Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's new

The long silence on the blog can only mean one thing and I apologize for the delay but we've been uh...busy.
Ken and I are pleased to announce the early arrival of our daughter Sidney Katsuko Moore back on 09-09-09 @ 8:17am. She weighed in at 6lbs. 8oz. at 18 inches long.
She was originally due on 9/26 and was actually scheduled to arrive via c-section on 9/21. However, upon arrival at the hospital on Tuesday 9/8 in the early morning after my water broke, we were told that the complication that prompted our scheduled c-section was no longer present. So natural childbirth was back on the table. It's funny because Ken and I had been told since week 24 that we were having a c-section so we skipped all the chapters and classes on labor/childbirth. But thankfully we have the best doula in the world, Anna, who guided us through the experience and really empowered us to have the best birth possible. (I will write specifically about the birth experience in a separate blog later.)
Since being home...
My mom was here from 9/10-9/15 and we couldn't have survived those first days without all of her dutiful assistance and just ensuring that the household had food, clean dishes, clean laundry and moral support.
My dad and brother came up on on the weekend 9/11-13 for a previously scheduled WSU exhibition game.
Then my cousin Angela (who we neglected to get any pictures of while she was here) came up for this last weekend 9/18-20. Her help was instrumental in giving us some opportunity to get rest and to spend more quality time with our daughter instead of tending to household chores.
We are hanging in there but the sleep deprivation is ridiculously taxing. Sid likes to be alert and awake from 1-4am. We call it the "witching hour". Thankfully we reviewed the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD the other day so we have tricks to calm her down but she won't necessarily sleep during that time. But the doctor says it will get better when her circadian rhythm gets righted. That will take awhile.
She had jaundice initially and was diagnosed with a high enough level that we had to get a special bed with lights in it to help dissipate the toxins. In addition we had to give her formula since my milk hadn't come in yet. She had to be on this light table 24/7 except when changed and fed. It was so sad because we really couldn't interact with her and she was so lethargic due to the jaundice. It was quite trying. Everyday a nurse would come here, weigh her, examine her and take a blood sample to see if the levels were improving. Finally four days later the level dropped enough to take her off the box. It was so weird being able to have her in the living room and hang out with us. But we were very glad for it.
Breastfeeding has been difficult for a number of reasons: Sidney being 3 weeks early (not having the jaw strength initially), the jaundice, my nipples being flat and her jaw is slightly recessed. Milk finally did come in and I got engorged--hurt so bad. We made an emergency call to a lactation consultant and now I have a hospital grade Medela pump---within 24 hours it has made a world of difference--boobs are nice and happy again. Because it was so critical to get her ample nutrition and irradiate the jaundice, we had to supplement her big time with formula.
Gaining a decent milk supply is a multi-faceted puzzle with lots of interdependency. It can get really complicated and frustrating really fast. The milk supply is best stimulated by the baby herself--but the baby needs to latch/suck to do this. In order to latch/suck, you need a properly shaped nipple. If you are not born with this, a nipple shield (plastic sheath that goes over nipple) will suffice but it is not as efficient or effective as the real boob. We were told to use a tube & syringe that feeds into the nipple shield to deliver the supplements of breast milk (~40ml) & formula (~20ml) while simulating the act of nursing for Sidney. This way she would get used to the experience when she could do it for real. This equals about 2 oz of liquid a feeding x 8 feedings daily.
At first, the syringe business was excruciatingly awful but we rose to the occasion and Sidney responded well. Maybe a little too well. When we went in to the doctor Tuesday to get her 2 week exam, she had gained 8 ounces in 4 days for a weight of 6 pounds 12 ounces which is 4 ounces over her birth weight. It was suggested we get moving off of the syringe feedings and solely onto nursing with/without the nipple shield. We are actively trying to make this transition which also throws our formerly very strict feeding schedule of every 3 hours into a freestyle watch-and-wait feeding cycle which makes Mama & Daddy very tired. It sure is complicated but the good news is, Sidney is latching & nursing pretty well. When she hits her expected due date of 9/26, we are hoping see an increase in her energy level and feeding prowess.
But things change on a moment to moment basis. We learn things and observe patterns. Life is cut up into 3 hour segments. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced and I can't believe I'm some body's mom...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Preparing for Baby: Classes

To have a baby these days, it seems preparation is the key. You can read books and watch DVDs but if you are fortunate to have access to classes, by all means take them. Because Ken and I are nerds at heart, we took and are taking as many classes we can. After all, there is something to be said about having the wisdom of others passed on, have the benefit of a live session where you can ask questions and being around other people in the same boat as you.

The hospital system where we are delivering (Swedish) has an extensive "curriculum" that soon-to-be-parents can attend. They even have a grandparents class that sadly none of the Wetus grands will get to take. (But I know the Testas are going to do this so perhaps we will get a report...) If you are eager to learn and interact, it's best to get the Welcome package for a lump sum of $250/couple. That let's you sign up for almost all of the flagship classes and keeps the transactions quite easy. Once you sign up and pay your fee, you just use a code to register online for the classes/times of your choice.

We've taken:
  • Childbirth Preparation class--Planned Cesarean Birth w/Hospital Tour: It's good to know what to expect and some of the nitty-gritty details of this type of deliver. Though they don't tell you "everything." You have to consult close girlfriends for those gems.
  • Postpartum Preparation: How it's normal to feel overwhelmed and under the control of "aliens" right after baby is born. But really it has to do with hormones, sleep deprivation and a brand new creature who relies on you for its very survival. Coping skills.
  • Newborn Care: Swaddling, diapering, bathing, warning signs and more.
  • Breastfeeding: There is a lot more to know about this than you may think. Especially if you want to do this with some level of success.
  • Infant Safety & CPR: A very empowering class. To know how to do CPR-- and on an infant even, you feel pretty tough and prepared.

Still to take in the next few weeks:
  • Conscious Fathering (Ken only): We've heard many dads enjoyed this one.
  • Car-Seat Installation and Safety: 80+% of car seats are installed incorrectly. I know we both have college degrees and astute minds but this is something we have to get right.

But one of the most rewarding classes which is not included in the Welcome package is a 2-day workshop designed by John & Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute @ UW. It's called Bringing Baby Home. It's taught in the Swedish system and is more about how your marriage or relationship is affected by the new baby. You work on tools and skills to help you stay connected with your partner when you are both sleep-deprived, emotionally drained and vulnerable to high relationship dissatisfaction--all of this due to the new addition. Even if you have rock solid relationship, it's a good way to arm yourself with tools and understanding that the challenge of parenthood will place a strain on a marriage. How you deal with that affects not only the couple but the children. We highly recommend it.

While I did an entry on books earlier, I want to plug a book that just came out that I REALLY like. It's called Baby 411, by the same folks who wrote Baby Bargains. Based on good science, it is straight-forward on all the 1st year topics and very easy to read/retain with no-nonsense chapter about vaccines. Again, it's based on actual scientific evidence, which we respect and will uphold.

H1N1 Outbreak @ WSU


This does not bode well. With WSU in town next weekend for an exhibition game @ Qwest and some get togethers with folks from there, I'm a bit nervous.

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Right now as a pregnant lady, I am a member of one of the highest risk groups for serious complications from the H1N1 (Swine) Flu. The vaccine will not be available until mid-October (after I deliver) so then my newborn will be at highest risk with no chance for a vaccine until 6 months of age.

From www.flu.gov:
Videos on what to do regarding H1N1
Page for pregnant women about H1N1