Pregnancy/Postpartum

Weeks 4 & 5 Postpartum and One Month Update: Exciting News for our Little Family

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Week 4 Postpartum

So, Bella is now a month old and doing really well.  We had a weight check for her and she had gained 11 oz since the last appointment which had been 14 days before that.  They said they like to see babies gain a 1/2 ounce to a full ounce a day so she is right on track.  We are still having to feed her from both the breast and formula from the bottle.  This still gets me seriously down but we are trying some natural remedies to help with my supply.  I have been drinking at least 3 cups of Mother’s Milk tea a day which seems to have helped a little bit, power pumping for an hour a day a long with pumping after each feeding but the one I am most excited to try is Fennel essential oil from Young Living which I am currently starting my own business under because their products have really worked for me and for people around me.

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So this leads me into our exciting news.  Both my husband and I are starting businesses this month.  My husband has been working with his father to start a business that will help children who are struggling with math in school.  My husband has been working on the back end for several months now, creating the complex programming​ to make this online business work while my father-in-law has been working the front end that everyone will see and the details of how the business will run.  They both have been working so hard to make this something that will really be beneficial for children, parents and teachers a like.  Honestly, as a teacher myself and someone who has struggled with math my entire life, after I saw how this will assess students and help them to focus on their areas of need in this subject area I became very excited about it and wish there had been something like that for me when I was growing up.  When they launch I will put up a specific post about it for any of you that might have a child who is struggling in math and might be interested.

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I am also starting up my own business under my mother-in-law using Young Living Essential Oils.  These are some of the purest and best oils you can find in the United States which makes them more effective than the ones you might find in the store which claim to be 100% pure but really aren’t.  The standards for being able to put 100% pure on your label in the US is 5% oil and the way they destill their products damages the product and makes it less effective, if not actually toxic for us.  Young Living is dedicated to being the purest essential oil possible from seed to seal.  They have their own farms and hold themselves to strict standards.  So this is a product I feel I can get behind and support.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law came down to visit us this week and she brought her oils with her from her starter kit.  We defused an oil blend called Stress Away and at Bella’s next feeding I had my first really good let down EVER!  She didn’t​ need the bottle afterwards and slept for several hours afterwards.  Then the next day she was fussy all day and wouldn’t go down to sleep even that night.  Finally we pulled out the Lavender essential oil and defused that and within 10 minutes she was sleeping soundly.  After these successes I am looking forward to my starter kit and the extra Fennel and Basil oils I ordered to come in either tomorrow or Tuesday.  The Fennel especially but also the Basil are supposed to be really good for increasing milk production.  I will let you know how it goes.  I am also excited to share these products and opportunity with anyone who is interested.  If you are interested in learning more I am more than happy to tell you all about it so feel free to ask me.  This is more of an education business than a selling business.  Sales are just a perk for me, as I really believe that true and pure essential oils are natural remedies for just about anything; which G-d put on this Earth for our use and health.

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This also has given me a new focus which has helped me with any remaining Baby Blues.  My mother-in-law got me out of the house for a while too this past week which helped to give me something of a break and a change of scenery which has helped.  It was a very nice visit with them both!

So I know this post is late for week 4 and a little early for week 5 but I wanted to get them done while I had the opportunity.  I hope everyone is doing well!  Shalom! 🙂

Pregnancy/Postpartum

Weeks 2 & 3 Postpartum: Breastfeeding Woes and First Mother’s Day

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Two weeks postpartum

Well, I decided to put weeks 2 & 3 together since things became so hectic around here.

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Week two was an interesting week as we continued to try and adjust and baby blues began to set in, mostly centered around the struggles with breastfeeding.  My husband’s mother came to visit and stayed with us for several days to help us which was so amazing!  My parents also have dropped by almost every day with meals which has also been a big help.

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We celebrated mother’s day this week as well which was lovely.  My family had a big get together for the mother’s and my brother’s birthday combined.  It was nice to get out of the house for a bit and spend time with loved ones.

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At Bella’s two week doctors appointment we got the all clear to stop supplementing since she was now 4 oz over her birth weight which is better than they usually hope for and they were very pleased.  At the appointment, her umbilical cord stump fell off so the doctor was able to look in and inspect it also.

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Three weeks postpartum

Week three was full of firsts too.  We took her for her first walk and gave her first bath (which was nerve wracking to say the least).  I also have begun to feel myself coming out of the baby blues.  I feel that my mood has improved over all and I am not quite so teary eyed this past week.  I had another doctor’s appointment for me, the last one with my doctor, as he is moving to another state.  I was his second to last delivery.  My score on the baby blues evaluation was still not great but he said it would probably improve in the next few days and it did.  Also, everything else looks great healing wise for me.  I am dropping the pounds I had gained rapidly (155 lbs I believe on their scale).  IMG_20170523_194201

We finally broke down this week and bought a nipple shield.  Because of being introduced to the bottle in the first few days of her life, she has learned some very bad habits which were leading to some major damage to my nipples.  I got to the point I couldn’t even wear clothing against my nipples because of the constant pain and it was affecting how well I was able to connect with her.  With the nipple shield I have been able to continue breastfeeding and even so, it is still painful but better.  I am now able to enjoy it more and continue to build that bond with her during nursing.

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We also bought a special Medela bottle which is teaching her to suckle properly we hope.  It seems to have made a difference from what I can tell.  I think I will know better once I take off the shield this week and go back to feeding her as I had been previously.  So, she is still on the formula but we are gradually reducing the amount we give her.

We give her a little more formula at night because she will sleep 4-6 hours straight at night this way.  Also, by the end of the day I have basically very little left to give her.  A normal feeding for her right now takes about 2 hours which is exhausting and makes me wonder why that is happening as that does not seem like an appropriate amount of time.  It seems excessively long to me to be occuring at every nursing session.  I hope that once I remove the shield this will also improve.

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I will try to be better about updates but we’re still struggling to figure this all out so there may be joined weeks here and there but I will do my best to keep them weekly whenever​ possible.

Thank you for your patience.  Shalom!

 

Pregnancy/Postpartum

One Week Postpartum Update: Bella’s Blood Sugar Complication & Recovering from Traumatic Birth

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One Week Postpartum!

So, I have decided to do a weekly update on how we are all doing post birth.  Sorry, this post is late but we’ve been working on adjusting to our new life.  We have made the decision to not show pictures of Bella’s face at this time for privacy reasons and we hope you all will be understanding of this.  I will try however to post a Postpartum picture of me each week.

I will have a dedicated post for my labor and delivery story but in order to understand some of this past week you need to know that I had a very serious complication when it came to birthing the placenta.  Bella’s birth though was relatively uncomplicated​ and went smoothly.

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Because of this complication with the placenta I was held an extra night to monitor my bleeding and other vital signs.  It was during this extra time that Bella started to have problems with keeping her blood sugar levels up.  The nurses even had to whisk her away to the nursery and give her glucose drops a couple of times.  We eventually figured out that the energy it was taking for her to breastfeed was causing her sugar levels to drop.  We therefore were forced to supplement with formula which was rather heartbreaking but it was best for Bella.  Even so, she continued to struggle and one night they had me not feed her at all and took her to the nursery the entire night to feed her formula and get her sugar levels to where they needed to be.  It was at this point that I was discharged from the hospital and she was admitted.  They allowed us to sleep in with her that night and then it looked like they weren’t going to let us stay with her if she had to stay another night.  However, they talked about it and decided to let us stay in that eventuality but we were able to establish a routine that kept her sugar levels where they needed to be and she was discharged that night.

We were admitted into the hospital on Tuesday in the afternoon and left on Friday night around 10 pm.  It was an ordeal with much stress and tears from both mom and dad.  Bringing her home from the hospital felt like a huge relief and victory.  We had gotten her stable but now she is more dependent on the bottle than me for her food.  I have struggled to get my milk supply up and it feels like we’re more supplementing with my milk than with the formula.  However, she is still latching really well as she has been from day one and I am pumping every two hours day and night.  As you can imagine there really isn’t a whole lot of sleep happening right now.

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Saturday morning we took Bella to a doctors appointment.  They weighed her and she had only lost 6% of her birth weight which was good and her sugar levels were perfect.  She was given a clean bill of health at this appointment and now we will see the doctor again in two weeks.

As for me, I am still experiencing quite a bit of soreness and after birth pains.  I am currently on two strong painkillers because of the severity of my pain because of the difficult after birth.  I also have this awful postpartum rash on my thighs that is itching like crazy.  My feet have also been extremely swollen this week.  They are swollen way worse than they ever were through the entire pregnancy.

Emotionally, I am loving being a mama but I am also struggling with the fact that breastfeeding is not going as well as I had hoped it would.  We went and spoke to a nurse about the situation today and she said that the trauma of having had the life threatening complication after the birth as well as the stress of having Bella be on the cusp of being in the NICU and taken away for a whole night for medical intervention and everything else that went along with that situation could be affecting how well my milk is coming in.  It definitely is having an affect on my emotional health as I scored a 10 on their baby blues evaluation and a 12 is where they have the mama talk to a counselor but most of my answers were focused around how I am feeling about the breastfeeding​ situation.

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On the bright side though, we got Bella weighed and she is back to her birth weight already.  I also was weighed and I am now down to 162 lbs myself since giving birth.  I had been at 171 before giving birth.  I gained a total of 36 lbs during this pregnancy and I managed to get away with no stretch marks, yay!

I hope everyone is doing well!  Shalom!

Pregnancy/Postpartum

40 Weeks Pregnancy Update: Due Date and Final Pregnancy Update?

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40 Weeks Pregnant!!!  My due date!!!

Well, we did it!  We have made it to the due date and 40 weeks.  I have just a little more than a week to go at most.  Next Monday I will be induced if I haven’t gone into labor at that point.  I have been showing some signs that labor is about to start so we are just waiting now.  I actually thought that maybe I was going into labor earlier today but it all got quiet after a while.  I am still not feeling very well though.

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At my last doctors visit I weighed about 171 pounds (started at 134 lbs.) and, according to my app, Bella should be creeping up close to 8 lbs. at this point.  Of course there is no way to know for sure until she is born.  I, unfortunately, had not progressed any further from the previous week but that was to be expected.

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My cat Samson photo bombing us!

We talked to our doctor about the itching which has only gotten worse over time.  He ordered a bile salts test be done, as, for some reason, the hospital did not run that test on me while I was there.  My doctor said that often times the bile salts can come back abnormal before the liver function ones do but he reassured us that it was just a precaution and most people don’t test positive for Colestasis as it is very rare.  However, if the results do come back abnormal they’ll induce me this week rather than waiting until next week.

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Isn’t he just so handsome and cute!

This past week my biggest symptom has been this itch.  It has spread to my knees and hips as well as my feet.  My feet are still the worst though.  Although, I have scratched my hips until they bled recently and I have rug burns on my feet from grinding them into the carpet and small cuts on them from scratching them on sharp edges.  I just can reach my hips easier with my fingers than my feet currently.  It is an horrendous itch.  The worst itch I have ever experienced in my life.  Think 1,000 misquote bites in one small area but deep inside where you can’t really reach it to relieve it no matter how hard you try.  It is miserable but I can handle it as long as I know it is not being caused by something that can harm my child.

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I feel incredibly blessed that this only showed up at the very end of this pregnancy and I haven’t had to live with this for weeks or even months like some other Mama’s have to because they’re still too early to induce.  I am truly blessed and very soon I will be holding my baby girl in my arms!

Shalom everyone! 🙂

Pregnancy/Postpartum

39 Weeks Pregnancy Update: Pre-Labor and Hospital Visit

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39 Weeks Pregnant!!!

This week has been something of an interesting week.  I have been having Braxton Hicks contractions for some time but I found out at my last doctors appointment that my contractions are now actually dialating my cervix and I have begun to progress.  At my last check I had dialated to about 1 cm and my cervix was also softening (also known as effacement) and her head is engaged but he said it wasn’t great but there is still time.  From my understanding when a woman’s contractions are changing the cervix but it is changing very slowly and contractions start and stop and don’t lead to actual birth, this is called Prodromal labor or pre-labor.  It is actually a form of true labor because the cervix is dialating but it is not active labor.  Currently, I am having contractions every 15 to 30 minutes.  Sometimes they are closer together (like every 5 minutes) and sometimes they slow down to almost non-existent.  At my last appointment my doctor also scheduled an induction date for May 8th in case I don’t go into labor naturally but none of us think it will come to that.

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As for today’s events and why I ended up in the hospital in Labor and Delivery.  The last few days I have had a terrible itch on my feet, mostly on the bottoms of them.  There is no rash, just a deep, awful itch that seemed to be getting worse and spreading to other parts of my body.  I have been constantly scratching the bottoms of my feet especially on anything that has texture like carpet or a hard edge like chair legs and the edges of table tops.  The sharper the better but there was really no relief.  I didn’t think anything of it though since I am pregnant and itching happens in pregnancy, until last night when I couldn’t sleep at all because of the itching.  I finally got on Google to see if any other pregnant Mama’s had dealt with this and what remedies they used for it.  However, my search immediately popped up with a condition called Obstetric Cholestasis which is a problem with the mother’s liver which causes her not to process bile correctly and can lead to stillbirth.  Needless to say I became alarmed and immediately woke my husband up and told him my concern.  We called the on-call nurse about it and she said we should go into the hospital and get it checked out, just in case.  The concern was that Bella would need to be emergently delivered, whatever that looked like, today!

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I will say that the experience was not the best I have had at that hospital.  The nurse was almost condescending and at first was acting like we were bothering her because we came in because my feet were itching and then when I told her it had been going on for a number of days she suddenly wanted to know why we waited so long to come in if it was so bad even though we had just explained that it had been progressively getting worse.  I have to say I was really frustrated with her attitude and struggled not to show it and remain nice to her.  As soon as she left I signed to my husband how I felt about her.  He helped me to calm down and reminded me to give her grace since we do not know what has been happening in her life that could be causing her to act this way.  He is such a good man!!! :-D.

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She actually did warm up to us after a while and seemed to become more compassionate to our situation as time went on.  I was put on monitors to measure her and my contractions.  Bella kept squirming away from the monitor though and making it hard on the nurse but after a time it was determined that she was doing just fine in there.  In the end, my blood work came back fine also and we were allowed to leave with our minds more at peace and the recommendation to put my feet in cold water and the reassurance that once Bella is born the itching will end.  While there though and hooked up to my contraction monitor I had two big contractions and lots of little ones too.

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The contractions I have been having aren’t painful, just uncomfortable.  In fact, I didn’t know I was progressing at all and thought I was just having Braxton Hicks.  I know that a lot of mom’s who have this Prodromal labor say that they thought they were in real labor (even not first time mom’s) and that their contractions were just like their real labor contractions.  So, I feel blessed that I am having a pain free experience thus far.  :-D.

I hope everyone is doing well.  Shalom! 🙂

Pregnancy/Postpartum

38 Weeks Pregnancy Update: Any Day Now!

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38 Weeks Pregnant!

Well, we have made it to 38 weeks and now it is just a waiting game.  There is usually a two week spread on either side of the due date when the baby can come.  It would not be unusual if she were born today, nor would it be unusual if she was born two weeks after her due date.  It’s just the nature of estimating due dates.  It’s variable a nobody really knows for sure.

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At this point we are estimating that she may be around 7 lbs based off the last ultrasound we had and how much they say she should be gaining a day.  We’ll see how close that is when she is actually born of course.  She is still moving around a lot and she responds to her Daddy’s singing and voice.  She seems happy.  We are hoping for a good and peaceful transition for her when she arrives.

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We talked over my birth plan with our doctor this past week which alleviated some concerns about the birth and how it will go.  We are hoping for as natural a birth as possible.  However, I am not beyond getting an epidural if I really need it.  I am nervous but excited at the same time.

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I have been experiencing episodes of contractions which a timeable but I have this idea that when the real thing happens I will be able to tell the difference.  I also have been experiencing extreme fatigue this past week.  My mom said that it could be my body gearing up and getting ready for little sleep to come.  Another symptom that has intensified again this week was nausea and vomiting.  My understanding is that when labor is getting closer the body starts to try and empty the stomach through vomiting and/or diarrhea.  I am definitely getting close to my due date so hopefully it is a good sign.

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I hope everyone has had a good Passover and/or Easter holiday.  Shalom! 🙂

Pregnancy/Postpartum

37 Weeks Pregnancy Update: Full Term

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37 Weeks Pregnant!!! 🙂

We have made it to full term!  Yay!!! :-).  This week is what would be considered early term but they will not try to stop labor at this point if it happens naturally.  If it happens now it just means baby is ready!  At my doctor’s appointment last week I closed up tight like Fort Knocks which was somewhat disappointing with all the contractions I had been having.  But it also was a relief as well because my husband was going out of town to be at his brother’s wedding (which I was so sorry to have missed).  Congratulations to them if they are reading this now!

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Little Bella has been moving a lot.  She is definitely much lower now than before as I can feel a lot more discomfort in my pelvic area now than before.  She is also, we are guessing, around six and a half pounds now.  It is uncomfortable to stand and move around but I try and make sure I am getting exercise.  I am having this crazy nesting urge now but it is coupled with extreme fatigue as well.  Another issue is that I cannot be on my feet or even sitting in a chair for too long before my feet start swelling like balloons and I have to lay down and prop my feet up to help drain the fluid out of them.

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I have my birth plan done and will go over it with my doctor at my appointment on Wednesday.  We also have pre-registered at the hospital and started packing the hospital bags.  I am also feverishly trying to get my thank you notes out for the baby shower but it is slow going with my feet giving me grief all the time and lots of contractions.  :-/.

This week is exciting too because it is Passover and Easter weekend.  It may be another Monday post this week again.

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Shalom everyone!