My Labour and Breastfeeding Journey with Damien

It’s funny, but this time around I had absolutely no nervousness around labour. It’s such a short span of time that any pain is really easy to forget about. I know I had a lot of incoherent-screaming-pain with Aiden, and yet I still felt completely ok with going through that again. Compared with months of pain during the pregnancy, it seemed like an “easy” end. 

My Labour Story with Damien

As many of you know, I was scheduled to be induced on my due date (May 14) because of the pain the pregnancy was causing me (pelvis, back, neck, etc) – I couldn’t take care of Aid7290083772 c78aa9319a men, let alone myself. Our induction was pushed to May 15th initially, which was ok, but it all went messy from there. 

Originally, I was told we would go straight to the pitocin to induce my labour, but the midwife on call thought my cervix could use some extra work and gave me cervidil instead. I was sent home, which was very confusing for me. Initially, we tried not to let Aiden know we were home, since he thought we were having the baby. However, we had to drop that plan eventually when the induction didn’t trigger my labour. I had about 30 hours of early labour contractions, but nothing after that. 

With cervidil, the best plan is to return for a second dose the next day, often triggering labour with the back-to-back action. However, the hospital maternity ward was full and I was bumped off the schedule (as an “optional” induction, higher risk patients took priority). For the next 3 days, this continued to happen – at one point the entire hospital was on overflow and diverting patients. Meanwhile, I kept having on-and-off early labour and felt on edge all the time. I tried everything to trigger labour on my own, all to no avail (though it was nice to walk in our week of Spring sun!). It was the hardest week of waiting ever!

Finally, on Saturday night, I was invited back for a second cervidil. Early labour began instantly again and I was sent home. At 2am, my water broke; by 2:20am, I wanted to go to the hospital. Apparently, my labour is back-to-back contractions (the cervidil had been out for a couple of hours already) and that’s just not fun. Thankfully, they weren’t as intense as they were with Aiden, but I still wanted drugs. 

When we got to the hospital, we had to wait for the midwife to arrive. My labour progressed very quickly and I was very ready for drugs by the time she got there. My waters gushed again and I was already 5cm dilated – soon after, I was started on the gas, which helped tremendously with the pain. The midwife was also amazing, really talking me through the pain (wow, midwives shine during labour!). 

If my pelvis hadn’t been misaligned, I would have considered labour with just the gas. As it was, I was too worried about tearing and could barely lie down from the pain associated with my pelvis and back, so I got the epidural. I love the epidural, but I had an adverse reaction this time. I got sick, my blood pressure dropped and baby’s heart rate was fluctuating. They were concerned from time to time, making me change positions often, but thankfully when the midwife went to check me again an hour after her initial exam, she was pleased (and surprised) to see that I was ready to push. I could feel baby descending and rotating with each contraction (pretty neat). 

After 20 minutes of pushing, Damien Grayson was born! The whole process, from when my water broke / active labour began to the birth, was 6 hours – not bad!

Breastfeeding

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The only hiccup so far in our parenting journey has been the unfortunate resurgence of my milk supply issues. I was hoping, as is often the case, that it wouldn’t be a problem with Damien, as second babies often see more milk. On some days, I’m able to supplement with just 3oz of formula (total), though his demand increased and yesterday (and likely today) will be more like 9oz – that was a bit of a shock last night. However, looking back at what I had with Aiden, it’s about the same quantity (maybe a little bit more). 

With Aiden, I dropped most bottles by 8 weeks and all bottles by 4 months. I’m hoping the journey is shorter this time, particularly as it’s more inconvenient to both breastfeed and bottle feed when taking care of a toddler. Not to mention trying to stick in cluster feeding and/or pumping. But, more than anything else, I find bottle feeding to be an emotionally discouraging process and look forward to one day stopping it altogether. 

I actually credit my milk supply increasing to Aiden being colicky – although it was super stressful, it meant he essentially cluster fed all the time. Since Damien is a more placid baby, that hasn’t been the case. While I have the help at home, I’ve been delaying bottles and extending feeding to include at least one long cluster feeding session during the day. This won’t be possible when I am on my own. 

Our nights are hit and miss, so I may end up breastfeeding more during some nights. When Damien sleeps, he sleeps really well; however, if he misses his bedtime window, his whole night goes off and he ends up waking up very frequently, which means more breastfeeding and more formula. I’m trying to be careful on the timing of his last nap to ensure his bedtime is easier, but you never can account for things like explosive diapers. Those just happen. Ah, newborns. 

I hate each and every bottle I have to give Damien, though I know in the end I’m doing what’s right. Sometimes self doubt crops up, particularly as people (online and off) can be so incredibly polarized on the breastfeeding issue, particularly stigmatizing those of us who need to supplement or criticizing how we choose to supplement. There are many opinions about what will affect your breast milk production and it’s all a very confusing situation – even with the help of the lactation consultant. I doubt myself often. 

So, wish me luck! I will need all the support I can get to soldier through the next few weeks. 

Welcome to Damien Grayson

We waited a long time to meet him, but on May 20 at 8:20am, we welcomed little Damien Grayson Schweber to this world. He was born at 8lb 14oz and 53cm long (yes, bigger than Aiden).

So far, Damien is a really laid back little fellow. He sleeps better than Aiden did (provided his tummy is full) and is very low-key. He can put himself to sleep when he is put down at his preferred bedtime and is in his bassinet for most of the night (all but the last stretch, which he’s very restless for). He prefers to nap at home rather than on the go, but can nap on the go if he’s fed right before. He is rarely awake except to eat. 

The majority of my baby blues have dissipated, though sometimes I get sad or frustrated when breastfeeding isn’t going as well as I had hoped. I’ve had great support thus far, though, and am settling into being a mom of 2. 

Aiden is adapting to being a big brother, though it’s been slow. We’ve had many temper tantrums, but he is warming up to the idea of being a big brother. Though he hasn’t wanted to hold Damien, he has allowed me to take some photos of the two of them close together, so it’s a start! 

Some day those photos will be downloaded off the camera – until then, thank goodness for iPhone photos! 

35 Weeks Pregnant and Impatient

I’m 35.5 weeks pregnant at this point, though I’m measuring close to 40 weeks. Yes, we’re having a big baby! We’ve had an ultrasound to confirm that baby is quite large already, though of course that data can be off by quite a bit. Still, I feel as big now as I did at 40 weeks with Aiden, so there’s that.

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As I shared previously, it hasn’t been an easy pregnancy. I have pains in my pelvis, my back, and my legs to go along with my regular issues with my neck, shoulder and arm. As I approach my due date, my Braxton Hicks contractions have become quite strong – tricking me sometimes into wondering if labour is near. They are way stronger than they were with Aiden. Since I didn’t go into labour on my own with Aiden, I am always left wondering if “this is it”, even this early on. I spend at least an hour a day in the bath trying to calm down all the parts of me that get sore!

The midwives are currently in disagreement about when to induce me early, if at all. Nobody really wants me going past 40 weeks, but some advocate for an even earlier delivery. It’s likely I’ll be referred to an obstetrician, though I haven’t been called with an appointment yet. My blood pressure is also rising, so we’ll need to keep an eye on that.

I feel pretty useless most of the time, not being able to stand or walk very much at all anymore. It makes it difficult to be a mom to Aiden, which is the hardest part. I know he’s found it frustrating that I can’t play with him on the floor or run after him or actively engage in physical play with him. I miss it too.

I focus on just getting through each day right now. I’m so glad that Ianiv is currently working from home!

Pregnancy at 29 Weeks

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I’m just over 29 weeks pregnant now, finally getting close to the ‘finish line’, so to speak. I’ve entered the third trimester of the pregnancy and, though I still have to wait 11ish weeks (+/-) to meet our new baby boy, I’m quite ready to be done with the pregnancy!

My first trimester of pregnancy was very different with this baby. Though we vacationed during both of our early pregnancy days (a cruise while pregnant with Aiden, Hawaii while pregnant now), I struggled more with fatigue this pregnancy. And morning sickness. In fact, my morning sickness only just went away about a month ago. I was able to wean off the medication I was taking for morning sickness at about 15 weeks pregnant, though I would still get nauseous a few times a week, sometimes throwing up until around 22 weeks pregnant. Prior to that, the morning sickness was incapacitating me (not good when taking care of a toddler!) and aggravating my neck pain (nausea triggers my neck issues, just as neck pain makes me nauseous).

I put my back out in December, but thankfully have had no further back issues. I had very serious hip pain with Aiden, but all of that has been great with this pregnancy – I credit my year or so of training with Monika in helping rehabilitate my body from all my past (or recent) injuries, pregnancy included! I also have foam rollers at home to help work out kinks in my hips.

Unfortunately, I have had pain of another kind with this pregnancy. I’ve developed symphis pubis dysfunction (SPD), probably due to a mis-alignment of the interior of my pelvis. There’s not much I can do about it, though I’m seeing a physio this week to get some new exercises. It basically feels like I’ve been kicked repeatedly in the lady parts – not fun. The pain is made worse by standing or doing activities like walking (particularly uphill or stairs) or bearing weight (holding a toddler!). I usually end up having to lie down and/or take a bath to relieve the pain at some point during the day. Rest is the only way to minimize the pain – I’ve learned (and confirmed today with my doctor) that ‘pushing past’ the pain isn’t a good thing – it’s not just a muscle that needs stretching or strengthening! The last few weeks, I’ve had to cut more and more exercises from my fitness routine, which has been really disappointing after finally getting back some of my strength after my last car accident (phew).

Anyway, it’s been a frustrating situation. I can’t sit on the floor and play with Aiden anymore without severe discomfort. I can’t chase him around or do much with him. By the afternoon, I’m in so much pain that I don’t want to do anything. I feel like I say ‘No’ a lot and Aiden is definitely asking my when I will stop hurting. He misses playtime.

The next few weeks can’t go fast enough. Wish me luck!

Dealing with Gender Disappointment

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Gender disappointment. It’s a bit of a taboo topic, despite a great deal more media attention in the past few years. And I’m going to admit that I fell victim to it.

When we were pregnant with Aiden, I was most definitely hoping for a girl. When we learned we were having a boy, I had a brief disappointment that I quickly dispelled with an “Oh well, maybe next time.”

I was actually a bit hopeful that we were having a girl this time – we tried to increase our chances and I convinced myself that my crazy pregnancy symptoms increased our “girl odds.” Well, “next time” has come and gone now, and we’re having another boy.

When faced with the news, I had to face what I was feeling: gender disappointment.

Let me make this clear: gender disappointment is not baby disappointment. I am going to love this new little boy ferociously. I will not wish that he is a girl – he will be simply perfect just the way he is.

For me, gender disappointment is about giving up a dream that I’ve admittedly always had. I have assumed, since I was a little girl, that I would have a little girl of my own “one day.” I didn’t even question it. I saved my most precious baby mementos to pass on to her. I saved favourite dolls and books and pink blankets. I dreamed of dressing up my little girl in purples and blues and leggings and sweater dresses. I dreamed of braiding her hair. I always knew that her middle name would be Elizabeth – for my Oma, a middle name I also share.

When faced with the ultrasound, I had to face my own assumptions. I’d prepared myself as best I could, but I was still hit by the reality: I would never have a little girl. That dream was gone; time to put it away. It took me a few days of being sad and doing a bit of self-examination about why a girl was important to me. I learned some things about myself, most definitely. I put away some issues that had bothered me my whole life. I tried to take it as a learning experience.

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