Thursday, April 16, 2009

Got Sleep?

There is nothing better than being at home with your little bundle of joy. Nothing beats, the sound of her/his little breath, the little movements that say "I'm here." But, girlfriend and boyfriend, nothing NOTHING beats not getting any sleep.

This not sleeping for almost 9 months is no joke. We do not have the easy baby when it comes to Lotus and her sleep. At first, it started off with feeding her every two hours, then it stretched out and she would be up at least 3 times in the night. My baby did not want to sleep.

Now, I will be honest, I am not one for CIO (cry it out). I am a softy and feel her pain when she cries. Well, then that changed, real quick, around 10 months when we went for a trip out to California to visit my family and see some friends.

My good friend who's daughter is now 4 years old said to Yale, "Now you know she's really not crazy right? She just appears crazy because she's not sleeping. You do know that right?" I was like here is a woman who understands my pain. Little did I know the best was yet to come of this conversation.

"You mean you were crazy too?" Yale says with a half smile of relief.

"Oh yeah, I was a total wack job. Hello, no sleep will do that to the finest of ladies my friend. She will return to you when she gets her sleep." She places her hand on his shoulders. "Now Rain, you have got to let her cry it out. You have got to let her scream her head off. Trust me, you're not hurting her. She wants you to think that she's hurting but, she's not hurting." She said this in a strange plotting voice.

"Right. Okay, I get it and who's going to wake up in the night and tell her mommy still loves her and is not the evil one?" I say with an attitude of top that.

Folks, she was right. I had to let Lotus cry and carry on. Yale, had to sleep lightly and go to her and comfort her from afar and, let her know we both loved her. It was a two day pull my hearts strings period for me. But, she slept. Finally I was getting 7 to 8 hours of good sleep. Oh yeah I was loving it, he was loving it, everybody was loving it.

Then it changed. Lotus was up again teething this time then, a cold. Argh! Just when I was starting to enjoy myself again. So, for us, it has not been easy. However, I do get at least 8 hours of sleep. I am now teaching myself how to sleep again through the night. I was so used to waking up for the last 10 months that my body was conditioned to it.

It gets easier. My suggestions to you are this:

  • if you are the primary caretaker ask a friend of partner or baby daddy to put the baby down the first three nights. This allows you to leave the room so he/she doesn't smell you.
  • Give a nice feeding before bedtime
  • Set up a nice bedtime routine, bath, story time, lullaby
  • Don't ignore the cries go in say "I love you, I'm here, It's going to be okay" but do not pick up the baby. Leave the room and continue this until you allow more time between entering the room.
  • Don't panic or get upset. This is a baby they are NOT doing this TO YOU. They DON'T KNOW. So be kind to yourselves and them.
  • If you need to sleep with your baby. Shoot, Yale has slept on the couch for the sake of having his lady be happy.

If you are having trouble sleeping set up a night time routine for yourself after the baby goes to bed. I am lucky that I have a man who still rubs my feet before bed time. This helps to relax me, and, I am now sleeping much better.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Latching On

There should be guidelines one gives you before you have your baby in the hospital. Guidelines that, will help you not freak out and, feel as though you won't ever be a good mother. Someone somewhere, should say, "Okay your baby is going to loose some weight the first few days. And, the nurses or lactation specialist is going to pressure you into using a pump because your body is not producing enough colostrum. But, know this will pass and it's going to be okay." ... But they don't. Not until your in the throw of despair. LOL.

I had trouble getting Lotus to latch on at first, and, she was loosing weight. Latching on in layman terms, means, for the baby to latch on to the nipple for breast feeding. Whew! Glad we got that out of the way.

Anyway, the Lactation Specialist put a lot of pressure on me to produce more milk. They brought in this huge breast pump that made me feel like I was on an milking assembly line. They grabbed my breast in ways that made me feel vulnerable and pissed off. They would shake their heads in dissatisfaction of the amount of colostrum that was coming out.

Now, if you just had a baby, (mine was taken literally out of gut so to speak) and, jacked up on drugs for the pain, and, your hormones are now raging because your body is trying to figure out if it's still pregnant, the last thing you need is some b-i-t-c-h making you feel like s-h-i-t for not producing enough milk...It's coming it's fricken coming! Not to mention they just want you to buy or rent one of their pumps to take home. They fail to mention the pump is a great way to store your milk if you happen to be going to back to work any time soon, or, if your breast become engorged. And, they fail to disclose to you, that, you don't need to buy or rent from them. ... I digress.

Sure enough by the time we got home from the hospital my breast became engorged with milk that would keep my daughter alive and chubby for the next 9 months. My breast hurt so bad I wanted them off. I had to bend over a pot of hot water with my breast hard as rocks laying in the hot water while I tried to massage the pain away... I cried foul and wished there was another way. I felt I was back in medieval times. "Bring me a bucket you kind hearted lad. For my breast are full of life that I can hold no longer." They at one point became infected. That is called mastitis.

With mastitis comes fever, chills and aches all over (not including your engorged breast). It was not the most pleasant introduction in to motherhood. However, it makes you grateful to all the mother's who came before you.

*I know there is some some sick person who's going to think this is something to get their rocks off on but, I warn you ... It's far from sexy or cute! It's real. Real painful.

This process went on for weeks and, I had milk stored up for days almost months. Lotus was breast feeding every two hours. I was sore, blistered, and, strangely (at times calm), as if I had just surrendered to it all.

Inside I didn't want to disappoint Lotus and my family. I wanted to breast feed and I was determined to do it. And, I did, for nine full months.

So, here are some tips:

  • Lanolin ointment it's awesome at keeping your nipples supple

  • Heating pad to place on breast during engorgement

  • Bag of frozen peas, yes that helped me but, I preferred the warmth of the heating pad

  • breast pump

  • breast pads

  • Boppy (a horseshoe shaped pillow good for breast feeding

*Note: Not all women need to, or, will breast feed. If that is your choice, or, the choice was made for you, you are still a great mother. Don't allow the pressure of nurses, friends, family to decide what is best or comfortable to you. If you can't breast feed for some reason relax, your baby will survive on formula.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Saw My C-Section

There is nothing like being checked into the hospital on a rush to the OR. I didn't have time to even think if anything would be painful. Nurses rushed in from all sides, poking this arm and that. They moved quickly talking amongst themselves, slipping me into a hospital gown that exposed my backside. There was no time for pride or modesty, I'm in the hospital. No one cares just you and, nothing beats the docile smile of a nurse with a catheter in her hand.

* NOTE: There is something very unholy regarding a catheter. It's not something one truly wishes, including nonchalant attitudes of the nurses. Could you at least introduce yourself, I'd like to at least know your name. LOL.

Out in the waiting room Yale's mom, was calling a list of friends we have giving her of those that we wanted to know of Lotus's, day early arrival. Yale, was by my side the entire time. In fact, he talked with the nurses asking questions. He's a nursing student after all.

When I reached the OR I was being stuck yet again. "Hi this is going to sting a bit." Said a handsome anaesthesiologist." He was sticking a long needle into my spinal column. "You're going to feel a numbing sensation from your waste down. Now breathe." It kinda pinched. I usually have a low pain tolerance and this was not as painful as expected. Perhaps it was the adrenaline that was pumping through my nerves.

Yep! I was numb from the waste down and that is a weird feeling. My upper body could move but I was feeling nothing as if I had a total disconnect from my own body. The other drug they stuck through my IV, had me giggling and singing the theme from Rocky.

"And I felt nothing ..." like the song from A Chorus Line. You would have thought Yale as assisting in the surgery. "So, you're making the incision there?" He said.

"Uh baby, I'm right here ya know." I said with a giggle.

"Oh sorry my bad." he continued to look on. I decided to look up, I could see the entire surgery in the light. I kid you not. There were my insides being taking out and moved this way and that. Lots of blood. I was in total disconnect. I knew it was me but, due to the numbing sensation I really couldn't connect. I was just laying there watching every thing as if I was in a hospital viewing booth.

Just as things were getting interesting, I saw her, Lotus. She was a bluish pale color and there was no sound. Then I saw them stick a small suction in her nose and mouth and she began to cry.

"Waa, wa, waa!" Lotus's cry was low and raspy not high and piercing. Yale rushed to her side as she was given to the nurses waiting near by. I cried with a joy I don't think I've experienced before. A cry of triumph.

Yale, came over with the 6lb 10 oz Lotus in his hands tears streaming down his beautiful chocolate cheeks. "Look baby, look what we made." we stood there with her crying, smiling, laughing. She was magnificent.

Then it was time for them to clothes me up. I saw them put my insides back in. At times it appeared as if they were shoving my insides back into me. I saw them sew then staple. I sat there in awe of the procedure I had just endured. I sat there hoping a tummy tuck, maybe?

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Water Broke & I Didn't Even Know It

The title fits and that's the truth Ruth. I know right now you're thinking. " How on earth could she not know her water broke?" It all went something like this.

Due to the nature of this pregnancy, I was scheduled for a C-section on April 2, 2008. We had an appointment on April 1 (yes April Fools day) for an amnio. Now this is where the stick a huge needle into your stomach to measure the fluid.

My mom had flown into town on Friday night and we picked her up at the airport. The moment she saw me she cried as she said, "my baby is having a baby." This was an amazing time. Yale's mom was preparing for aunts and cousins to arrive at the hospital. His father had flown in from Arizona, and the two Nana's Yale's step mom's were eager to meet my mother and see this baby come into the world. In short, there was major excitement, and, every one organizing to be there on the scene, to be the first to hold the baby. Oh, you didn't miss a thing, everyone wanted to be the first.

If there is one thing I notice, it's that when your parent knows you are having a baby, their ego's get inflated and they want a first row seat. Your spouse becomes an obsolete object. Yale's mom wanted to be the first to hold the baby, my mom wanted to be the first to hold the baby, Yale's step mom's wanted to be the first to hold the baby, and all of a sudden Yale and I didn't even exist. It's not intentional or mean, it's the way it is. Everyone is excited, and so you just have to be prepared in your mind, that, you are going to let some one down. Because, after all, it's you and your partner that get to hold the baby first.

Now, back to the story, April 1, I wake up at 5:30 AM to start getting ready for the 8:30 AM amnio. I turn on the TV and the first thing I notice, is The Wiz is on. The Wiz. is the movie where dad played the Wiz. So, I laugh to myself and thank dad for making is presence known. I decide to switch to the music channels and I find the "atmospheric" station. Now, wouldn't you believe the song playing is called, Lotus. I pat my belly and say, "Hello Lotus, we hear ya baby."

Yale, his mom and my mom all go to hospital for the amnio. We walk up to counter for check in.

"Hi, I'm Rain Pryor, and I am hear for my amnio."

"Rain, Pryor, okay, hmmm, there doesn't seem to be an appointment scheduled for you today." Said the receptionist.

"Really? Because, I am having a c-section tomorrow and I know I need one. Right?" I'm beginning to get a bit nervous.

"Well, just have a seat in the waiting area and we will get you as soon as possible." The recptionist smiles.

"Thank you." I say with great relief. Yale puts his arm around me and says,

"It's going to be alright baby." his words make me feel safe and warm.

We all gather in the waiting area and there is a crossword puzzle from the day before on the table. Yale's mom picks it up and begins to look at it. There is one answer already filled out. I hear her gasp. She hands Yale and I the crossword. The answer filled out is, (and I am not making this up) Lotus. My mom sings the song from the Twighlight Zone.

Sure enough we get called in right away into the examining room. I lay on the bed and lift my shirt. The nurse says to us, "She's going to have an ultrasound first." We're all too excited about the moment that my mom and Yale's mom get to see the baby, we don't notice that the nurse has a strange look on her face. Then we hear, "Oh my."

"What is something wrong?" Yale is very matter of fact. He's in nursing school and treats all medical situations like he's making his rounds.

"Well, your amniotic fluid is low. The doctor is going to be here in a minute."

"What does that mean?" I say feeling really lame and very nervous. "Is the baby okay?"

Just then the doctor comes in and looks at the ultra sound. "Your amniotic fluid is low. Your water broke."

"What? My water broke?!" I am in shock. I thought I was supposed to know when my water broke. Everyone mumbles the same thing.

The doctor who wasn't my doctor but a partner, now tells us she is going to have to deliver this baby in the next thirty minutes. HOLY S@&%!

Talk about a great way to defuse all the "who's going to invited to hospital" crap.

We couldn't believe it. We all agreed that the signs that morning were all pointing to Lotus's arrival. This is one of those coincidence you just can not ignore. You can try but, come on, The Wiz, the song on the music station, the crossword puzzle?

What I still couldn't get over was that my water broke. How dumb could I be? I guess I was waiting for a gush, a flood that filled the floor beneath me, the mucus plug in the toilet, strange color urine. I had no idea. All I remember was saying to my mother on Saturday night that I thought I was having contractions. She suggested I call the doctor, and I told her that I had gone so many times this past month it most likely was Braxton Hicks and , I'll wait till Monday.


I guess what I realized was that, I had never thought to ask them to check my amniotic fluid. I was always waiting for what you hear about in the movies or on TV. The big gush. But, mine was more of trickle and I mean really it was like so small and uncertain that I had no idea.

This is my lesson, and I hope it will help someone out there who thinks they are crazy for going to the hospital for ever pang while in the third trimester. GO! Feel your feelings and allow yourself to be wrong IF you are. Don't allow yourself during this time to be ruled by what you think is logic. There is no logic to birth. Lotus arrived when SHE wanted to, on April Fools day and brought us all laughter and hope.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Trimesters

So, now that I've started with a bang, talking about all that "miscarriage" stuff, it's time to talk about the being that was growing inside me.

I never understood nor could comprehend the value of that zygote, turned fetus, turned baby until I witnessed the miracle of the first heart beat. To see our baby's heart beating so fast confirmed the miracle that is life...Now, don't go thinking I'm some sort of religious person pontificating about babies ... no, I was in awe.

The awe turned into nausea as my morning sickness was 3PM sickness. I was conflicted with the desire for the life that was growing inside me, and wanting the nausea and the sudden urge to pee along with it to disappear.

I was hungry like nobodies business and my ass was expanding to the size of two basketballs. In some cultures that is attractive, in my mind, it was TERRIBLE. Not to mention my breast were the size of melons which, I didn't mind. In hindsight, I never would have gotten a boob job if I knew they would do that. LOL

I had almost all the pregnancy symptoms:

  • Bloody noses

  • mask of pregnancy (but officially known as chloasma or melasma).

  • linea nigra (dark line running down the belly)

  • nausea

  • constipation

  • frequent urination

  • breast tenderness (more like all over body tenderness)

  • exhaustion (sudden need to sleep ... anywhere, especially during dinner at a nice restaurant)

  • food cravings (during the last trimester for me)

  • swollen feet

  • forgetfulness

What I didn't expect, was that I would grow to be as huge as I got. I looked as if I were about to give birth to twins. I went from 165 to 219..WHOA! I know, and, I was healthy the whole time btw. I wanted to be one of the Hollywood pregnant skinny bitches. The ones that look like they just popped on a pregnancy costume still wearing lowrise jeans and Prada highheels.

Don't get me wrong I loved being pregnant. It was hard to adjust to this new body that, could no longer fit into any of my clothes. And, I'm sorry, the maternity clothes that they have ... kinda (how do I say it nicely) suck. They didn't add flattery to my new curves, they added a sign that said, " MOVE WIDE LOAD COMING THROUGH."

The second trimester for me is when it all began to sink in. We went to the OBGYN to have the ultra sound, we cried. There she was the size of peanut with little nubs, and that tiny heart just beating away. It was beautiful.

Towards the end of the second trimester I could feel her move a little at first. It felt more like a hiccup. I waddled like a duck and wore flat shoes even with an evening gown. I found myself constantly holding my belly to let her know we were there and all was right with the world. While Yale began to plan her future education. Sheesh! She wasn't even here yet.

The third trimester, I admit I wanted her out. I wanted to reclaim my body that had been taken over by the baby now turned alien. I was also afraid that she would arrive too early. Nothing allowed me to get over the feeling that I could loose her. That fear never left all though there were moments of breath. I spent more time at the hospital during that last trimester because I thought ever pinch, prick, ache, movement was THE ONE. The receptionist knew my name.

About two weeks before her arrival I become obsessive about cleaning. "They" the experts call it nesting. I call it, GONE CRAZY AND WON'T BE BACK UNTIL AFTER THE BABY IS BORN. Seriously, I did the most massive spring cleaning ever. And, if you've had a baby then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's not enough to mop and disinfect you have to get into corners you didn't know existed. Under the refrigerator, stove, the bed. You vacuum (if you have carpet. we had an area rug) like your life depended on it. When it fact, her/his life depended on it.

For me, the whole experience made me feel like a mother. The fear that I had in the back of my mind of possibly not knowing what to do, left. I was "Supper Mom."

Yale was going through his own transition. He was ready for Lotus because, we had been trying for a while. But, he had ideas about what kind of father he would be. "She won't be brining any boyfriends home that's for sure." he said with all seriousness. "If I could have it my way, she'd wear an Abayas until she's thirty." I was like who is the man? He was "Super Daddy" and nothing was going ever harm, his baby girl.

So, I would say the first, second, and, third trimesters are not only about the changes your body is going through while the life inside grows. It's about the changes your life, is going through. Every animal instinct kicks in and you can't control it. And believe me when I say, you may be pregnant, but, he's pregnant too. Those 9 months are exciting, scary, joyful, tearful and all at once. Your lives are about to change. And, for the first time, you can feel your heart beat outside your chest.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In The Beginning

This is my first time blogging. I'm a bit nervous as, I'm not great at spelling even with spell check present. Nor, am I grammatically correct. So, with all due respect I ask that you read with kindness. LOL...

Lotus Marie, is our 12 month and 8 day old daughter. She lights up our world and challenges it all the time. She was a gift and miracle as for as I'm concerned. ...

Yale (my partner) and I, had been trying to conceive for months. We had three, I repeat three miscarriages and I was devastated. Yale appeared to take the whole thing in great stride, due to his ability to meditate and stay present most of the time...LOL (that's a whole nutha story)... I was a total mess. Being 38 at the time, I felt too old, like my time had passed me by, like I had spent my life chasing after relationships I tried to make work, or dreams of happily ever after that had no basis in reality. (sigh).

Having a miscarriage is the one thing I've notice, no one wants to talk about. If they do it's in private like to say it aloud to more than one person would put you on some government list as a baby making outcast. In reality, miscarriages are common and eventually one is able to conceive or venture off into other methods if that's what the universe has in store.

It was summer in London, and, I was performing in the most horrific show. It was a cross between a really bad high school production meets a slum lord. Anyway, there we were (Yale came with) on tour and I found out we were pregnant. We were overjoyed and scared. About 8 weeks into it I had a miscarriage and in the UK. I had to undergo a D/C because my body was unable to pass (term) blighted ovum. This was a terrible experience and I cried and cried thinking all hope now was lost.

The UK doctor was brilliant and assured me all would be fine. during the D/C they discovered I had 5 fibroids' and endomitriosis. OMG! WTF! were my thoughts. A week after I had surgery for that as well. The doctor said, "Well you two love birds should keep going at it. You are clear and fertile." So, like bunnies and cliche wanna be parents we went at it. I had the ovulation kit, the right positions, the meditations, prayers from Thai and Tibetan monks and African priestesses.

In July we conceived, but, would it take? For three months I was a nervous wreck. Home in the US and hooked up with an amazing OBGYN (a must btw), I was watching everything I did.

  • Don't exercise too hard or too much

  • No Sushi waaa waaaa

  • Lots of water isn't it enough that I'm peeing like a racehorse with out it

When we reached the twelfth week I was happier than I knew what. Yale was full of pride and a didn't stop smiling. Okay truth be told, we did the happy dance. You know the one where you look so goofy you hope the neighbors don't see.

So that was the beginning of the most amazing wonder of pregnancy.