Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coming To Terms With the Past

I haven't written on here much lately as I have been trying to avoid what I am feeling. I am not sure if I should be feeling what I am feeling. Is it completely normal? Is there something wrong with me? You would think as a psychologist that I should be able to navigate my way through my own feelings and emotions, but these feelings are something that I don't know what to do with.

I know that I am not dealing with PPD as I am able to function and participate in life. There are just times, pretty much like flashbacks, where I feel very detached from reality. I am not sure how to explain what is going on with me. I often find myself staring at Giovanni where I just burst out in tears. All I can think about is how I almost lost him. I am frozen with fear that something is going to happen to him now.

Last weekend I was driving home from a day of shopping with him, happy as can be. I had the radio on and was singing to him, thinking about how I enjoyed my alone time with him. I came to stop at a red light. The light turned green but an ambulance was coming, lights and sirens, so I had to wait. Next thing I know I realize the cars behind me are blowing their horns. Tears are pouring down my face. I proceeded through the intersection and pulled over. I frantically tried to remember what happened. I soon started remembering the noise of the sirens, the reflection of the red lights in the dark, the hotness of the Magnesium, the nausea, the dry mouth, the overwhelming fear that I was once again losing the miracle that was inside me. I had completely flashed back to the night I went into preterm labor. It was like it was happening all over again. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw Giovanni sleeping in his car seat. He was there with me and everything was okay. What the hell is wrong with me?

These type of things have been happening quite a bit. I am having a really hard time understanding why as everything turned out okay and he is with me. I realize that I had a nightmare of a time conceiving that was plagued by loss after loss; a nightmare of a pregnancy; a nightmare of a birth; and multiple complications post-birth. But why now? Why am I having such a hard time coping with the PAST? That is exactly what it is, the past. I am starting to realize that I really haven't, from a psychological perspective, dealt with everything that has happened. I always just figured that once I had a baby that all the stuff from the past would somehow just go away. That is not the case.

As much as I have the "I can fix myself" attitude, I think it is time for me to realize that I need help with this. All of this isn't going to go away on its own. I obviously have many feelings and emotions that need to be dealt with. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

8 Weeks Old

Today my little man is 8 weeks old. I can't believe how fast it is going by. It seems like just yesterday I was going in for my induction to bring my little miracle into this world. It is hard to believe how much he has already changed!

My little peanut when he was only 13 days old!

My little peanut at 8 weeks!

I love him so much!

Today was his 2 month well-baby visit. He has jumped from the 1st percentile for weight (yes, you read that correctly) up to the 9th percentile weighing in at 10lbs. 2oz. He has grown from 19in. to 22in. long which puts him in the 14th percentile. The pediatrician was quite pleased with his growth but we need to stay focused on his weight gain. I am still feeding him every 2-3 hours around the clock. He has been sleeping one 4-5 hour stretch at night so I am adding in a little extra during the day to make up for it. I am a bit nervous about returning to work as I need to keep up with this 2-3 hours schedule by continuing to pump. I work by myself 99% of the time so jumping in my back seat and milking myself won't be an issue then, but every once in a while my boss will be riding with me so I am a bit nervous about that. I will say that I have an incrediably understanding boss who has been encouraging and supportive of this whole process, so I know that it won't be an issue. I am very lucky in that department!

Speaking of going back to work, the anxiety of my return has set in. Going back is bitter-sweet. I would love to be able to stay home and take care of my child until he goes to school in 5 years, but my income is what supports this household. In the moments of my crying fits about returning to work, my husband has offered to return to work so that I can stay home with Giovanni (as opposed to him staying home) but that just isn't possible. There is no way my husband could supplement my income. I really appreciate his generosity though. I just keep telling myself that I am returning to work to give my son the best life possible. Also, his father will be staying home with him full-time so I am very fortunate in the department. I return in exactly 4 weeks so hopefully the time will go by very slowly. Also, by the time I return, the Holiday season will be upon us and that is actually my most favorite time of the year to work. Everyone is in such a good mood. It is right after the Holidays that suck but by that time I will be adjusted (hopefully). In the end I have a great boss and great colleagues (some that are moms too) so I am sure that with their support I will somehow make it through and everything will be okay.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Do I Get a Break??

Sorry it has taken me so long to post an update but between things being crazy as usual and my total detachment from life for a couple of days, I haven't really felt up to posting. Giovanni had his upper GI study on Thursday and let me just say that it was awful! I knew it wasn't going to be fun but I never expected for it to be as traumatic as it was. After checking in, we were greeted by the technician for the test. She had the radiologist come talk to my husband and I about the test. After that my husband was instructed to return to the waiting room as I was going to be the one to stay with him. Once I stripped him down to his diaper, they laid him on this wooden backboard looking contraption and started strapping him down. The worst part is that they had to put his head in this cushioned vice and strap his arms in above his head. He immediately started I have never heard him scream before. They let me stay at his head so I reached through the opening and gave him my fingers. He gripped them like he was holding on for his life. They then started the test. As he drank the Barium they kept flipping the board to get different views, all the while he is still screaming bloody murder in between gulps of the Barium. At this point I just couldn't stand to hear him scream like that so I started crying. The radiologist, who was right there, kept talking to me and telling me that he would be fine in a minute and that the test is actually worse on the parents. After what seemed like an eternity the test was over. The radiologist went over the results with me. She told me that he has severe reflux, delayed esophageal emptying, and aspiration into the nasal cavity. She then told me that she would send the report to my doctor that afternoon. The next day I got a call from his pediatrician. She told me the same thing the radiologist did and said that we were stopping the Zantac and starting Prevacid. She also said that when we see her on Wednesday for his 2 month well check that we will talk about the effectiveness of the medication and discuss referring him back to the medical center for a consultation with the pediatric gastroenterologist.

As for me, the news sucks. My fears were confirmed and I need to have a D&C. My MFM confirmed that the ultrasound that I had showed retained placenta and that it needs to come out ASAP. I go back to the medical center tomorrow morning for a surgical D&C. I am praying that it is straightforward with no complications. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Modern Medicine...Epic Fail

Since Giovanni was born, he has been having an array of feeding issues. First was his inability to latch which led to weight loss and to him being dehydrated which ultimately landed him back into the hospital. After working with three different lactation consultants he was still unable to latch but it was discovered by lactation consultant #3 that he had a 3rd degree tongue-tie and a 3rd degree upper lip tie. That was corrected a day before he turned 4 weeks old through a laser procedure. Although he was now able to latch, he had absolutely no interest in the breast and would throw himself backwards and scream when put to the breast, so I decided that we would continue bottle feeding him breast milk. From the very beginning, he has always choked on his bottles. Over the past couple of weeks, it seems to be getting progressively worse. Last night he choked for so long that I ended up having to flip him over and essentially preform the Himlich on him. I was seconds away from calling 911 when he arched his back, took a deep breath, and started screaming. That did it for me. I was done.

This morning I called his pediatrician and told her what had happened and how I am just not comfortable letting this continue. She was hoping it was just reflux as she started him on Zantac last week when he was seen in her office. She has now increased his dose but thinks that it is time for him to have an upper GI study done. She will be setting this test up through the medical center tomorrow as they have pediatric radiologists that specialize in this type of stuff. Essentially he would go into the hospital where they would give him a bottle of Barium and take pictures as he drinks it. It is a fairly straightforward and easy test, I just dread the havoc the Barium will cause on his poor digestive system.

On top of all this I have been dealing with some issues of my own. The first thing has been an investigation of a lump that was found in my right breast. Three weeks ago when I was diagnosed with Mastitis the doctor found a lump that was documented as Mastitis related. Fastforward to last week when I noticed that the lump was still there. I called my GYN and after feeling it for herself, she suggested an ultrasound just to make sure it was nothing. Today I went for that ultrasound and luckily it was nothing. There was no solid mass seen on the scan so it is nothing more than a blocked milk duct or remenents of the Mastitis. The other issue that I have been having is all this bleeding that I am dealing with. I am 7 weeks postpartum and I am still bleeding as heavily as I was the day that I gave birth. After having several epsiodes where I was pretty sure that I was going to pass out, I decided that it was time to call the MFMs. Unfortunalty the NP that I usually deal with was off so I was forced to talk to the other one. She told me that it was no big deal and completely normal. Not all that comforatable with her answer, I decdided to email the other NP to let her know what was going on. She agreed that it was time to get an ultrasound just to take a peek at things. I was able to get that done today at the same time that I had the breast lump checked. That scan, however, did not turn out so great. Since I had my pelvic scan done first, and had to pump in between, the radiologist had time to read it. Even though they really aren't supposed to say anything, the tech confirmed that there was "something there" and when I asked her if it was placental tissue, she said "let's just say that I will see you for a follow-up scan once they dust things out". Since my MFM's office is not 'in-network" with this imaging location, the will snail mail the results to them. I did call the MFM office to ask them to get the report but I am thinking that I won't get any answers from them until next week. Their priority is high risk OB patients, not me. I decided to call my GYN to let her know what was going on. She said that this needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. She told me that if I start to feel or worse or if I start running a fever, that I need to go right to the ER. She said that she will have the report tomorrow and will call me so we can come up with a plan. Apparently it looks like there is yet another D&C in my future. I keep telling myself that maybe they looked at someone else's report but I think that is just me being in denial. I am a bit worried why this "something" is still in there, especially after all of the bleeding I have had. I am a bit worried that this is a piece of placenta that grew deep into the uterus and it is still growing and has its own blood supply. Hopefully this is not the case and removal will be fast and easy. This shit never seems to end...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Working It All Out

Over the past week I have been focusing on the goals I came up with for breastfeeding/pumping/feeding. After yet another meltdown after trying once more to put Giovanni to the breast, I decided that we were done. He is not going to be able to breastfeed and that is that. We have tried a SNS, nipple shields, laid-back nursing, a water "rebirth", three lactation consultants, and nothing has worked. The only thing trying to breastfeed gets me is a child who screams so hard that he stops breathing. I am done! No more feeling bad, no more letting others make me feel bad, it is over. Breastfeeding is supposed to establish a bond between mother and baby and that is far from what it was doing for us.

While I am done with breastfeeding, I haven't given up on giving him breast milk. I am now officially an exclusive pumper...something far harder than exclusively breastfeeding. I am pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock. While that isn't ideal, I am looking at it as my job right now. To make things a bit easier I rented a hospital grade electric and I have to say that it is so much better than my Pump In Style Advanced. It doesn't hurt nearly as bad and it is so much quieter. While I can't drag that thing around when I leave the house, I have invested in a manual pump which I have to say does an incredible job. I am also planning on putting my Pump In Style in my car so when I am in a hurry I can just strap it on and pump both sides at once. I am also working on my supply. I remember the days when I was siphoning the breast milk directly off of my nipples with a 1ml syringe only to get 0.1ml. I am now producing between 2.5 and 5oz. per pumping session. I am producing just enough for him to eat but I am an overachiever and would like to produce enough to have some extra. To do this I went ahead and ordered Domperidone (had to order it from another country) as its number one side effect is increased lactation as it raises prolactin levels. While it isn't available here in the US, it is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use in lactating women. In other words, it is safe. I just checked the tracking for it and it is in NYC right now so I should have it in the next day or so.

I am also very happy to report that I have decided to take another 6 weeks off from work. I am using a combination of unpaid leave time and paid vacation. Doing this will have me going back to work the week before Thanksgiving and this will give me two three day work weeks in a row. I just couldn't see me going back to work this week. Giovanni is just starting to become more alert where he is starting to interact with me. He is starting to stare at me and occasionally tracks me with his eyes. Every once and a while he will give me a big smile followed by a high pitched squeal. It absolutely melts my heart!