Tuesday, September 30, 2014

And so it continues...

I'm still battling...everything kinda.  I think I'm making progress though.  My leg only hurts after I've been walking awhile, although it's still numb all the time and tingly/burny when I move wrong.  I saw a lovely neurologist who isn't very well known for his bedside manner.  He may or may not have implied my OBGYN was a wet-behind-the-ears idiot, and assured me I'd be all healed...within a year for sure.  lol  At the rate I'm improving, I hope it's a lot sooner than that. 

The battle of mastitis continues.  I think of it in terms of California wildfires.   Some days I'm at 80% containment and I think I've nearly won the battle, and then the humidity drops and the wind kicks up and suddenly I'm at 20% containment and its raging out of control.  My breasts are starting to feel like a full time job.  I have such a huge medicine regime and everything's on timers, plus hot compresses, herbal compresses,  cold compresses...rotated with massaging, hot showers and nursing on all fours. Bah.   All usually done while feeling like I have the flu.   Sometimes I give up and think I can't do it anymore and I have to switch to formula.  But then I think...I just can't do that.  I can't switch to formula, I would never forgive myself.  And so I press on.   I imagine though my clock is ticking whether I want to quit or not.  I realize I can't just exist for the next year with a permanent staph infection.  I may have to give up breastfeeding in the next few weeks and it would be entirely out of my control (come on antibiotics...you can do it).   Until then however, I'll keep working on containment.  I'm getting pretty good at sleeping in a sitting up position, and waking up every 2 hours to pump or feed.   I lost all my hard won ground over the weekend and spent yesterday curled up feverishly and achy under covers while I threatened to cut of my right boob with a hacksaw it hurt so bad.   But today I'm doing a ton better. 

I'd say I'm at about 75% containment right now.  Although I need a sign to wear in public that says I'm not randomly groping myself, I'm just hyper obsessively checking for plugged ducts. :-P

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


When I was pregnant and going in for my million NST's, the nurses would always comment that Will was in the perfect birthing position.  They would marvel at my awesome child bearing hips and how well he fit in my pelvis. (because that's what every woman want's to hear when she's nine months pregnant) 

...all completely wasted on me of course, since I was having a scheduled c-section.   I wished I could trade it like when you're playing a board game.   "I'll give you my non-breech baby card for that complication-free c-section card you don't need."  

And now I feel the same way about my newborn's sleeping habits.  I of course am not sleeping at all.  I'm lucky if I get a couple of 90 minute chunks, but unlike most newborn households, my sleeplessness has very little to do with my baby.   He's sleeping great.  The last several nights he's slept from 10:30pm or so to 7-8 am.  I on the other hand, have to give my poor zombified child a cold sponge bath at 4am just to wake him up enough to relieve my out-of-control milk/mastitis inferno.    So now I wish I could trade my "sleep for more than five hours at a time" card for a "no mastitis"card.    

Although it's not just the mastitis.  Really I need one of those Star Wars "Bacta Tanks" where I can sleep suspended in a healing liquid.  I can't sleep on my back without my leg killing me.  If I sleep on my left side, I wake up with mastitis on the left, and if I sleep on the right side, I wake up with mastitis on the right.    I've gotten to the point where I dread nights so much, just because I rotate from one obnoxious position to another.  It's a good thing Jamie's babyhood broke me of needing sleep, otherwise I would feel completely insane right now.  As it is, I can feel my body starting to shut down from the exhaustion even though I don't feel sleepy or tired.  

But overall I'm doing a lot better.    I can walk pretty easily now.  The blistered burning-at-the-stake sensation has been replaced by a more manageable throbbing and tingling sensation.  Sometimes if I move it wrong, it feels like my leg is made of shattered glass.  But it helps to know it's all in my head.  I constantly tell myself that my leg isn't actually a crystal goblet someone is taking a sledge hammer too.  It's more of a mind over instinct thing...So different than usual pain.  I've been applying all kinds of ice packs and salves to the invisibly wounded area, and I'm relieved at how fast it's healing.  It's given me an eye-opening amount of sympathy for people who suffer from nerve pain on a regular basis.   I pray I never have to experience it for a long term amount of time.  Shudder.  

The mastis is at about 90% containment during the day...although I lose ground at night thanks to my awesome sleeper (knock on wood... because watch, I say that and the moment I can actually sleep will be the moment he stops sleeping).   But overall I feel like I'm doing better than I was a few days ago.  Hopefully, I actually can manage four boys in a few weeks.

I did however make it to Will's baptism.  Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a geek, (and this is probably sacrilegious) but the sacraments are so awe-inspiring to me, they're like real life Lord Of The Rings.  True magic that transcends time and history.  Something that's been done for millenniums before this moment in my baby's life, and will continue to be done until the end of time.   It's the kind of thing that sends shivers down your back (and also turns me into a puddle of tears).   

All of you who vowed with us... I expect you to keep your promise.  ;-) 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I could kill a vampire...

... with my breath.   In the last 48 hours I have consumed not one, not two, but almost three bulbs (whole bulbs...not cloves) of raw garlic in a desperate attempt to stave off mastitis.  And this is where I insert a warning about the rest of this post containing delirious post partum confessions probably not suitable for a mixed audience.

I had recurring mastitis with Robbie, so it's a familiar albeit somewhat hellish deja vu.   I really really don't want to take antibiotics for a whole host of reasons that mostly revolve around me not wanting to start a catch-22 like I did last time where the antibiotics wiped out my immune system so much, I just immediately got another infection.   So here I sit with what basically amounts to a painful game of whack-a-mole where I have so many clogged milk ducts, I feel like I get rid of some of them, and more pop up somewhere else.   The list of alternative remedies I've tried include but are not limited to, hot showers, castor oil packs, lecithin, the aforementioned raw garlic (yum...gag),  anti-inflammatories, probiotics, probiotics on my nipples, essential oils on my my breasts, cabbage in my bra, nursing upside down...in a football hold and every other contortion I can think of or make up.   It's been a full time job. 

Today I woke up and decided I needed to have a new bra....as in, do not pass go, do not collect $200, head straight to the nearest mall despite the fact I'm not exactly mobile right now.   I have plenty of perfectly wonderful nursing bras that aren't working for me.   Normally nursing bras are these huge, hideous things that look pre WWII era and come in sizes like 32GGG.  You'd think with them being so stoic and industrial by nature, they would work for me, but no... they seem to exacerbate my problems, and I'd decided they were the root of all evil.  Last time I found the perfect nursing bra at...Fredericks of Hollywood *cough cough* and so that's where I dragged my slept in hair and breast milk stained shirt self this morning.   I was like a coke addict desperate for some relief.  I finally got to the dressing room with the appropriate size and sighed with relief when sure enough...the second I put my miracle bra on, all pain eased.  

I wasn't about to take the bra off after all that just to pay for it, so I went looking for a store associate to ask if I could leave it on.   She said that was fine, I just needed to give her the tag.  No problem, I ripped off my tank and started to get the tag off right then and there when she suggested I might be more comfortable doing that in a dressing room.  Ah..right.  I'm still in that post-modesty-less zone where I'm so sleep deprived and so completely desensitized, I forgot it wasn't appropriate to undress in a store filled with giant pictures of hawt nearly naked women.   I probably wasn't really good for business either.  A haggard shell of a human...newly post partum... walking around dragging her leg like a zombie.   It doesn't exactly inspire someone to buy any of the sexy lingerie (which is all 40% off right now in case anyone is interested).    I kept saying "I'm so sorry, I just had a baby."  as if that would explain it all to the tiny 18 year old trying to steer me to the nearest dressing room.

   As she opened the door for me, she picked something up off the floor and said "is this your shirt".  Um yup, I'd left my shirt in the dressing room in my exuberance.   At least I had gotten the tank back on?   All I could say was,  "I'm so sorry, I just had a baby." 

Lord have mercy.  This child is so precious and worth it, but I'm not sure how much longer I'm going hold out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Upside-down World

I'll ever forget the look on Jim's face when I asked him quite honestly "I just don't understand how the baby got poop on his diaper...I mean, where did it come from?"  

Between the leg thing and the meds, I'm sure he thought I'd lost my mind.  There was a completely reasonable explanation for why I asked...but I don't remember it at the moment. 

Jim just sort of blinked at me and said really slowly like he was talking to Charlie in the middle of the night after finding him trying to pee in the bathtub, "um babe...the poop came from his butt."

Then we laughed. Which then made me cry because you can't laugh when you've just had a c-section.   Then the crying caused a letdown, which then meant I soaked my shirt with not only my tears, but with breastmilk as well.

And that my friends is what you call being post-partum.  The crazy mixed up world where you're as deliriously happy as you are sleep deprived and crazy. 

I've got this vague awareness that life is going on at breakneck speed around me, and I'm supposed to be participating instead of sitting here counting neck wrinkles and new fat rolls on my baby.  I'm getting a million and one emails from the kids charter school about all kinds of truly important things...testing they're supposed to be at this week... curriculum that needs to be picked up ASAP and meetings I can't miss.   Jamie starts three different kinds of therapy this week for issues I can barely remember exist when I see him cuddling and singing to his baby brother.  Robbie starts speech therapy next week which I've set three reminders for because goodness knows I'm never going to remember it any other way.  I'm also supposed to harass Robbie's medical records out of Kaiser which...ha... Kaiser and I don't have the best relationship at the moment, and right now I'm picturing myself having to break into their medical records office at midnight in a wheelchair. 

CC started yesterday without me, and it was strange (albeit a bit satisfying) to watch Jim make breakfast and pack lunches while Robbie bawled, Charlie freaked out about his shirt collar bothering him, and Jamie flooded the bathroom trying to comb his hair (he looked like a cross between a wet dog and a slicked up salesman before Jim rescued him).  It confirmed my suspicion that mornings just suck.  Particularly mornings where you have to get everyone out the door early.  I don't know how non-homeschoolers do it.  I think most of our problem revolves around the fact that we have one super chipper morning kid, and one complete wreck of a night owl, and the poor middle one ends up at the mercy of both.  Meanwhile I am enjoying my spectator status (and brainstorming) because it will very shortly be my challenge to deal with.

But seriously....neck rolls! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cloud Baby

Conversation I'm overhearing right now between Jamie, Charlie and Jim.

 "William's all mine."
"No, he's all mine!"
 "Well he's my brother"
 "He's my brother too!"
 "Well he's my son, so both of you stop it."
"But I want to hold him."
"I asked first!"
"But I'm the oldest." 
Ensuing sounds of smackdown. 
"I'm the dad and neither of you can hold him while you're wrestling."
"I said STOP FIGHTING, you just hit William in the stomach" 

~ ~ ~

Oh William.  You have no idea what you've been born into.   I feel like I need to bequeath you a special sword or magic trumpet or something.  I hope you survive. 

I've always enjoyed doing my own newborn photoshoots, but this is the first time I've been physically unable to do it very easily.   I thought it was going to be completely impossible, but my mom and I did it together in a sort of two pronged approach where she was my hands and feet. 

I need to do another one with the boys, but this way if I never get to it, I've at least captured the magical newborn stage that disappears so fast.

 He's a very awake baby...not unhappy like I first thought he'd be, just way too awake for a kid on vicodin.  So this sleepy picture was a hard shot to get.

 This is normal Will. 

 Jim calls this "the cloud picture" but I'm very proud of this blanket.  I saw something similar at Anthropologie for $350, then I saw another one on Pinterest, and like the girl I am...I had to have it.  Except I bought the raw yarn off of Etsy, dyed it and knit it myself.   The dyeing part was the most fun, the knitting part was horrendous.  I daydream too much to knit anything.  I think I took this blanket apart at least five times and started over because I lost track of where I was. ho hum

 You have to admit, William looks very much like a little monkey. 

 Pointy butt.

We call this his sleepy puppy face.  It's funny how newborns can look totally different one second to the other.

My mom and Julia are here from Guatemala...which I didn't originally think I would need.  Ha.  It apparently takes two adults and a teenager to take care of three kids, a wounded mother and a very awake infant.   It doesn't help that it's hotter than Mars in San Diego right now.   I cannot wait for Fall weather.  I don't think I've ever spent a more miserable Summer in my life.   Thankfully, some friends had pity and loaned us a small window air conditioner that we installed in our room.   So now there's a little slice of coolness in our tiny apartment.  Our bedroom now doubles as my throne room, school room, slumber party room and the room of requirement.   I'm a bit like Rapunzel though, in that I'm stuck up here in my tower, so if you want to say hi...please feel free to come over!

Hello Grandma  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Big Expectations

It's funny... Usually, the more you anticipate something, the more you set yourself up for disappointment.   If you have a particularly above average imagination, then letting it run away with visions of your wildest dreams usually means you suffer a lot of crushingly dramatic disappointments.   I'm sure there are exceptions, maybe some people always get their deepest hearts desires, I don't know.   Mine recently, have revolved around fantasizing about air conditioning this Summer.  I'm pretty sure I can't remember the last time it was legitimately chilly enough to drink the now disparaged Pumpkin Spice Latte, but it certainly wasn't last Winter. 

But there is one huge glaring exception to the whole "don't get your hopes up" rule.  Having a baby.   Jim and I have been wondering for months what William would be like... what color his hair would be...his eyes (which is completely meaningless considering our babies hair and eyes rarely settled on a color very long).   We've spent months taking care of someone we desperately love but hadn't met.   It would seem to me a recipe of disaster... counting on someone being so amazing when people are so often disappointing.  But then we laid eyes on our little Will.   We held his tiny little bones in our arms and thought he was even more amazing than we were hoping for. 

And it's a good thing, because while we're all gushing over his soft elbow dimples and fighting over who gets to hold him next, I've got a troupe of evil phantom elves trying to saw off my left leg with a red hot iron poker.   I'm not sure what went wrong during the surgery.   There was apparently a lot of scar tissue and a super thin uterine scar that was about to burst?  But we both came out of recovery fine, and it wasn't until a day or so afterwards that I got up and about fell over from a weird shooting pain in my left leg.   It's gotten worse since then, and nobody can figure it out.  My nurses weren't familiar with "help my leg is burning" complication from a c-section.   The surgeons say it's got to be anesthesiology's fault, and anesthesiology says it's got to be something the surgeons did.   They kept me another day scratching their heads over it before sending me home with vicodin and a walker.  (the PT guy they sent down with the walker looked a little lost to find himself in Labor&Delivery lol).   The c-section part of my recovery looks and feels great.   I'd never guess I'd just had my abdomen sliced open and sewed shut.  What I would guess is that I got shot in the leg and there's a bullet left in there somewhere.  The pain is excruciating...topping any of the other traumatic incidents in my life.  Up until now I would have said the broken foot or the tonsillectomy was the most painful thing I've ever gone through, but they've been knocked off their pedestal by these evil phantom elves and their chainsaws (...or was it red hot pokers?). 

Hopefully it's all just temporary nerve damage caused by all the tissue trauma to that general area.  Because I'm not sure how much longer my family is going to last with me in bed coming unglued every time someone barely touches my left leg. 

Praying next week brings healing and answers...