Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Friday 29 February 2008

Mystery rash solved

And the culprit is:
(sorry about the poor quality photo... It says Top Care Panty Liners )

Yes, I guess 2 weeks post-partum is not the best time to try out a new brand of panty liners. SR and I went in together to see our midwife about the rash. She took a long look at the perineum and said it had to be a maxi-pad. She wondered if I used Always pads because I guess she has seen these reactions to scented Always pads pretty often. Strangely enough my pads were unscented.

She and the ob-gyn doc on call prescribed me clobetasol 0.05% cream. The night before the appointment, the itching was so incredibly bad that I was up almost the entire night crying, trying not to scratch it. Of course Christian only woke up briefly that night.

The clobetasol has helped quite a bit but I'm still losing a little sleep from the itching.
Taking baths helps, too.
(Christian contemplates his older sister while older sister contemplates our nudity)

The lochia has actually stopped, except for when I run under 9 minute miles, then it shows up again. Running still feels great and I think other than making the perineum a bit more sensitive, it wasn't the cause of the rash. So that's a relief because running makes me a happy mom. And I think that's a good thing for the bois.
Running Song of the Day: Boing by Nik og Jay

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Postpartum running rash?

Initially my recovery from delivery was pretty rapid. I ran 9 miles a day on Fri, Sat and Sun, but now I wonder if that was too much too soon.

The weather here was beautiful over the weekend with lots of sun and spring was in the air. SR and I ran together every day. No music, just talking. Christian was being watched for free at our YMCA childwatch. It's amazing how quickly time passes on these runs.

I noticed something that concerned me, though: there was a huge amount of drainage in the lining of my shorts after the runs. It was sort of a clear-rust colored. It crossed my mind that I had urinary incontinence. But, no it actually seemed to be coming from the uterus. I thought and hoped it would just go away. But then things got painful. First it was just chafing of the skin from all of the moisture, then it was pain and itching around the two delivery stitches, which eventually spread all over.

Now the itching is unbearable. I've actually made an appointment to be seen tomorrow. Maybe I'll have an answer then. I honestly don't know if the running has anything to do with it. It is either an allergic reaction or some sort of infection. The saying "physician heal thyself" has never worked for me. My mom thinks it's a diaper rash of sorts. SR suggested I soak in a hot bath last night. This is what the post-partum nurses had suggested I do every day. This was advice I shouldn't have ignored, I guess.

So we, all three (SR, Christian and myself), took a bath together. I don't think our bathtub could be any smaller and still qualify as a bathtub. Somehow all of our naked bodies fit (sorry no pictures :)). And Christian seemed to have the most fun of his (short) life. The warm water was absolute heaven to him. I felt much better and SR liked the silliness after his first day back at work. He said "it's amazing how unimportant work seems." It's really too early for either of us to go back to work. And I work my first shift tonight :(.

The "little bois" (Christian's new nickname) is changing so quickly. It is incredible to watch.

Day 10
Day 12

I don't want to forget any of it.

Oh, and as if there was any doubt that SR was the father, but we received the results of the paternity test we had to have done. And yes, we are the biological parents. They looked at 9 genes and it was so cool to see how he got one allele from each of us. We needed to do that in order to get SR's name on Christian's birth certificate since I was still married at the beginning of the pregnancy. What an expensive inconvenience that was!

I'll let you all know if I find out what this strange rash is so perhaps I can help you pregnant ladies out there avoid it.

Running Song of the Day: Be Mine by Robyn

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Our love cocoon

I'm attempting to breastfeed this little guy as I write. We have been having a lot of fun with him despite the crying and waking up in the middle of the night. What would I do if I were working? I hate to think of the fact that I'd be going back to work in 4 days if I were in Oklahoma. But instead we are in our love cocoon. SR has three weeks off and I am trying not to worry about what life will be like when he goes back to work. I'm only going back part time, so that will be nice.

One thing so far I had not anticipated about motherhood was my irrational reactions to fear of something happening to Christian. I was standing out by our dumpster and imagining someone throwing him in. It is cold out there. He would surely try to find the nipple for a while and whimper and then just die. I started crying and I'm getting tears in my eyes writing about it. SR's daughter joked about throwing him in the garbage and again I cried. He is just so helpless.
SR's kids have been wonderful with Christian. It really impresses me how naturally they love him despite being jealous. I worry a lot about my preoccupation with Christian and hope they know I still love them.

Speaking of preoccupation, I wouldn't be sealegsgirl if I didn't talk about weight gain and exercise.

As of today, my weight is back to my pre-pregnancy weight! And my exercising so far has been as follows.

Days 4-5 postpartum: light walking

Day 6: elliptical for 35 minutes (this felt great!)

Day 7: elliptical for 50 minutes (started to get pain in the coccyx)

Day 8: downhill skiing (no pain at all)

Day 9: elliptical 35 minutes, swimming 35 minutes, yoga for 50 minutes. I was sooo tight at yoga - definitely the hardest yoga session I've been to.

Day 10: elliptical 30 minutes, swimming 35 minutes and running for 2 miles (!).

So yes, I'm back running and it felt awesome. I went so fast and it felt effortless. I can't wait to run outside in nice weather. I had a dream the night before last that I was running on a trail in wide open plains in Nebraska in the middle of summer. I saw what I thought was a storm coming, but when it got closer I realized it was a group of angels with flaxen hair and smiling, beautiful faces. They picked me up and took me with them, watering the fields as we flew.

SR and I have been planning our spring and summer running schedule, which includes a bunch of relays so we can hand Christian off as a baton.

Alright, we're off to the Y. Thanks again to everyone for your comments! They made us feel so happy.

And yes, Lisa, he does look a bit like his father.

Running Song of the Day: Africa by Toto

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Meet our son

Here's a picture so you're not scrolling to the bottom to see him.

It's still unreal that there's a baby sitting on my lap as I write this. We are happy and he is healthy, but gosh, I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to indulge myself and tell a bit of the story.

Friday night, SR and I went on our first movie date. He had the afternoon off and we had gone to our prenatal appointment where he and our midwife manipulated my cervix for a while determining dilation, station and effacement.

Then we went to see the late afternoon showing of Juno. It's a very good story and SR and I found ourselves crying a bit more than is acceptable in public (and in front of our co-workers nonetheless). Then we went out for some pretty bad Chinese food. We did learn that my year's sign in China is a sheep and SR's is a rabbit, signs that are meant to be together, but that was no surprise.

At home, just for fun, SR tried rubbing the acupressure points to induce me. Before we fell asleep, I was overwhelmed by a warm feeling and I said to SR that I was so happy.

Half an hour later I woke up with this strange cramp in my pubic symphysis. It came and went in a crescendo-decrescendo nature. Yep, this was it. I watched the clock and they lasted 50 seconds and came every 10 minutes or so. It felt so good! I thought about how amazing the female body is.

The cramps got more and more intense, but still the same time and frequency. I watched SR sleep, feeling bad about waking him up because 1. I wanted him to run the race in the morning and 2. even if we weren't running the race, he'd have to be with me during the whole labor.

Eventually, I woke him up and he was kind of incredulous after all of the false signs from the last couple of weeks. We went downstairs, watched the weather channel, ate and timed the contractions. Yes, this was it, we agreed. We went back to bed. SR slept and I lay there smiling.

By 5am the cramps became painful and about 4 minutes apart.

The exercise ball became my best friend. Just sitting on it and rocking relieved the pain.

SR did a cervix check at 9am and I was 4cm dilated! Yes, this was it. By 10 am the contractions were right on top of each other. I would no longer be able to walk across the parking lot to the hospital, so we got in the car with all our stuff. I had the big exercise ball on my lap. SR dropped me off. I walked into the ER, sat on the ball and told the triage lady I was having a baby.
In labor and delivery, things started out very smoothly. Our nurse was an angel. And we had a beautiful view of the snow covered hills outside.

After being on the ball for a while, I got in the tub, which felt great.

But then the excruciating back pain started. I had to get out at about 12pm for a cervix check and there had been minimal change and the baby was face up! Ahhh! That was how I was born and my whole life I've heard stories of my mother's agonizing 48 hour labor with me. I was cursed! Apparently only 1% of babies are born face up, but perhaps it runs in our family.

More than slightly discouraged, I asked for water papules to be injected into my back. This saline injection treats pain a lot like acupuncture (by confusing the pain signals) and worked so well. But only for a half an hour.

By 1pm I was in absolute agony again. Now screaming and crying with each cursed contraction. At 2pm, the next cervical check showed again very little change. We were pretty much all thinking he was stuck at this point, but no one wanted to say it.

SR, the midwife and the nurse all recommended I get an epidural so I could relax and give the baby a chance to turn. I'd do anything to avoid a c-section.

It took 2 1/2 hours before the anesthesiologist arrived to do the epidural. There were a lot of tears and "why me?"s involved. Poor SR didn't know what to do to comfort me, but he did. I did get fentanyl and nubain in the meantime. I went from the all-natural-birth girl to the drug seeker pretty quickly once I realized all the pain wasn't bringing the baby any faster.

Then, I got the epidural.

Wow! Why would anyone not get this????

Over the next three hours, my cervix went from 5cm to complete. And there was no pain. I actually slept for a couple of hours while the baby turned.

I woke up ready to push, feeling just a slight pelvic pressure with each contraction. And after 15 minutes of pushing, there he was. And we thought we had cried a lot at the movie.

Now we could love a real human. All 6lbs 1 oz of him.

And make fun of him and call him the stoic China man.

Thursday 7 February 2008

Holding Pattern

I guess it's been an entire week since my last post. And basically nothing has changed.

We had an amazing amount of adrenaline last week, frantically preparing for the birth, timing and counting the contractions. SR was excited because his paternity leave seemed imminent. And we both couldn't believe we could feel his little head and he'd be ours soon.

But now, it's 9 days since the strong contractions started and the little guy hasn't moved. And all the adrenaline is gone, but the discomfort and fatigue remain. Happily, I have been able to increase my running to 5.5 miles/day and those endorphins have been helping me a lot.

The truth is, I only get the contractions when I am moving around, so despite how strong and regular they may be, they are probably still just Braxton Hicks.

One of the many things I want to avoid in childbirth is being induced by Pitocin. It's still 8 days before my due date, so we have a little time. But last night we went to visit our eastern medicine friend, who works as a receptionist on one of the hospital floors. She agreed to try to induce me on Monday at our house. SR told me she had claimed she "could induce a whale." When I asked her about the whales, she gave me a look that said, "I've never actually induced anyone, whales included, but I'll give it a try."

SR does make me laugh. Thank goodness I'm not going through this alone.

We celebrated SR's birthday with some ice cream and a lot of love.

And then two days ago we celebrated his daughter's birthday. We had her tell us all of the things she had learned in her 7th year of life. And then we ate way too much cake.

Thank you to everyone for your very touching comments over the last couple of weeks.

Running song of the Day: All that She Wants by Ace of Base

Friday 1 February 2008

The waiting game

No baby yet. And I guess there is no way of knowing how long this prodrome will last.

Two nights ago, I was getting the feeling things were very close, so I went to the mall to get a bunch of last-minute things. First I found a swimsuit for SR's daughter, then I was looking for a cd of relaxing music for labor and a wave a nausea hit. I left the store and felt regular contractions lasting over a minute each, that seemed to get stronger and stronger. I was so excited. I persisted in my shopping (which is normally something I hate to do) and found some sexy nursing bras (can't believe size 36 C was slightly small! This is coming from a girl who used to buy a B cup rather than an A just to avoid the shame). Victoria's Secret has really nice "racerback" bras that clasp in the front. While I was looking, though, I was doubling over in intermittent pain. The salesgirl and I were getting a good laugh out of it.

I called SR at the hospital, who basically said, "don't go into labor now... I'm on call."

I drove to meet him for dinner at the hospital, thinking this was going to be it, whether or not he was on call. But once I got something to eat and drink, the contractions basically disappeared.

We retired to the call room, for possibly our last round of call room sex, since this was his last night of overnight call. We've become big fans of doing our own cervical exams. This is, as far as I know, completely safe as long as the membranes haven't ruptured. Oh, and wear gloves... you don't want to rupture the membranes with your fingernails! The cervix is basically completely effaced now, with 1-2 cm of dilation and still at about 0 station as far as we can tell. The weird thing is, when we do the cervical exam, all of this white, flaky stuff comes out. Neither of us has any idea what that is.

It is an exhilarating feeling for me to be able to reach down and feel the little guy's head. SR likes to press on his head and then feel him kick in reaction. Oh, I wish he would just come out!

I've already had bloody show, and from what we could tell, the mucus plug came out. And now there is constant pressure in my back and pelvis. And, along with that, nausea.

As you can imagine, I've been making some attempts to induce real labor. So far, other than sex, I've increased the running to 5 miles a day. This is really good for inducing staggeringly strong contractions, but irregular. Then the eliptical induces pleasant, regular contractions. When I swim, I just get light intermittent contractions.

I haven't attempted acupressure yet. I'm saving that for this weekend, when SR is done with cardiology. But honestly, I think the baby will come when he's ready. And my symptoms and feelings of being ready won't affect anything. Gosh, I'm nauseated, though, and that stinks!

Last night we had our last preparation for childbirth class and we were practicing deep breathing and relaxation. We were supposed to picture somewhere pleasant, that made us happy. I pictured SR and I running in the forest late last March in the mud with the gray-white sky coming through the trees. He was getting near the precipice and looked back at me, smiling. It still seems unreal that I would find something so perfect in my life, a person, who in every way seems to be made for me. And to share a love that is so innocent! And I started crying in the class. So I imagined us in Pictured Rocks, looking at each other coyly as we got naked on the deserted beach. There was a storm approaching and the waves and wind picked up. We were like children of heaven, afraid of nothing in this world. And I cried even harder, not able to believe the beauty in my life. When I looked at SR, it seemed perhaps he had been crying, too.

So I had to picture somewhere that wasn't real. And I thought of the dream I had oh, five years ago now. I was somewhere in Europe on a mountain, next to a lake under a sunny blue sky. I was holding a little blonde baby boy and looking into his eyes, feeling perfect happiness. When I fell in love with SR last winter, I knew that little boy from the dream so long ago was his little boy. That I can picture without tears, because it's not real yet. But I think it's only a matter of time.

Running Song of the Day: Heartbeats by The Knife