Friday, July 29, 2011

An Unexpected Journey: Craniosynostosis

Two words I had never heard before, and really wish I never knew existed: craniosynostosis and scaphocephaly.

Cranio what?! How do I even pronounce those?! Not MY son...

That's what I was thinking when I saw those words scribbled across the referral from Deacon's pediatrician to see the pediatric neurosurgeon. I don't think it's accurate to say I was in denial, because to me there was nothing odd about D's head. Most babies have odd shaped heads. It's part of the deal from being smushed into a small, tight space for 40 weeks. As I drove home after D's 4 week check-up, I was confident the pediatrician was just being over cautious by asking me to take D to see a neurosurgeon. So confident in fact that I didn't even read the referral and those words - craniosynostosis and scaphocephaly - until later that evening when I took a break from cooking dinner. I decided I would do a quick Google search to see what those words meant. And that's when my heart dropped into my toes... as image results began popping up of baby boys with head's that looked exactly like D's head, I realized there really may be a problem. It hit me for the first time that this was serious. Very serious. And then I clicked on one of the websites... read the definitions of those words - craniosynostosis and scaphocephaly - and almost passed out. Literally. The blood rushed out of my brain and everything went black for a moment. Not my son...God, please, not my son.

Craniosynostosis (CRAY-NEO-SIN-O-STOE-SIS): Craniosynostosis is a congenital (present at birth) defect that causes one or more sutures on a baby's head to close earlier than normal. Sutures are connections that separate each individual skull bones. The early closing of a suture leads to an abnormally shaped head.

Scaphocephaly (SCAF-O-CEF-A-LEE): Scaphocephaly refers to the condition where the head is disproportionately long and narrow as a result of the premature fusion of the sagittal suture. The sagittal suture runs from front to back starting at the fontanel, at the top of the head, and extends backwards along the middle of the skull to the back of the head. Often the fontanel, or soft spot, is absent or closed. A ridge can be seen, or felt, running along the top of the head in between the right and left half of the skull. When viewed from above, the skull is wider near the forehead and gets narrower towards the back of the skull (which is the opposite of what is normal: that is, the back of the skull should be wider than the front). When looking straight on at the child's face, the forehead seems quite big, or prominent, and the sides of the skull look narrow. The incidence of scaphocephaly is one in 2,000 births. It is the most common form of craniosynostosis. Almost all children affected with scaphocephaly require surgical treatment.

Deacon's head isn't just shaped funny as all baby's head are for the first few weeks before it rounds out. Deacon's head is shaped funny because the sutures or "soft spots" on his skull fused together too early. Because of this, his head can't round out as it it supposed to. It can't grow side to side - only front to back. The bones that would usually stretch apart (and eventually grow and fuse together in the toddler years) are already "glued" together. The hard ridge I felt running down the back of his head where the soft spot should have been isn't normal either. That's where the bones fused. All of it makes sense now that I know what it is. So how exactly did this happen? There are two ways... one, is genetic. The other is due to fetal position inside the womb. Remember all that pain I felt because D was sitting so low in my pelvis? Well - that position in my womb kept his skull from growing as it should. Being wedged into my pelvis made his skull bones touch together too early, signaling that they needed to fuse since they weren't able to grow normally. No God, not my son. Please don't let this be true. This happens to other babies... other mothers. Mothers that when you hear their stories, your heart breaks for them. You pray for them. When you hear what they are going through, you thank God your babies are healthy because you doubt you have the strength to handle what those mothers handle on a daily basis.

Nearly two weeks have passed since all this came to light. It's taken me that long to be able to write about it. And, as far as we know at this point, it is true. Appointments with a Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Pediatric Craniofacial Surgeon have been scheduled. The consultations will determine just how many sutures have fused and what the next steps will be. The good news out of all this? The situation can be fixed. This isn't something life threatening, painful or that will affect Deacon long term. The bad news? It can only be fixed through surgery. Skull surgery. Between 2 and 3 months of age. Followed by Head Banding (aka Helmet Therapy) for 6 months to a year after. If it isn't treated now? That's when things get bad. The head can't grow properly, which means the brain can't expand. Facial deformities, extreme pressure on the brain... that's just the beginning. The scenario is enough to make you lose your mind with worry. Trust me on that one...

So for now we wait. We wait for our appointments. For the surgery. For the recovery. And we pray. We pray for the best surgeons to be on the case. For full recovery without complications. And to see God's hand at work. I'll write more about that aspect later... there is a lot to say about that topic : )

In the meantime, here are some videos that I found that help explain the situation.  One shows the condition and explains the procedure to fix it. And one is short documentary of a family that went through this. It's a stressful, emotional time for us - but I truly believe that there is a reason this is happening, and that we will come through on the other side of this in a better place. This is only the beginning of a journey we didn't expect, didn't plan for, didn't even know was in the realm of possibilities. But here we are. I'm looking forward to the finish line : )


My Vegan Baby

Tiny Tevas

I think I may have a Granola baby on my hands. Today, he's gone vegan. Tomorrow, he'll be wearing little Teva sandals and turning my backyard into a neighborhood recycling hub. See, the Big D decided he can't have regular, milk-based formula... he prefers soy. Soy-based baby formula. Well, I guess if you want to get technical about the situation, I am the one who decided he should switch to soy : ) But still... he is a total Granola in the making. Trust me. Which I think is secretly my husband's dream. I think Daniel is an under-cover Granola. He would go full-throttle, but he enjoys meat way too much. So he's letting it eek out of his pores in other ways - most recently taking up every outdoorsy sport imaginable. Mountain biking. Kayaing. I drew the line the other day when he dragged me to REI to check out a "really cool pair of shoes" that he wanted. They were Vibram FiveFinger shoes. So he could "feel the earth" beneath him when he went out on his adventures. I screamed in disgust and backed my 80-lb double strolled right back out to the parking lot. I have to draw the line somewhere... and shoes where each toe has its own pocket is it  : O   Anyway....

Once I switched D to formula full time, I noticed he was having some MAJOR gas issues. And it wasn't just that he was tooting all the time (I consider that pretty normal for babies... and husbands). But it actually seemed like he was in pain before he could let the gas out. He would curl up in the fetal position and let out a few screams before he tooted. So after a few days of this, I switched him to a "Gentle" milk-based formula. Miss Paige had to use this kind, so I figured it was another thing my babies had in common. Except it didn't make much of a difference. He still appeared to be in pain after eating. Of course this upset me and so I hit up Google to find an answer. It seemed the overriding advice was to try a soy-based formula - that he may have an allergy to milk proteins. So I slowly switched him over and lo and behold - no more painful gas! Of course he still toots like a tugboat, but it doesn't appear to be painful any more. His poops are a little on the solid side vs. the runnier poops of most babies. But he definitely seems a lot more content. I even caught him trying out the Downward Dog yoga pose during tummy time today. Yup - he's definitely gone Granola. : )

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Help with Biracial Baby Hair!

How Miss Paige really feels about her hair this morning
You know you've seen it. A mama and her biracial baby out in the supermarket, at the park, at the mall - baby's hair slicked back to the extreme, tied with a rubberband, and a big poof of unruly hair  at the end as a sorry exuse for a "ponytail" or sometimes even two poofs - "pigtails". Those poofs are the universal symbol of defeat. Hair -1, Mama - 0. After trying to figure out their biracial baby's curly hair, these mamas threw in the towel and did all they knew how to do - slick that sucker back into a poof. And I really can't blame them! I'm in the throes of it right now. But I'm not raising the white flag in defeat yet. I'm determined to figure this out! I can't let Miss Paige rock the poof ponytail!!

So I'm sending out an official S.O.S to mamas of biracial babies. HELP! Miss Paige's curly hair is getting more unruly by the day. What used to be a head full of soft, flowing curls is turning into a true hot mess of hair - crazier, frizzier and knottie than ever beforer. I've tried using my own products for curly/wavy hair on her but the result is disastrous - a total grease fest. Greasy dreadlocks, basically. Nice, huh? I can comb it out after her baths at night and usually apply a detangler on it. But when she wakes up in the morning after a night of rolling around, it looks like a bird's nest. Literally. It's so bad that she actually hides things in her hair - crayons, her breakfast... anything she wants to hold on to for later, she puts inside her hair. Hilarious, but definitely problematic : )

So, I've done a bit of research and I'm thinking of trying the "Mixed Chicks" products on her. They are a line of hair products made specifically for mixed race hair. GENIUS! But has anyone tried them? Do they really work? Or is it just a gimmick to get desperate mamas like me to spend $13.00 for a bottle of kid's shampoo?The products that work on my hair just aren't cutting it for Miss Paige - so I'm thinking something made specifically for her hair type might do the trick.
Any suggestions from mamas who have figured out the biracial hair conundrum? Products? Methods for styling? HELP!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Edison Moment: PaigeyKakes Padded Play Tiles

Last July, I had a great idea. A great idea that grew out of necessity - like all the best inventions. I was pretty much like Edison inventing the lightbulb... Mama Edison : ) Ok - that's an exaggeration. But I still think it's a good idea that mamas will appreciate and see value in. Here's the story...

As I watched Miss Paige - who was 6 months old at the time - trying to sit up, balance herself for a moment, then topple over without the ability to brace herself, I became a hot mess of a mama. Visions of her slamming her head onto the hardwood and tile floors around my home kept me up at night. For the first few weeks of this new phase, I would sit behind her so I could catch her when she started to tip over. But I realized that wasn't a realistic approach, so then I put down those rubber interlocking tiles they have in gyms and garages. Garage-chic wasn't really the look I was going for in my home, but for the sake of Paige's safety, I put them out anyway. Well - I soon realized they were great for absorbing the shock of a fall, but ultimately they were still a hard surface and didn't help with the pain-factor of Paige's falls. She needed a softer landing. So I took the next logical step - I covered the rubber mats with pillows and blankets. Problem solved! Well... not really. Becasue the moment I witnessed Paige fall back and land in between two smushy pillows with no ability to get herself free, my heart skipped a beat. What if I hadn't been right there when that happened to lift her out of the pillows that were smothering her? So obviously, a layer of loose pillows and blankets - while providing a soft surface to fall on - was not going to work.

And that's when I came up with my idea - PaigeyKakes Padded Play Tiles: Padded, interlocking floor tiles that create a safe and soft place for infants to play and explore. Each 2' x 2' tile consists of an interlocking rubber foam base, layered with one-inch thick batting, then covered in waterproof, stain-resistant fabric.

Each PaigeyKakes tile is made by hand (by me) - layering a soft, pillow-like surface to cushion falls over a rubber foam base to absorb high-impact shocks. Designer fabrics complete the PaigeyKakes tile, not only offering a stylish look, but also providing waterproof, stain-resistant protection. Interlocking edges allow for custom shapes and sizes.

Soooooo... what do you all think? I've been working on this project for a year now (in all my spare time : )  ), creating and recreating prototypes, building a website - - and pitching the product to manufacturers. I had a few exciting leads, but nothing really panned out. Until now...

PaigeyKakes Padded Play Tiles is a finalist in a contest for mom inventors!! WOO HOO! I think winning this contest will put me in a position to move forward with my concept, and finally bring it to fruition beyond my famly and close friends that know about it. But I need your help... (Mama now getting on her knees and begging for your support : )  ) I need you to vote for PaigeyKakes Padded Play Tiles to win the contest. Here's how and where:

Mommy MD Guide Online - Mother of All Ideas Contest
  1. Scroll through the Finalist Descriptions (PaigeyKakes is listed third to last)
  2. Then fill out the easy-peezy "Cast Your Vote" form with your name and email address, pasting "PaigeyKakes Padded Play Tiles" in the "vote" section and click SUBMIT
  3. Do it again every day from now until September 1 : )  Ok - that's not realistic... But maybe every time you read a SLM post between now and then you can throw a vote my way.
And beyond voting, I'd love your feedback on my product. I have a ton more info about it (with pictures of a chunky monkey Miss Paige sitting on the tiles last year) on the website -

Thanks for all your support!!!!

Erica (aka Sweet Leigh Mama)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crayon Catastrophe

In my pursuit to maintain the crown of Mama of the Year (What? I didn't win the crown last year!? Shocking...)


In my pursuit to maintain the crown of Kinda-Sorta "A for Effort" Mama of the Year (that's better...), I gave Miss Paige a box of crayons. Not a big deal, right? Wrong! Because the last time I tried this I spent at least 10 hours Googling "wax poisoning" after my daughter mistook the orange crayon for a carrot and took a big bite out of it. Luckily we lived to tell about it (and found out crayon is not digestible and will come out in the exact same state it went in), but I've been nervous about bringing out the crayons again. Especially now that Paige is super mobile, somewhat defiant and an inheritor of her father's condition of the ears - also know as "selective hearing". I had visions of my perfectly painted camel-colored walls becoming an unwilling tribute to ROY G. BIV. And so I hesitated. For 6 months.

But while at Target the other day, I was bit by the "Back to School" bug and began checking out the aisles of school supplies. with my two non-school age children. And I came across a box of crayons that claimed they were 100% washable. So I picked them up, along with a cute notebook, and headed for home. During the 10 minute drive home, I planned out my crayon-redo introduction strategy. We were going to move slowly - one step at a time - to avoid a second crayon catastrophe.

Step one was having Paige color while in her high chair. GENIUS! She was confined and I could easily direct her to only color in her new notebook. And I have to admit, I was impressed by how well she listened. So after a few days of highchair coloring, we moved to coloring while sitting on the floor - with only two crayons. And just yesterday, after a slow transition, I gave Miss Paige the box of crayons, her notebook, and let her decide where and when she wanted to color. She carried her new loot into the play room, plopped down in her Elmo chair, and spent the next 30 minutes coloring. (Cue the Angels...).

Since she was occupied for the moment and Deacon was snoozing, I took advantage and snuck into the bathroom to pee. I couldn't have been gone for more than 3 minutes... but when I got back to the kitchen, I saw Paige walking back to her playroom, purple crayon in hand. Which meant she noticed I was gone and brought her crayon into the kitchen to check things out. I took a quick look around and didn't notice any big purple marks on the floor or walls - PHEW!

And it wasn't until about 15 minutes later when I went to the fridge to fill up her sippy cup when I saw it - a purple crayon squiggle exactly 3 feet off the ground on the refrigerator door. My appliances are old, and the crayon is washable, so it really wasn't a big deal, but I knew I needed to discipline Miss Paige and explain proper crayon use again.

I called Paige over to the fridge, knelt down to her level (in true Super Nanny fashion) and pointed to the crayon mark. She pouted and gave me the puppy dog eyes as I explained that this was not allowed. And then it happened... something I never expected and left me bewildered.

Paige looked at me... looked at the crayon mark on the fridge... back at me... and while still holding eye contact, grabbed a magnet off the fridge and slapped it over the crayon mark. She then proceeded to smile, wave bye-bye and toddle back to her play room. Problem solved! Out of sight, out of mind.

And I was left kneeling on the kitchen floor - jaw on the ground. And then of course I started laughing. Hysterically. Because it really was the funniest thing I had ever witnessed. And instead of wiping away the crayon, I left it there. Hidden under the magnet... A little reminder that even when I'm about to lose my mind and taking myself a little too seriously, I need to enjoy this time of my life and remember to laugh. : ) Oh, the joys of mommyhood!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sour Milk: Breastfeeding De Ja Vu

I really wanted to breastfeed this time around. Really, really, REALLY wanted to. Even though last time was a complete and total disaster (blood, sores, disfigured nipples), I thought this time was going to be different. This time I knew what to look out for regarding tongue tie. I was an experienced mama at this point and much more in control than last time around. I was confident going in and just 100% positive everything was going to work perfectly. WRONG!

Things actually started out pretty smoothly. As soon as I could get a good look at Baby Deacon, I checked his tongue. It looked a little bit tethered, but not nearly as bad as Paige's was. So I put him to the breast and he latched on immediately. SUCCESS! For the next few days, things were going great. Lactation consultants, nurses... basically everyone said things looked textbook and my milk should come in "any time now". But it didn't. I figured it was just because I had a c-section and my body needed to catch up with the sudden delivery of the baby. The colostrum was there - I was able to hand express it - but definitely no milk.While in the hospital I supplemented with formula so his weight wouldn't drop below the 10% mark (it had dropped 7%). I went home on Day 4 still feeling super confident. But as the days passed and my milk still didn't come in, I started to think that something may be wrong. He would still latch on without a problem, but it started to feel like he was sucking with all his might (like sucking the last bits of a chocolate milkshake through a straw) and I started getting really sore. Still - I was confident things would turn around.

Well... they didn't : (  I began pumping and finally my milk came in a little bit. But then I ran into a another problem... I had milk, but it was obvious Deacon wasn't able to get it out. After he was done "feeding", I would get sharp, shooting pains in my breasts. Plus, just 5 minutes later, he was crying for food and would scarf down a good 4oz. of formula. Still - I had faith things were going to work.

At the two week point, it hit me like a ton of bricks that there was a major issue. That no matter how hard I tried, hoped, projected positive vibes towards my boobs, something wasn't right. I decided I better take Baby Deacon to the Pediatric ENT specialist for a consultation. Unfortunately, it was 4th of July weekend and I couldn't get in until Tuesday the 5th. Four more days of frustration... I kept pumping.

On the 5th it was determined Baby Deacon was tongue tied - just like his sister was. While it wasn't as severe as Paige's (her tongue was tether all the way to the tip) it was still restricting the tongue's movement and ability to compress the milk glands. His tongue wasn't able to extend past his gum line, which meant his tongue couldn't cup the nipple (as it is supposed to). But there was also another issue - Deacon also had a short tongue. Which Paige also had. So even if we clipped the frenulum to also for greater movement and mobility, the doctor (who is amazing and I totally trust after his amazing work on Paige) said there was only a 50-50 chance he'd be able to feed from the breast. Clipping the frenulum will help Deacon move his tongue around in his mouth - that if not fixed would lead to severe speech impediments in the future and problems with eating - but it wouldn't increase the tongue's length. We decided to move forward with the procedure... I'll take the 50-50 odds and hope for the best.

Well, we fell on the wrong side of 50%. Deacon's tongue mobility was instantly improved. It was actually amazing to see that little tongue moving around for the first time. But his tongue still wasn't long enough to stimulate milk letdown. And so - on day 20 - I officially transitioned to formula. By that point I had resigned myself to the fact that it didn't really matter what I wanted to do or had hoped to do - my baby needed to eat, and that fact was more important. I was going to keep pumping and giving him breastmilk via bottle, but that turned problematic when I couldn't find time in the day to pump and became engorged.

This time around I felt a lot less guilt about formula feeding. I remember the first time it didn't work, I felt like a total failure. Like I was being selfish for not being able to tough out the pain (which looking back, was more than just pain... blood and chunks of nipple falling off isn't normal). But this time I felt at peace with the transition to formula. Bummed? Yes. Annoyed? Yes. But I knew I wasn't a failure. I knew what I needed to do, and haven't looked back.

I think breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. I really admire women who do it. But if you are a mama who isn't able to for whatever the reason, or maybe even chooses not to breastfeed because it doesn't work for you - don't feel guilty. As the commercials say, "Breast is Best!" But the bottle is good too. What matters most is the maternal connection and emotional bond you have with your baby. The quality time spent feeding your baby - whether from the breast or from a bottle - gazing into your little miracle's eyes, stroking their hair, kissing their chubby cheeks... that is what is going to matter down the road. Of course I'm not contesting the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding... but the emotional benefits can be achieved no matter what your feeding method of choice. And that is the beautiful thing about being a mama.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Tied Up

Sterilized. Kind of a scary word. It just sounds so... permanent. But I guess that's the point, right? I knew the plan was to get my tubes tied during this c-section, but seeing the word "sterilization" on the consent form made it sound so much more scary and life altering, as strange as that sounds. As I checked the box next to that "s" word and signed my name on the consent form while doctors and nurses scurried around me prepping for surgery, it officially dawned on me that this phase of my life - the pregnancy/childbirth phase - was officially coming to an end.

Confused? Let me back up a bit.

In October 2009 - at 30 weeks pregnant with Miss Paige - I had my first TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini-stroke. It wasn't life threatening, but it did change my life. At the time it was happening - when the left side of my upper body was going numb - I thought Miss Paige had just positioned herself on a nerve. But as the numbness spread from my fingers, to my arm and across my left shoulder, then to half my face, tongue and throat, I knew something else, something more serious, was going on. I headed to the emergency room, having no idea what was going on and of course fearing the worst - that something was wrong with the baby. The numbness only lasted 25 minutes and after more than 30 blood tests later, it was determined that I had a Protein S Deficiency, as well as Factor V Thrombosis. I'm not too good at explaining the medical facts and figures, but basically these conditions cause my blood to clot easily. The TIA/mini-stroke was most likely caused by a small blood clot that had traveled to my neck/head, stayed long enough to cause numbness, and then dissolved. More tests confirmed the Protein S and Factor V conditions were only problematic for me when paired with increased hormones - like during pregnancy or if I were on hormone-based birth control. Add extreme pressure and stress on top of the hormones (from work) and it was a recipe for disaster. I stopped working, was put on Heparin (blood thinner) for the last 10 weeks of the pregnancy and thanked God nothing more serious had occurred.

Now, every prego knows that during the last few weeks of pregnancy - especially during your first pregnancy - you think every bump, kick, pain, leak, etc. is a sign you are about to go into labor. Not a big deal, except that during my first pregnancy the doctors told me at each and every visit that if I thought I was going into labor, I needed to stop taking the Heparin immediately. Why? Because if I had taken the Heparin, then went into true labor, I wouldn't be able to get an epidural (due to risk of bleeding). No epidural? NO WAY! So every time I thought I might be going into labor, I would skip my Heparin injection. And I didn't realize it at the time, but by the last week of my pregnancy, I was skipping a lot of the injections. And then came my second TIA.

This time I was in the doctor's office when it happened, and it began the same way as the first time - complete numbness and inability to control motion in my fingers and hand. Except this time it was on my right side. I immediately knew what was happening and began freaking out. A full on panic attack (hyperventilating and all). As the numbness spread across my face, another symptom presented itself - I couldn't speak. I couldn't get the words I was thinking to come out of my mouth. I would think a clear sentence in my head ("CALL MY HUSBAND ASAP!") but all that would come out of my mouth was nonsense. I later found out this particular symptom occurred because the right side of the brain controls speech, and when blood flow is restricted from that side of the brain (like during a TIA), speech may be affected. It was scary to say the least. I was induced that night, and the rest is history - Miss Paige Karolina was born December 26, 2009.

So now armed with the knowledge of the blood conditions and need to take Heparin throughout my next pregnancy, Daniel and I decided we better try for another baby right away in case any other complications arose. I know people thought we were crazy when we announced we were pregnant again not even a year after Miss Paige was born. But after lots of thought and prayer, we knew it was the best thing for us. If I was going to put my body through the stress of another pregnancy, I wanted to do it while I was young. Not that 30 is old by any stretch of the imagination - but we just didn't want any more complications to arise. And just 3 weeks ago - on June 17, 2011 - Deacon James was born. This pregnancy was relatively smooth - I started taking Heparin as soon as I found out I was prego (at 4 weeks along) and took it vigilantly until the day before the c-section.

Our family as we always dreamed of it was complete.

After long discussions with each other, with doctors, and with God through prayer - Daniel and I decided that it was best to stop at two happy, healthy babies. We made it through two pregnancies without any MAJOR episodes as a result of the blood clotting conditions - we just couldn't see going through it a third time. So the decision was made - I would get my tubes tied during my c-section. I would be "sterilized" - as the consent form described it. And we are both very content in our hearts and minds with that decision.

And as it turns out, getting my tubes tied was a necessary procedure. During the c-section - the one where I was not only a little too aware of everything that was happening, but able to hold a conversation with the doctors and nurses throughout the entire procedure - my doctor told me that my uterus wouldn't have been able to withstand another pregnancy due to how thin it had become. She also said there was a good chance my uterus could have ruptured had I ever gone into true labor during this last pregnancy. Ummmm... no thanks : ) I'll pass on having my uterus rupture, thank you very much.

I know most people don't openly discuss getting their tubes tied, especially in today's world. It seems like people are having bigger and bigger families, and the thought of permanently ending the baby making phase it crazy to some. But that's exactly why I wanted to share this particular decision with you all. We each need to make decisions that are best for ourselves and our immediate families. Whether you are 28 and have decided not to have any more children (like me), are 35 and going for your 5th baby, or are 40 and decided to start trying for your first baby - it's all good : )

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Easy Peezy C-Section

I said it last time and I'll say it again - C-sections are the way to go! : ) Not that I can really speak regarding a vaginal delivery since I've never had one (small detail). But both times, the c-section has been a breeze for me. Here is my non-scientific theory as to why... During both my pregnancies, I was in a TON of pain due to the position of the babies inside my womb. Both were crammed far down in my pelvis - and let me tell you - each and every fetal movement felt like a lightening bolt in the va-jay-jay. So by the time I had the c-section surgery, I was actually RELIEVED that the pressure and pain from the pregnancy was gone. Even though my abdomen was cut open and my insides were rearranged, the pain was significantly less than that during pregnancy. You know how they ask you in the hospital to rate your level of pain/discomfort on a scale of 1-10? Pregnancy for me was a 9. C-section was only about a 4 (with Ibuprofen every 6 hours). I know this isn't the case for everyone, but I would take pain in my lower abdomen vs. pain in my va-jay-jay any day of the week!

Another perk of c-sections for the crazies among us? It's planned! Well - this time around mine was. And let me tell you - it was GLORIOUS!! Day... time... all set. No hemming and hawing around, waiting for mother nature to take it's course. Nothing against Mother Nature, but her and I are on two separate pages - she never gets things done fast enough for me : ) My c-section was moved up a few days at the end... from the 20th to the 17th. After spending two consecutive weekends in the hospital with various monitoring needs (contractions at 37 weeks, possible water leak at 38 weeks) - I was DONEZO. And so were the doctors. So the delivery date was moved from Monday to Friday - at exactly 39 weeks. In the days prior I went and got my hair done, nails done, eyebrows done. I was packed. The house was clean. It was kind of like planning for a vacation, minus the beach and fruity drinks. The only down side? No eating or drinking for 8 hours prior to the surgery. Food wasn't a big deal... but not drinking anything in the oppressive Georgia heat was tough. Since my c-section was scheduled for 4 p.m., I couldn't eat or drink anything after 8 a.m. So, to avoid turning into a rabid wilderbeast around noon, I set my alarm for 7 a.m. to eat breakfast. Just as I was taking the last bite of my egg sandwich, my phone rang. It was the hospital - calling to see if I wanted to move up my c-section to 11 a.m. UMMMMM- HECK YES I DO!!!! Except that I had just eaten... so I couldn't do it. Bummer, right? So I went back to sleep and then headed over to the hospital that afternoon.

It's funny, because I don't remember much from my first c-section. From what Daniel has told me, I was really freaking out and the doctor started yelling and the anesthesiologist had to knock me out. Not surprising. This time around, I was keenly aware of everything that was happening during the c-section. Actually - in my honest opinion - I was a little too aware. Somewhere in the middle of knocked out and wide awake would have been ideal : ) I didn't feel any pain, but I could definitely feel, hear, smell and see a lot. At one point I told Daniel I could smell burning popcorn. Something was burning, but it definitely wasn't popcorn (EEK!). The "suction" tube ran past my head, so I could hear and see all the lovely fluids fly past when they broke my water. The one part that was pretty cool was that I could feel the moment they pulled Deacon out of my belly - it felt like a lot of pulling and prodding and then literally felt like a "pop" and then I heard him crying. Pretty cool!

The best part of my c-section experience was the hospital room. I know, I know. You all know how much I hate hospitals. But somehow we ended up in the VIP Suite as the nurses referred to it as... it was an awesome corner room with huge windows and gorgeous views of the Atlanta skyline. Waking up at night to feed Deacon isn't so bad when you have panoramic views of the city : ) Room 490. If you deliver at Northside in Atlanta, try and request it. It was heaven!

Another positive of this c-section was that the doctor fixed my scar. Last time around, the incision had opened on either end and in the middle, so those parts never looked right even after they finally healed. This time the doctor removed those parts and reworked the scar so it's a super thin line - like a pencil line vs. a jagged magic marker line. I was tempted to tell her that she could do a tummy tuck while she was down there, but I decided it was best not to joke while my intestines were on the outside of my body and fluids were slurping down a tube next to my head.

So even though a c-section is major surgery with potential complications a mile long - it's really not so bad. I know they get a bad rap as not being "natural" and all, but after going through pregnancy for 9 months - does it really matter how the baby comes out? Natural hole or man-made hole, the baby has got to get out somehow : )

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Balancing Act

 9:00 a.m. - Commence blog writing...

So my one week hiatus turned into closer to two... sorry 'bout that! But balancing this two kids thing is tough! : ) Well - I guess taking care of the kids is the easy part... It's trying to get everything else done that seems to throw me for a loop. Thank the Lord my mom (aka Nana) and step dad (aka Papa) have been here for the last few weeks - otherwise, I'm pretty certain my house would be featured on the next episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive due to the mountains of laundry, dirty dishes in the sink and Lenni's fur balls rolling around the house like tumbleweeds. Not to mention we wouldn't have eaten, slept or been able to get out of our own way in general. Parents are great! : )

So now that I'm almost 3 weeks post-delivery, I figure it's about time I start to figure out how I'm going to function once everyone leaves. Miss Paige seems to be bucking against her regular routine a bit - two naps are quickly turning into one and she's definitely testing her boundaries while I'm occupied with Baby Deacon (No Paige - you can't jump off the top of the sofa like a diving board! - and - Paige, stop scaling up the bookcase to reach my soda on the top shelf! - and my all time "favorite" -  Paige Karolina! Stop burying your brother under all your toys!! (as he lies wide-eyed in his bouncy chair)). But I've determined the key to maintaining sanity in this household will be figuring out a NEW normal routine and schedule ASAP. As much as I hate routine and doing the same exact thing day after day, I can't imagine making it through this first year without some sort of strategy.

Part of this strategy is going to have to be an early wake-up time for mama. Oh, and coffee. Lots of strong coffee. With Paige, I would sleep until I heard her wake up. But I've quickly realized that if Miss Paige and Baby Deacon wake up at the same time (which seems to be the pattern), I am already behind schedule! When I worked a 9-5 job and on occasion worked from the West Coast, I remember having the same feeling of constantly being behind the 8 Ball - I was always running 3 hours behind because of the Pacific Time vs. Eastern Time difference. By the time I would log on to begin work, my colleagues on the East Coast would have already filled up my inbox and I'd be like a hamster on a wheel trying to catch up all day long. That seriously is the WORST feeling! So to avoid that in my home, I've realized I'm going to have to get up before the kiddos - which probably means setting the alarm clock for about 6:30 a.m. to give myself a good hour of prep time. Shower, coffee, news - I've got to get myself going physically and mentally in order to keep up and maintain the type of home I want to.

10:30 a.m. - Finally finished writing : ) It took me 1.5 hours to write a rather short post... Because for every three minutes of thinking/writing, I was chasing, disciplining, feeding (both kids) for 5. And now, finally, they are both asleep - Sleepy, Sleepy Nap Time. And I can finish writing. And fingers crossed I have time to sneak in a shower (it's been a few days...). And then it's time to start again.

10:30 a.m. and I'm already exhausted. But happy. Exhausted, but bursting at the seams with joy and love for my little peanuts. Exhausted, but not too tired to thank God for the life I've been blessed with and for the family and friends that surround me. Life is good.