blur after I got the epidural. I basically passed out.
But, after a while I could feel the contractions again, not to mention that I was uncomfortably aware of the Foley catheter in my bladder.
My OB came to check on me. Side note, my super serious OB clearly loves being in the hospital, he was cracking jokes (he’d popped in three or four times and he started off with, “I told you that you wouldn’t be pregnant forever.” Smart aleck) and smiling, at least until he realized early on that my body just wasn’t ready to go into labor.
Luckily pitocin never came into the picture because that third dose of cytotec kicked things into high gear.
It was around 7 a.m., I think, when the OB checked on me. He had to head out to deal with some patients at his office but he said he’d try to be back in time to deliver the baby.
But, uh, I was 7 cm dilated. He missed her arrival by about half an hour.
Anyway, I was trying to explained through the drug haze to my OB that I wasn’t feeling so awesome, but I suspect I wasn’t terribly coherent.
In any case, the nurses got the anasthesiologist back into the room, and he initially tried to explain to me that I had to suck up and deal with the Foley catheter discomfort. Then he decided to do the epidural over again and in the process realized the pump with the epidural meds had clogged up somewhere, hence the problem.
During this I had three strong contractions and was relieved when the epidural kicked in again. Jason helped me focus on breathing — that birth prep class was worth every penny just for the breathing exercises! — to get me through it.
I was knocked out again, the epidural made me barely functional, but next thing I knew I felt the urge to push.
After watching what seems like a million episodes of “A Baby Story” on TLC I thought I would recognize this but I blame being zonked out of my skull for not realizing what was going on.
I told the nurse that no, I couldn’t feel the contractions, but man did I ever feel the urge to push — something out.
This was a good sign, I was told, and all I really remember next was a flurry of activity as the team prepared to deliver the baby.
Flat on my back, feet in stirrups, somehow I thought to have Jason go get his mom. Everyone else had been cleared out of the room except for him and my mom. I had promised my mother in law she could witness the birth of her first grandchild and I was going to make sure that happened.
They got back just in time.
Jason was on my left side, and he took over the oxygen mask duties before I began pushing, putting the mask on my face between pushes. My husband hates hospitals and kind of freaks out at the sight of blood. On this day, he was awesome, just as I knew he would be and he kept me calm and focused.
Then the nurses and the on-call OB, who thankfully I knew a little bit because he is part of the same practice as my OB, told me to push.
About a half dozen pushes and 10 minutes later, with a little assistance from the vacuum as the baby experienced a little bit of distress at the end, our baby girl was born.
All in all it was seven and a half hours of active labor then 10 minutes of pushing. It was almost too easy and I barely felt a thing.
At 11:04 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, Lyla Elizabeth Hill came into the world. She weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long.
Because her heart rated dipped a bit during labor, a neonatal nurse and doc looked over and cleaned her up, so I had to wait a bit to see her but oh, I could hear her cry and it made me cry, too. It was a joyous noise.
When they laid Lyla on my chest wrapped up in a receiving blanket I couldn’t believe how tiny she was after all the worries we had about her getting too big. I was convinced she was going to be at least a pound heavier.
I was blown away by how adorable she is, yes I’m biased but I really wasn’t prepared for this, and everyone who sees her just fawns all over her now. That’s not good for my ego. Heh. But, that’s a topic for another blog on another day.
Our family has fallen in love with her and I can tell they’d do anything for her.
So, that’s how she arrived in our life.
I’m going to tackle a couple other things in the next post tomorrow including the challenges we’ve faced in feeding her and what we’ve done to resolve that as well as the transition from insulin to oral meds.
For now, that’s enough and hopefully my recollection was clear enough to put you there.