About Me

Hi! My name is Lexy Briest. I am a teacher, artist, wife, and best of all mom to Delilah Poppy. This blog is meant to document what I love and discover along the way of becoming a mommy, which to me is a never ending journey. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pillow Wars

So nursing a preemie is hard enough. In the beginning a preemie's jaw muscles are very weak and as they are so sleepy, they have to be nudged to stay awake long enough to feed. After a few weeks, they get the hang of it, and even though my daughter is 5 weeks old, she is now the size of a typical newborn (i.e. small!).

Some sort of pillow to prop her up to me is necessary. I have two of the commercially marketed nursing pillows: the Boppy and My Breastfriend.

Boppy with Monkey Slipcover

My Brestfriend with Sunburst cover

While I own the Boppy with the monkey cover, I have a different cover than the Sunburst pictured above on the Brestfriend. However, this picture shows the two raised bumps better. On the right and left side of the top of the pillow are raised bumps that help position baby's head while nursing. I also use a pillow that came with the sofa.
It took awhile to figure out how to use these pillows best. The way models hold baby on the Boppy (directly in front of your belly) just wasn't working for me.  A neighbor told me about turning the Boppy so it hugs you around your side. This way, the baby's head rests on one end and your arm on the other. Genius! I was so ready to toss this pillow in the back of the closet. I figured out the Brestfriend on my own- it didn't take anything special other than using it. When I first received it, I stripped the cover off to wash and saw the disgusting foam that it is made of. Definitely not a material that is on my non-toxic list. So I did toss this one in the closet. (Okay, it never made it to the closet.  It stayed in a pile in the guest room). But before I found out how to use the Boppy, I tried the Brestfriend out of desperation when my regular bedroom pillow wasn't cutting it. Those little bumps are amazing! I was able to have her nurse and keep a hand free to hold onto a book, my water glass, rub my neck. This made up for the gross foam that I knew was underneath the cute cover. Plus, I had this sitting in the guest room for a few months, so some of those toxins had to have aired out by now.
As soon as we get into a groove with one of the pillows, that pillow stops "working" so I would switch.  I have found that depending on the baby's mood, the surface I am sitting on, and the position of the moon (seriously, I don't know why) these pillows don't always cut it. This is extremely annoying, especially in the middle of the night and when she is fussy during nursing. Up until now I nurse on the sofa during the day and in our bed during night. This has led to a lot of extra tension and strain in my neck and back as well as hip pain from sitting  criss-cross.

What I need is a rocking chair! Since my darling daughter arrived 5 weeks early, we hadn't settled on a nursing chair. It took until she was a month old for me to find and purchase one. Well, I found lots but they were all out of our price range. Last week, while rocking chair hunting online, I found one that I have been looking at for months for a whole lot less!
Sleepytime Rocking Chair in Taupe
This chair is made by Nurseryworks which is owned by Million Dollar Baby (MDB) (parent company of our Hudson crib which is made by Babyletto).  This chair is made in America and made with less toxic materials. This chair retails for $499. However, Walmart has some deal with MDB because they have a line called Baby Mod, which are the same products by Nurserworks and Babyletto under that name. So, last week I decided to check out Walmart's rocking chairs online. Lo and behold, here was my dream chair, entitled Baby Mod Rocker for the set price of $299!!! I waited a whole three hours till Bryan came home to order it. It came a week later (in a Nurseryworks box :0) and needs to be assembled. It is going to go in our bedroom for now because that's where Delilah sleeps and I enjoy a painless middle-of-the-night nursing session just as much as the next mom.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps

You hear it from veteran moms all the time: Sleep when the baby sleeps. Easier said than done.
I heard it. I told everyone including myself that I would do it, no problem. This was before my husband injured himself, had emergency surgery, and is now in a cast with crutches = can't pick up the baby, bring me anything, change her, or get anything for himself. That means I have to do the laundry, the dishes, the meals, the cleaning (okay, I don't do too much cleaning/ my house is dirty), the nursing, the pumping, the all around baby care, and occasionally I take a shower. So, when the baby sleeps, that is my chance to actually eat something. It doesn't help when she is cluster feeding every one to two hours. Or decides that she can't sleep at night, but must keep soiling her diaper and eat, eat, eat.

During the day she permits me to put her in her swing for a short while or on the floor for tummy time. These activities don't typically last long, as she gets a whiff of me walking by and remembers that I am the milk factory and she could go for some of that right now. And, as a 3 week old whose lungs are now in full swing, she has figured out that the wailing she produces gets results. I remember nostalgically how her excuse for a cry in her first two weeks of life was so cute and squeaky. Now the only time I hear that cute squeak is if she is sleeping and having dreams about wanting more milk (I assume that is what she dreams about).

So, lesson to all mothers-to-be and new mommy's: Do not let your husband do anything remotely athletic or beyond normal cleaning around the house before and after the arrival of your new baby. And, try to sleep when the baby sleeps but don't expect too much. Baby is sleeping right now, and I chose to write here instead of taking a shower in fear she might wake up from the noise. After last nights wake-a-thon, she needs sleep just as much as I do!  Time to conquer my fear and not be quite so smelly.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Labor of Love

For anyone who knows me, they have heard me preach how baby Briest will arrive earlier than her April 17th due date. This belief was met by a variety of reactions such as "No, first babies come late" and multiple eye rolls. Well, Delilah Poppy Briest had her own agenda and was born on Thursday, March 14th, 5 weeks early!

On Tuesday, I had my 34 week appointment. Baby's heartbeat sounded great, my blood pressure excellent, and the doctor showed us where she was laying (head down low, butt sticking out on my right side and limbs curled to my left). Up until this point I had been having mild braxton hicks, mostly when I was at work standing too much and not drinking enough water. They were not painful, only a little crampy. Wednesday, I checked myself out in the mirror and thought to myself, "Wow, my face is swollen! This must be because I am starting my ninth month." But it was really just the beginning of the end.

Around 7:30 that night, my water broke. I wasn't even sure it had, I only had a little drip. I also had no idea I had been in labor that day, mistaking the faint contractions for braxton hicks. I barely felt them, even on the way to the hospital. After calling my doctor, who told me to go to the hospital just to be on the safe side (because it was so early), Bryan and I packed a bag and made our way to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. Yes, we packed a bag, because that was on the to-do list for the weekend. Also on that list, interviewing the pediatrician on Friday. Yea, right.

When we got to the hospital after 9pm, the triage was full so they took us to a Labor and Delivery room to be examined by the resident OB. Normally, you go to triage first and only if you are admitted do you go to L and D.  Apparently lots of babies wanted to be born that day because they were jam packed with moms to be. After putting baby and I on monitors the OB came in to do the "q-tip" test which if it turns blue, it means your membrane ruptured (I.E. water broke). Finding out I was only 35 weeks with no complications all pregnancy, the OB casually told us about the test with an air of "this is not going to be blue." Well, it came out Prussian Blue- like darkest of dark blue. Her eyes were wide with shock before saying, "You are staying. You are going to have a baby tonight or tomorrow."  At this point I was also 3 cm dilated, which is when hospitals will normally admit you.

Because my water broke, they had to give me pitocin to bring the contractions on. The danger in your water breaking and letting contractions happen on their own is the risk of infection as the mucus plug is no longer protecting the baby from the outside world. Not to mention that the amniotic fluid was lower due to the breakage.

This was all fine and well until the baby's heart rate was plummeting during contractions in the early hours of Thursday.   This happened a few times, which caused the nurse to come and shift my body around till the baby settled. The last time it happened was around 7 in the morning. A team of people came swarming in the room. Up until now, only one or two people would be in to check on me. There was talk of a C-section and orders for prepping the OR were given. Paperwork was pushed in front of me. If the baby's heart rate did not get steady, we were going for an emergency C-section. Bryan was given directions and clothes for the OR. I was currently 6 cm and crying. Not because I didn't want a C-section. I wanted whatever was best for the baby and I wanted her to be okay. In my head I was screaming, well let's get her out then! My OB said it was all ready to go, but lets just watch her for a few minutes after taking me off pitocin to see if she would recover before going into major surgery. So they left and monitored us from their computer. I actually dozed for a half hour. An hour after this madness, I paged the nurse because I felt so much pressure. The resident OB came in to check me. Low and behold, I had gone from 6 cm to 10 cm in one hour, and baby was at +1.

I was allowed to push, but with restrictions. Because of her struggling heart rate, I was to push on some contractions, not all. They watched the monitors carefully to assess when it was okay for her. This meant 2 hours from when I started till she was born. Sounds like a lot, but it was only some of the time I was actually pushing. The NICU was in the room when she was born as she was a preemie  I think Delilah shocked everyone. Her AGPAR score was a 9 (out of 10) and she was checked over to be fine. I got to hold her before they swept her off to the nursery while I recovered.

The best part of having Delilah at 35 weeks is that I didn't have time to get worried about what labor would be like. I wasn't expecting her to come till closer to 37 or 38 weeks. I thought I had at least another week before I would work up a sweat about L and D.

Delilah is now 3 weeks old, eating all the time, and a pro at tummy time. Now, if she would only sleep a little longer in between nursing sessions.....