Back Labor Really Sucks: part 2 of “my water broke…”

OK, So I am now positive that I am in labor. I had been trying to convince myself that was not having this baby a month early. I was relieved that my husband was no longer in New York, but I was fairly stressed that he was still three hours away. Evidently, I was pretty certain that I was in labor during the dinner with my parents. My dad later reminded me that I came back from the restroom and said, “I think I’m in labor”. The funny thing is that I don’t remember saying it. I only remember spending every extra minute staring at my watch and trying to find some consistency to the back pain. I finally found that if I completely ignored the trembling in my legs, I could basically time the pain. I was no longer in denial about being in labor, but I remained horrified that my water broke and did not come out. I worried about my little girl and wondered why she just would not move.

Well, it was now a little after 11:00 pm and my back labor was in full swing. I had only been in labor about 8 hours and the average (duration of labor) for the women in my family was around 20 hours; I still had a long way to go and it really hurt!  When the contractions would hit, I could not breathe and the trembling in my legs only got worse.  I was shaking so hard that the sheets were just jumping on my legs. The nurse came in because some alarm was going off. She looked at the machine and then looked at me shaking and said that she was calling the doctor. I was very scared but extremely calm.  My dad popped his head in at midnight and said, “Well baby, this is it! I have to get up at 5:00 am, so I am going to go home and get some sleep. Call me if you need me. Good Luck!” A tear slid down my face when he left. This was all getting very real!

At 12:30 a.m. a doctor, whom I knew from Dr. D’s office, walked in my room. He said that I was still not very dilated, but that I should call my husband. He was looking at my monitor and he was not smiling. The fetal monitor kept going off, but no one was telling me anything. My mom picked up the phone and called my husband, who was sound asleep. She said, “Well son, it looks like this is happening. The doctor wants you to come now!”  Mom handed me the phone and I said, “I know you are sleep deprived and jet lagged; please be careful! Oh, and I need you to bring the suitcase that is sitting in my closet. Oh, wait! Don’t forget to bring the car seat!” He then says, “OK, I just need to take a quick shower.  I need to wake up, and then I’m on my way!” We hang up and I tell mom that I am very worried about him driving. “He is so sleepy and it is raining! I need him alive! I can do this without him. I don’t need the additional stress of worrying about him right now!” My mom said, “Honey, he will be fine! He needs to be here!” I said “You know that I want him here, but things have a tendency of not working out the way I planned. I already know I could have this baby before he gets here!”

A nurse walked in and said that the doctor ordered some pain medicine for me, but I refused to take it. I told her that I wanted to be completely alert since my husband was not here. I remembered our friend telling us that the pain meds knocked her out while giving birth. She and her husband said that the nurses would have to wake her up to push and then she would literally pass back out. That was my worst nightmare right now. I needed to know what was going on! My mom tried to help by saying, “you can easily have this baby without drugs. Look how far you’ve already come. I’m impressed!”  But all I could say was “This sucks!”

My pain was becoming more constant. There was very little break between the agonizing back pain and the shaking in my legs, so I assumed that the contractions were getting closer. They had the fetal monitor turned so that I could not see it, but it kept going off. The alarm would ring and a nurse would come in and say “Where is dad? Is he here yet?” I would say no. My husband called at 3:00 am and said that he was still about 45 minutes away. He said it was pouring rain and he was driving as fast as he could, but the storm was terrible. I thought, “Great! Could this get any worse?”

The nurses are running in every few minutes to stop the alarm. My doctor is standing in my room around 4:00 am. I see his face and I know that there is a problem. He has already told me that I was not dilating and I knew that I was having a C-section. He then says, “Look Jennifer, we can’t wait much longer. The longer we wait, there is more risk to you and the baby. I am sending in the anesthesiologist to talk to you.” The anesthesiologist asks me some questions that I now can’t  remember. It was all turning into one big blur. The anesthesiologist walks out of the room, and my husband walks in. I let out a sigh of relief and said “Glad you made it!”  The nurse runs in and says “Is this dad?”  I nodded, and she told him that they are moving me to the operating room. She brought in some weird paper jumpsuit for him to put on. She said “You are pretty big. This is the biggest one I could find”. He put it over his clothes and it ripped in three places. He looked very funny, but my sense of humor was now gone. They wheeled me past him. I looked back. I tried to smile and then said, “Here we go!”

They took me in the OR for the epidural. Now my entire body was shaking, probably from pain, fear, and exhaustion. I looked over and saw my doctor sitting on a chair. He was bent down and breathing deeply. He was concentrating so hard, you could almost see the thoughts running through his head. My husband was a former athlete, so I recognized this. He was “getting in the zone” and I was happy to see that he was taking this seriously. Go doctor, Go!

Things were staring to move very quickly. The nurses were talking to me, but I hardly noticed what they were saying. I only noticed that they had looks of sympathy on their faces. I even heard one say, “Poor thing” while she shook her head. I did not know if they were saying this because of how hard my legs were shaking, or because I had been waiting for my husband to arrive. I hoped they were not saying this because they knew that my baby was in trouble. I was now officially scared, and just wanted to have this baby.

Having a C-section is definitely not pretty. They lay you on the table, completely exposed for the world to see. I remember my husband’s face when he walked in and saw me lying on the table.  I was just lying there, basically nude and really shaking, while the anesthesiologist hooked me up. My husband tried to smile at me, but I could tell that he was a little worried too. They barely put up a barrier before the surgery started. I could see everything, but my actual belly. My husband could see everything that they were doing; he could even see them cut my stomach.  Things seemed to be rushed and the pain medicine had not really taken effect, because the surgery was pretty painful. My husband said that when the doctor made the cut and was reaching for the baby, there was a huge gush of fluid that shot up and out.  Then, immediately after the fluid, he saw a baby’s hand sticking out of my stomach. The doctor reached for the baby and then said, “Did you guys just see that?  That baby is trying to get away from me!” My baby was trying to wiggle away from the doctor.  I could feel all of this weird pressure and movement in my stomach and I just wanted it to stop. I kept thinking, “Just get the baby out – Please!”

Finally the doctor said, “I got her!” My husband smiled at me and said, “There she is!” “Is she OK? Is she OK?” I kept asking. I wanted to hear my baby scream, but there was a long pause followed by a tiny little cry. Very soon, a nurse took her to a table beside us. I could see four nurses surrounding her, but that was it. My doctor kept looking back over his shoulder at the table. He asked the nurse the baby’s gestational age and a few other questions. My baby made a few more sounds. The nurses brought her over so that I could kiss her head and they said they were taking her to the nursery.

They took me to recovery, and my husband was right beside me. I was exhausted from being up all night and worrying about the arrival of the baby (and my husband). The only thing separating the beds (in the recovery room) were long curtains. From the next bed over, all you could hear was crying and yelling. It sounded like a very young girl and she just kept screaming “It hurts!” Her mom was talking loudly into her cell phone and informing the family that her daughter and the baby were fine. Finally a nurse went over there and told the girl that she had to stop screaming. The nurse said, “Honey, you are just fine! The other women in here went through the same thing. You and your baby are fine! You really need to quiet down so people can rest!” Evidently the girls’ screaming was wearing on everyone, even the nurses.

I was in there for about an hour before the nurse told me that my daughter was stable, but  was in the neonatal intensive care unit. I had a feeling that something had been wrong, but it was horrible actually hearing those words. They said that she was currently doing well, but had turned blue and stopped breathing. They told me that when I was well enough to go to my room, they would wheel me through the NICU to see her. They told me I could leave recovery, only when I could move my legs and wiggle my toes. I tried so hard to move them. I kept asking my husband if they were moving, but it took a while. I kept telling him to leave me there and go check on our daughter, but he would not leave me. He kept telling me to focus on moving my legs. “You can do it”, he kept saying.

Finally I had some movement in my legs and toes. They left me on the bed and wheeled the entire thing out of recovery and onto an elevator. We finally reached the NICU and I got my first good look at my baby girl. She was hooked up to these tiny little electrodes and IV’s. Her monitor was making these awful noises and it was buzzing. The nurse said, “Don’t watch the monitor; only watch your baby!” I asked if she was OK and the nurse nodded. She wheeled us back out and told my husband how to get back down to the NICU since my room was not in the maternity area, but on a surgical floor. We got to my hospital room and my mom was waiting to hear the news, but I just burst into tears. The birth of our daughter did not go quite as planned, but we were still very lucky.  My little girl has been a fighter from the moment she was born and, it is obvious now that, she always will be!   P.S. Back Labor REALLY Sucks!

My Water Broke And I Did Not Know!

For K.  You asked for the story, and here it is!

My husband travels a lot and for long periods of time. I made him promise that he would not travel the last month of my pregnancy.  I was now almost a month from my due date and my husband was on his last trip before the baby was born.  I recently stopped working and had spent the last two weeks at home getting everything ready. I was sitting downstairs when my dad called. He said “I have been working at the beach and there is this new highway that I have wanted to try. It brings me very close to your house. I was thinking that I could pick you up.  You can stay with us until “big man” gets back in town.”  I am very close to my parents. I knew that my dad was worried about me being alone and that he was not interested in trying out a new highway. I knew it would be way out of his way, but I had been having a lot of contractions lately and honestly I would feel better being with family.   “If it is not too far out of your way – OK”, I said.

My dad picks me up and we drive the 2 1/2 hours to their house. I had been visiting my family a lot during my pregnancy. We moved to that city when I was three, and I lived there until the previous year when my husband took a new job.  He started his current job in December 2005 and I moved soon after.  I have a small family, but most of us lived in the same city and we are all very close.  After arriving at my parents’ house, I called and made plans for the following day.  I set up an appointment with my old doctor and made lunch plans with my grandmother.

I loved my old doctor. Growing up, I had terrible endometriosis and my doctor of 15 years, Dr. D, had taken great care of me.  He knew me, and also my mother, very well.  He was quick to find my mom’s tumor and perform her surgeries as well; he is a great doctor.  When I first found out that I was pregnant, I called him and set up the ultrasound.  Besides, I knew that I could not yet see a doctor (in the hospital) where I worked, because there were no secrets in my office.  I was not ready to tell anyone that I was pregnant and my staff would surely check the doctor notes online.  I saw Dr. D again when I was going to find out the sex of the baby.   My mom desperately wanted to see the ultrasound and I wanted his opinion on the health of my baby.  The majority of the time, I saw a doctor in the city where we currently lived.  The problem was that all of the doctors were affiliated with the same hospital.  The hospital is a teaching school which means that is full of residents.  Well, about a month ago, one of these genius residents missed a major problem that I was having and sent me out of there while still bleeding (a story for another day). So anyway, after their resident triage expert sent me home, seven months pregnant and bleeding, I called my old doctor.  My husband (who was leaving the next day for Brazil) drove me directly to Dr. D’s office, where he immediately diagnosed the problem.  I now find it ironic that during the drive, we said how we wished to have the baby with Dr. D.  Unfortunately, we knew that with my husband’s hectic schedule, we had to have the baby in the new place that we called home.

I had not been feeling great, so I was actually relieved to see my favorite doctor.  He checked me and said that I was only 2 centimeters and that the baby looked good.  He asked if I had any questions and I burst into tears. He then asked if I was ok and I said “I don’t know.  What do I do if I go into labor?  What do I do?  Where do I go?”  He opened the door and asked his nurse to get me a packet of stuff about the hospital.  He sat down and asked if my husband was traveling. I nodded. He then asked when he would be home.  I said that he will fly in late tomorrow and then come get me Friday night. He stood and pulled out his card.  He wrote his cell number on it and told me to call him if I had any problems. He patted my hand and said “I want to see you in a week.”  I paid my bill, but did not set up another appointment because I knew that I needed to go home.  I was not due for another month.  I could not stay here that long before having this baby.  I really wished I could have the baby here, but it just did not make sense!    I walked into the lobby where my mom and grandmother were waiting. They could tell that I had been crying and they followed me to the door saying “Are you OK, is everything OK?”   I said, “I just really hurt, but I am fine. I think I am just tired.”  They took me to lunch, but I could barely eat.

The next day I woke up feeling much better.  It was around 2:00 and I was just sitting on my parents’ sofa when my dad walked in.  His doctor told him to try and walk every day.  He said he preferred the air conditioned mall and asked if I wanted to come with him. I said sure, and thirty minutes later my dad was walking (and I was waddling) around the mall.  We stopped to look at a Halloween store because it was mid-October and my parents liked to have these crazy Halloween parties for their friends. We were looking at the bazaar costumes and decorations when my back really started to hurt.  The pain was so bad that I had to just stop and rub it. My dad asked if I was OK and I said that my back was Really hurting. He asked, “Do you want to go to the car?” and I said, “No. I’m sure it will stop.  I do need to pee though!”  I had spells of back pain over the last few months, so I was not overly concerned.  Well, the pain did not stop, but we finished he walk. He got in the Starbucks line to get himself a coffee and me an apple cider, and I had another feeling like I needed to pee.  I told him that I needed to run to the restroom and that I would be right back.  When I got into the restroom it REALLY felt like I needed to pee.  I tried to go, but just a couple drops came out.  I remember saying “That is weird”.  I left the restroom, found my dad, and we headed back to their house.

My mom had called earlier in the day and asked if the baby was still beating me up. My baby kicked me and my ribs to the point that I could barely breathe, but today she was very still. My very active baby was eerily still today and now that my pain was getting worse, I started worrying about her. I had just sipped on a sugar-filled Carmel Apple Cider and expected her to be moving a little.  Mom called again and I caught her up on my worries and my increasing pain. She said that she was leaving work and that we would go out to dinner.

Food was the last thing on my mind because, by this point, the pain was severe!  It was only in my back; it never reached my abdomen at all!  I had contractions the last three months of my pregnancy and had to spend a lot of time (after work) on my side with my feet up.  I had been hooked up to monitors multiple times now, because of the intensity of my contractions.   I knew very well how contractions felt, but this was not even close.  The pain was awful, and now it started to run down into my legs.  The pain was so bad that, when it hit, I would have to start pacing. I thought about back labor and tried to time the intervals between the pains, but I did not know if you would time it from when it hit my back or when it ran down my legs (or do you even count that at all). I read a lot of books about labor, but had never seen any mention of the pain running down into your legs before. My mom gets home and sees my state and gets concerned. They decided that I needed to eat. (What is it with parents trying you feed you during a crisis?)  She thought that since I had eaten very little the past two days, the baby and I would feel better after some nourishment.

We go to a near-by Chinese restaurant and place our order. I show them how when the pain leaves my back it runs into my legs. They stood and watched my legs and it looked like they were convulsing; it was a little horrifying. I leave the table to go try and pee.  I once again have the urge to pee, but only a couple drops come out.  For a few days now, I have been feeling a lot of pressure in my girly parts.  I started wondering if it is just the pressure that is making me think that I have to pee, when I really don’t.  I get back to the table and say that I think I need to call the doctor’s office.  I am fumbling with the phone while my legs tremble, so my mom takes the phone and calls for me.  She gets the triage nurse and starts to tell her what is going on.  My mom is speaking very loudly in the phone and I was starting to get a lot of looks.  These tables are pretty close together and my mom yells, “No!  Her water has not broken, but she is in serious pain and is shaking pretty hard!”  I look at the people beside us.  The man is staring at his egg drop soup and looking pretty disgusted.  His wife looked horrified, because her eyes were about to jump out of her head.  I gave them a little wave, then a quiet little “Sorry”.  We are told that the doctor will call us back.  Our food comes, but I can’t eat.  My parents are finishing their meals when the doctor phones and asks about the baby and her movement. She told me to go home, drink a coke and eat a candy bar, and she would call back in 20 minutes.

I followed her instructions, but still felt no baby. The only thing I felt was back pain. I told her about the pain in my back, my legs trembling uncontrollably, and the urge to pee but nothing would come out.  She said that “back pain, pressure, and peeing are not uncommon during pregnancy, but I am concerned that the baby is not moving.”  I called my husband and he said that his plane from New York had landed.  He said that he was heading to a dinner and then home.  I told him “something strange” was going on and that the doctors were sending me to the hospital to get checked out. I told him that I only had my wallet, not my phone, and for him to call my mom or dad’s cell.  I was very relieved that he was off of the plane and back in our state.  I felt better until I got in the back of my parents car and put my hands on my legs.  My legs would not stop shaking and I was starting to get scared.  We drove uptown to the hospital and found the labor and delivery floor. I told the nurses that I was due in a month and they took me to a triage area. One nurse said “We don’t have many rooms tonight. There is a full moon and women are having babies left and right!’

They put me in a room and I showed them my legs shaking.  She told me that the baby was probably in a weird position and putting pressure on a nerve or something in my back.  They got me a gown, hooked me up to a monitor, and walked out.  I looked at my mom and said, “Do you think I’m in labor?”  She said, “Well, your dad does!”  The nurse came back and looked at the monitor and said, “You are definitely having contractions!” I said, “This can take forever, right?  Can I go home now and just come back in the morning?”  She said, “Let me check to see if you water has broken.  I also need to get a urine specimen.”

I go in the bathroom and set the cup down. I was in a frog-like stance (trying to hold the gown and look under my big belly).  I squatted down to get the cup, when a little trickle of fluid came out.  I stood up, got the cup, squatted again and the same thing happened.  I said, “OK, I just peed on the floor or my water did break!”  I went back and told my mom that I think my water broke. “These tiny little trickles of fluid have been coming out today, but only when I try to pee.  I mean, they were just a couple drops!  I never wet my pants or soaked the floor!  It never even leaked out!  Isn’t that what happens when your water breaks?!”  My mom said “I always thought so!”  The nurse was gone for a long time and the pain was getting serious. My husband called and it was now 10:30 pm.  My mom said “We still don’t know anything, other than that she is having contractions”.  He sounded exhausted.  I told him to get some sleep and we would call him back.

The nurse finally came in and said that she put some of the fluid on a strip and it turned blue.  “What does that mean?” I asked.  She said, “Well Honey, it looks like your water has broken.”  I asked, “Am I definitely having this baby now, or can I go home?”  She said “You are definitely having this baby, and I can’t let you leave after your water breaks.”  I asked her why it never came out and she said that the baby’s head was so low that it was blocking the exit!  “Is that normal?  Is the baby OK?” I asked.  She told me “There is NO normal when it comes to child birth.”  I then told her that my husband was a few hours away.  I asked if he needed to come now, or if he could wait until the morning.  She said that she would talk to the doctor.

I now realized that my contractions started around 2:45 this afternoon, while my dad and I were standing in the Halloween store at the mall.  That is also when I felt all of the pressure and the sudden feeling that I needed to pee.  I was horrified that my child’s head was blocking the passage so that the fluid was not able to escape.  I asked my mom “Do you think all of that fluid is hurting her?”  My mom said “I just don’t know!”  I tried to stop worrying about the baby, and instead focus on how stupid I was!  I kept thinking, “I should have known! “ I should have known that my labor would be strange and that this would not go as planned!  After having so many contractions, in my abdomen, I just never considered that I would not have similar contractions when I went into labor.  I also never knew that my water could break and I would not know.

I seriously could not believe that I went into labor in a Halloween store in the mall.  I also could not believe that my water broke in that store, but just didn’t come out.  But, in this case, it was probably a good thing that I didn’t flood that particular store.  Customers would have thought I was trying out some weird costume or Halloween party trick, while employees would have thought they were being “Punked”.  But no, it was just an average day in my life; an average day in my very unpredictable life!  Now, I was left to wonder – will my husband actually make it to the birth of our child?  Yep – Just an average day!

My Daughter: 5 going on 15

It is the first week of summer for my five year old daughter.  This fall is a big deal because she will be starting kindergarten.  I have been very excited that she is growing up, well, until this morning.  She wakes up around 7:00 and yells over the balcony that she is coming down.  Thirty minutes later, (that’s right 30 minutes later!) she glides down the stairs in some fancy heart shirt and matching pink shorts.  She appears to be wearing eye shadow and, judging from my son’s gagging noises, she is wearing perfume as well.  And by the way mom, enough with the makeup already! Please don’t buy that stuff anymore – seriously!  I mean the eye shadow and perfume are bad enough, but the lip gloss is just sticky and messy.  Anyway, While my son is still holding his nose and asking “what is that disgusting smell?” my daughter says that she would like to have a waffle for breakfast and some paper to make a sign for her room.  It is still pretty early and the waffles are easy to make and a craft will keep her busy.  I say “OK with me!” and get to work making her breakfast. I forget about the sign as I hand her an organic blueberry waffle, on her favorite pink bunny plate.  As I walk away, she asks for a hammer and nail in order to hang up her sign.  I explain that dad will not be in favor of us nailing papers to her walls and/or door and suggest a piece of tape instead.  I hand her two pieces of tape and she runs up and puts the sign on her door.  Since most of her pictures are people, hearts and flowers, I was not concerned about the content of the sign.

While she was eating breakfast, I started upstairs to put away the kids’ laundry.  I am walking to my daughters’ room when I hear “Mom, what are you doing?”  I look over the balcony at my daughter and tell her that I am putting up laundry.  She then says “Don’t you see MY sign on MY door” and proceeds to clarify what it says.  “Mom, it says that NO people are allowed in my room.”  She tells me that no other person (in this house) is allowed in her room because it is HER room and HER space.  She slams down her waffle and says “I’m coming up!”  The conversation that followed was absurd.  “Mom, I don’t want you to mess my stuff up.  I just put my strawberry shortcake dolls where I want them!  I am a big girl now and know best about my room and my stuff!  You can’t touch or move my stuff, ever!”

I started out trying to reason with her.  I was honestly trying to be understanding of her feelings, but she started to push it.  I realized that this was getting nowhere and that I needed backup.  I told her we would ask dad how he felt about the family’s inability to ever again enter her room.  I left the sign on her door (for dad to see) and went downstairs listening as my five year old got more and more precocious.  “What happened to my little girl last night?” was running through my head.

My daughter went to bed a cute, giggling little five year old and she woke up a cranky, hormonal teenager.  What happened during those eleven hours of sleep?  I would love to know so that I can somehow prevent this from happening again.  I mean, as she is sitting at the kitchen table, you can literally see the estrogen radiating from her body as she yells that she “asked for milk, not orange juice!”  She then yells, “Why are you looking at me like that?”  At this point my mouth is just kind of hanging open, and my mind is another place.  I stood there toying with the idea that my little daughter was snatched away and a PMSing teenager was left in her place.

This is just not fair!  She is only 5 and was getting pretty neat.  She was past the toddler days, could use the bathroom, and even carry on a conversation.  She could not fix her own meals, but I thought we were making progress!  Now this!?!  She yells, cries, says that she needs her privacy, and that nobody understands (that part she has right).  Was it the hormones in her food?  I buy organic milk, chicken, fruits and vegetables.  Maybe the food companies are lying; I want a full investigation!  This has to be the fault of someone or something.  How can I find out if there is a full moon or some strange atmospheric disturbance?  Do they still make a Farmer’s Almanac?  I am just not ready for this!  I think I need some chocolate!

I will keep you updated on this new event in our lives.  Even though I am trying to convince myself that this is just a random surge of estrogen (possibly aggravated by a full moon or abrupt change in barometric pressure).  I am trying to make the best of this situation by hoping that it will better prepare me for the time when she actually hits puberty.  I am looking at this as a glimpse into my future, and it is not a pretty picture.  If she is already this moody, stubborn, and irrational at the age of five, I can only imagine how much worse it will be with the increase in hormones and intellect.  I am afraid that she will just be using bigger words as she argues over her privacy and my parental control.

In the mean time I will be doing research into links between irrational children and hormone-filled food.  I will ask for a full investigation into these companies and their claims about their organic and hormone-free foods but, let’s be honest, I also ask my kids to stop licking my arm (which they do just to get on my nerves) and it is currently their favorite pastime.  I somehow feel that I will get the same “yeah, sure we will” when I ask the companies for notarized copies of their “hormone-free testing results”.  I will also check to see if we can cover the house with aluminum foil to deflect, or at least reduce, the effects of the moon and atmosphere on estrogen-filled females, and lastly I will stock pile Hershey kisses (chocolate keeps me sane).  I will go to any lengths to prevent this nightmare from becoming a regular occurrence, at least for another ten years.

Milk Allergy: Big Problem For My Big Baby!

When our son was born, I waited with baited breath for his cry.  When my daughter was born, she barely cried.  There was a long delay and then there was only a muted little cry.  I just laid there, feeling very helpless, watching while the nurses surrounded her. I noticed my doctor kept looking over his shoulder at the nurses and I worried that something was wrong.  They took her out of the room and later told me that she turned blue and was in the NICU.  So when my son was born screaming, I was very thankful.  But, I was a little thrown when he continued to scream; it never stopped!

I mean my child didn’t cry, he screamed!  He had a high pitched scream that was so loud, you could hear it as they were bringing him from the nursery to be fed.  I could actually track him without seeing him.  I would hear the deafening cry as it got louder and louder, until it would finally reach my room.  Every single time the nurses brought him to me, he was screaming; and the nurses would bring him to my room every two hours. I could tell that they did not want to deal with it, or listen to it, in the nursery.

I was concerned that he was not getting enough to eat because he always seemed to be so upset and so hungry.  He almost seemed frantic when he would eat and he sucked so hard that tears just ran down my face from the pain.  I asked the nurse when my milk would be in and she said, “Honey, it’s already in. Look at how he is sucking and you can hear him swallowing too.”  Sure enough that was the case. I had C-sections with both kids, and with my first child, it took my milk around a week to come in. I was pumping like crazy so that they could take three drops of milk down to her in intensive care. My milk finally came in, but not as quickly as it did the second time.

My son ate all the time; it seemed like he never got enough.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep and worry over the intensity of his scream.  I kept telling my family that something was wrong with him. We were two months in and it only seemed to be getting worse.  My doctors were no help; they actually only made things worse by patronizing me.  I would come in and tell the nurse that he really would not stop screaming (or eating) and she would look at me and say, “Ok new mom, we will see what we can do”.  Then the doctor would tell me that “Babies just cry a lot”.  Seriously! Babies cry a lot!  Did you have to go to medical school to figure that out?!  I mean thank goodness you were able to solve this mystery.  And yes, I was a “new mom”, but to my second child.  I already had a little girl who was born a month early and had been in intensive care; I had enough experience to know when there was a problem.  Well, the doctors never offered any other explanation. They said that he could not possibly have a milk allergy, because he was too big!?!   All they did was make me feel even more hopeless.  I continued to research the screaming on the Internet and I found out about milk overproduction.  I looked down at my soaking wet shirt and pondered this.

Am I making too much milk?  Well, I do seem to be making more milk than last time.  My clothes are always wet. My bras are a mess.  Every time I get out of the shower, it pours out of me uncontrollably; I actually have to wrap them in towels until it stops. My husband would just stand there in absolute amazement as he watched me cover the bathroom floor with milk.  I remember him saying, “Wow, it looks like they are working better this time!”  I also remember how the little guy would pull away quickly and milk would spray across the room.  So, am I making a lot of milk?  Yes, I am making a lot of milk; I mean the stuff is spilling out of me like a prize-winning dairy cow.  I decided to focus on cutting back my milk supply so that it would not spray down his throat and choke him.  I hoped that this would help alleviate some of his pain.

I nursed on one side at a time to cut back the supply and it did seem to not shoot down his throat anymore.  It also helped with my constant leaking and dripping but, he just seemed to suck even harder now and still screamed when done eating.  I was a mess trying to figure out if he was now getting enough food or if he had some other problem.  At five months old, the doctors decided he should go to the hospital to be checked for reflux and GI problems.  I was very conflicted about the hospital tests, but reluctantly agreed.

The Barium swallow test was arranged and the hospital sent the instructions.  You are supposed to starve your baby so that they will be hungry and willing to drink the nasty stuff they feed him (Barium sulfate) through a bottle.  I still fed my baby very early that morning, because I just could not do that to my kid.  Anyway, we get to the hospital and they take us back to this stark room with a large metal table and various X-ray machines; the room was very cold and intimidating.  The big guy that took us back had no feeling for children, despite the stupid puppy dog scrubs he was wearing.  So, this guy takes us in the room and tells me to take the baby out of his clothes because there can be no metal snaps or zippers – a little fact that I would have loved to know before we showed up!!!  He takes my little naked baby and straps him down, with three large Velcro straps, to this metal table.  The straps held him like a mummy; the baby was now completely unable to move.  He then put something resembling a thin blanket on him.  I asked how long my baby was going to have to lay there and this dork says that he has not seen the doctor yet, but is going to go look for him now.  I looked at my screaming child. He was truly terrified about being strapped down and unable to move and I went into momma bear mode, protecting her cubs.  I proceeded to tell captain yahoo that my child was not going to lay around here scared and freezing while the doctor freshened his coffee and checked his email (I used to work at a hospital and I saw this way too often).  I told him that I was taking my baby off the table until he walked in with the doctor.  He asked for two minutes while he ran back to look for the doctor.  He was back fairly quickly and said that the doctor would be in soon.

After about five minutes, this kid wearing a lab coat walks in.  We were at the hospital very early in the morning.  In fact, we were the first appointment of the morning and I could not tell if this kid had just woken up, or had never gone to sleep, but he looked rough!  He does not even look me in the face, just says that they are going to be looking for signs of reflux and problems in my baby’s esophagus.  They give my baby some milky formula with properties that show up on the X-ray.  My baby laid there sucking on the formula and then would pull his head away to scream.  The big guy would shove the bottle back in my baby’s mouth and they did this until the doctor abruptly stopped.  The doctor then looked up and said that he could go further with the test, but does not see any signs of serious reflux or esophageal problems. He then stands up and says that he will go call my pediatrician, because she did not provide detailed information as to the areas to be checked or her major concerns.  Now, I was seriously irritated.  I mean, this is information that my pediatrician should have provided so that we do not have to endure this again.  But, the brilliant Doogie Howser should have gotten that information before he began this procedure (instead of screwing around back there texting his girlfriend). This is stuff that should be done when my cold, scared baby is not strapped to a metal table.  I looked at him and told him to “Go call my pediatrician and inform her that I said to stop the test.  Tell her that she did not provide the appropriate information and I am not going to make my child suffer any longer while you try to track her down.”  I knew that she currently only worked on Tuesday and Thursday and today was Wednesday.  This kid was not going to talk to her any time soon.  I went over and got my baby off of the table.  I gave him a big hug, got him dressed, and we high-tailed it out of there.

So here we are, back at home, with no answers.  My baby is still screaming, I am beyond exhausted, and desperately need to find a way to stop all of our suffering.  I kept searching the internet about food allergies.  I finally found one doctor who said that while most children with milk allergies are small and don’t gain weight, a few children with are very large and actually overeat, due to the fact that their tummies hurt.  He said that that he watched a baby continually try to nurse because the baby was in pain and wanted to be soothed.  Unfortunately, the nursing was contributing to the pain, so the baby was over eating, in pain, and miserable.  This was a description of my baby – he was huge, eating constantly and in pain.  My pediatrician said that if he continued to put weight on like this, he would be the size of an elephant.  I also saw the way he nursed.  He was usually not relaxed when he nursed.  He may be relaxed for a moment and then would groan and suck frantically.

I called and made an appointment with my pediatrician.  I took a dirty diaper with me so that they could analyze the diaper.  It seems that children with milk allergies also have blood in their poop and a simple test will verify the presence of blood.  My pediatrician already said, on numerous occasions, that she did not see any signs of a milk allergy so I was going to have to force the subject.  I get there and she says again that babies just cry and babies with milk allergies don’t gain weight, blah, blah, blah.  I ask her to just check the diaper to make me feel better.  She reluctantly agrees and passes it to a nurse to analyze.  Meanwhile, she is jabbering on about ways to try and soothe him when the nurse walks in and nods.  I must have looked confused because the nurse finally says, “It was positive for blood.”  My pediatrician was surprised, but said “Well, OK” and she went and got some information on infant milk allergies.  She said that he probably is allergic to both milk and soy and told me to start formula or cut all dairy and soy from my diet.

I decided to try and cut all dairy and soy from my diet and see what happened. It was not easy to do, but I did it.  Unfortunately I had to give up many things that I loved, yet again!  Had I not already given up alcohol for 9 months!  Now I had to give up lattes and milk chocolate and I was forced to survive on Rabbit Food!  Luckily, the baby did start to feel better.  His crying decreased, and he slept a little better, but you started to see signs of a very strong personality.  When my kid wanted something, he wanted it now!  It seemed the months of constant pain left my kid with a short fuse.  It was like the perfect storm – when you combine a very ticked baby with his fathers’ insanely determined genes (his father is a former Olympic athlete), you were left with one rough ride.

At the age of two, he can drink a little chocolate milk and eat a little white cheese, but he basically wants nothing to do with dairy products.  They don’t seem to make him physically sick anymore, but he really can’t stand the taste.  He is still a demanding little man (yet totally adorable) with an abundance of energy.  I am now starting to fear that I will be exhausted for the rest of my life.  Between my very active children and my insanely busy husband, it is like living with a family of Energizer bunnies – I am starting to think all that rabbit food may be to blame!

Not Another Squirrel!

A few weeks ago I actually witnessed an unbelievable sight.  The entire family was outside.  The kids played in the driveway while my husband and I stood looking up at a tree that had just lost a huge limb during a storm.  We were both standing close to the tree studying another limb that looked dangerous and badly damaged.  A squirrel had been moving around in tree, just doing what squirrels do, and then it happened!  It looked like the furry little thing went to jump to a lower limb, but missed!?  We stood there with open mouths, and watched the squirrel plummet to the ground.  It was falling feet first, but did a mid-air flip. The squirrel hit the ground with a thud and went completely still.  “I think it just committed suicide!” I said to my husband.  He walked toward it and I yelled “Don’t touch it!  It is probably just messing with us!”  My husband got close, while I backed away.   He then said, “I think it’s dead. Maybe it was sick.  It is covered with ticks and they are swollen; it is actually pretty disgusting!”

My kids figured out that something unusual was happening.  Possibly due to the fact that I was running down the hill covering my head (just in case more squirrels decided to dive bomb us).  I was also screaming “Gross!  That was so weird!  Eww!  That is so nasty!”  My daughter asked what was going on, and I said that dad was looking at a dead squirrel.  I told her that it was sick, and covered with bugs, and not to go near it.  “Did it just die?  What happened to it?” she asked.   My husband tells her that it fell out of the tree.  My daughter looked horrified and asked “What was wrong with it?”  My husband then replies “Well honey, the squirrel may have had cataracts, a tree nut allergy, or it just might have been very, very sad!”  My daughter now looked even more horrified and confused.  I gave my husband “the look”, let out a big sigh, and shook my head.  I took the kids in the house and as I closed the door, I could hear my husband outside laughing and saying “Babe, can you believe that?  “I have never seen anything like that; it was seriously unbelievable!  That thing just did a high dive right out of that tree.  I give him a 10, except for the landing!”  I shut the door and said “OH, dear!”  My daughter asked what was wrong.  I said “Nothing honey. I just think that daddy has been out in the heat a little too long!”  She nodded as if she understood.

Here we are, two weeks later.  My husband walks in covered in sweat and looking quite sticky.  He had been outside for some time.  I had already given the kids a bath and gotten them in bed.  It had been the world’s longest day, and I finally had a chance to sit down.  I sat on the bed and grabbed my iPad because I needed to return an email.  My husband was standing over me, grumbling about our latest squirrel saga; they completely backed up the gutters along the entire side of our house causing a pretty serious problem.   These relentless squirrels had climbed up inside the gutters, gotten under the gutter guards, and built a huge nest.  The gutter guys had been at the house today and the estimate to fix the problem was well over $1,000.   My husband was not happy!  He looked at me and asked if I had seen the trap. 

Evidently, while my husband was making our early coffee run, he ran by our local hardware store and bought some humane animal traps.  He said that he just wanted to catch the furry little bandits, and take them somewhere else.  He says that he sat the cage, or trap, near the gutter that they always enter.  He went on to tell me that he then took tortilla chips, spread them with peanut butter, covered them with chocolate Cheerios, and then put them in the cage.   

After letting this information soak in, I tell him that this all sounds completely ridiculous and like a huge waste of his time.  “What are you going to do with the squirrel when you catch it?” I ask.  “I am going to drive it up to the pool and let it go” he tells me.  “Aren’t they like dogs?  Don’t they come back?  And you are not taking them in my car. I don’t want some tick and flea infested rodents running around in my car!” I say, after recently seeing that tick-covered squirrel spiral to his death.  I then say, “I’m sorry; I’m tired.  But I honestly don’t think you will catch one anyway.”   “Guess what?” he says, “I already did!”

My husband has an interesting sense of humor, so I was trying to figure out if he was just messing with me.  “Are you serious?” I asked.  “I am dead serious!” he said.  And as if the entire conversation had not already been weird, it now gets weirder!  He then says “You should come look at the size of this thing; It’s huge!  It’s so big that it bent the large cage!  It is one big bull!”   “A bull?  I said.  “Yeah, it’s a male – a bull!” he answers.   I said “You are from California; you were a swimmer, a surfer, and a sunner.  Now you do math all day.  How do you know what male squirrels are called?  And how do you know it was a male for that matter?”  A question I now seriously regret asking as my husband replied, “Because I picked up  the cage and was staring right at it!  You can see his boy parts, and you should see the size of his “nads”, they are huge!  I then said, “Nads?  What are you talking about?”  He answered, “His Cojones; they are Enormous.  He must have to drag them up the tree!  Seriously, come look!” 

I looked at my husband and said “Honey, I am a little concerned that the work stress is getting to you.  I think the 16 hour days are just too much.  You have known me long enough to know that I would rather be poked repeatedly with a fork, than to go look at that squirrel.  In fact, a unicorn will fly out of my tushy before I go look at that squirrel or his family jewels!”  He finally started laughing and said “Yeah, OK; I’m tired anyway.  I’m just going to let the thing go.  Besides, anything with nads like that deserves to be free.  But if it builds a nest in our gutters again, I’m going to teach it to skydive without a parachute – just like his friend.”  I replied with “Whatever you say honey!  And oh by the way, I don’t ever want to see, or hear about, animal reproductive parts again– especially the boy ones.  That is just more than I need to know!” 

After he left, I wondered if other people had lives like this.  Are we the weirdest family in the world?  Do other people have experiences or conversations like these?  At least this conversation taught me a valuable lesson – to only ask my husband questions that I REALLY want the answers to.  Also, I will never look at squirrels the same way again; they are cute no more!  I think we are going to have to move back to the city – Yuck!

Mommy Look!

So we were in Starbucks (as we were almost every Saturday morning) but this Saturday was special because, on this day, my 3 year old daughter saw someone that she had never seen before.  She finally got to lay eyes on a figure that she had only before seen in books and the movie Peter Pan.

So the story begins very early on a cloudy Saturday morning.  My kids and I were looking for a table while my husband took place in the abnormally long line.  My daughter and I sat against the wall, and I sat the baby’s car seat in the chair across from me.  All of the comfy seats were already taken, so we were sitting directly across from the case filled with treats and we were easily within earshot of the people in line.  We had a view of the entire store and, as my daughter sat watching her dad in line, I noticed a bright green flash at the store’s entrance.  It was a very unusual sight.  A few people wearing cycling clothes were standing in the corner chatting and they all stopped as she entered.

She was obviously a newbie to sport of cycling, but boy was she prepared for today’s ride.  She was wearing a color that is hard to describe, because it actually glowed.   It was like an alien spacecraft had exploded and this blinding material was all that was left.  The color was neon green (we will just call it green with black accents) and she was wearing a lot of it.  I mean she had on the neon green and black shirt, the neon green and black bike shorts, and the neon green and black jacket.  This lady had the neon green and black tennis shoes, the neon green and black fanny pack, and even the matching water bottle.  Her hair was red, short, and very curly; it was so short that it stood up wildly all over her head.   Her black bandana, with neon green accents, smashed down the very front, and made the hair around the top and sides of her head stick out even more.  As she walked toward her friends, the crowd literally parted as people took in the neon spectacle.  Her cycling friends were also dressed to ride, but they were dressed much simpler and did not cause you to choke on your bagel.  It is hard to explain because the others also had on unique outfits.  They wore shirts of various color (even neon) and many had logos.  There was just something so different about this outfit.  I am still not sure if it was just that the color was so strange, or that it seemed a size too small as it clung for dear life to her enormous knockers (which were so smashed down that they stretched from her armpits to her belly button).  She walked with a swagger that shook her water bottle and something that I am pretty sure was a compass.  I did not understand the compass; I mean is it really possible to get lost while wearing the fashion equivalent to a strobe light.  This woman was totally and completely covered with glowing green and black.  I found myself wondering if she had somehow found neon green toilet paper and stashed it in her fanny pack.  Although most of us tried to look away, you just had to look again.   It was like a tractor beam was pulling you back to bask in a confusing neon haze.

I sat and watched as everyone stared at her and I tried to figure out if I had just encountered the world’s most confident woman or most naive.  Should I applaud her or feel guilty for staring.  I was concerned that she may have fallen prey to some slicked-back-haired, smooth talking, cycling salesman.  Or maybe she had a cold and accidentally took the drowsy nighttime medicine on the day of her clothing purchase.  These were good possibilities, but still did not explain why she put on the outfit this morning.  I forgave her for the hair standing straight up on her head.  I mean who hasn’t fallen victim to a bad hairstylist (although there really should be a state board somewhere tracking this guy down and permanently removing his scissors).  I was smiling at her and trying very hard to look approving.  After all, you could tell that she had not exercised in a while and decided to try something new and make a change for the better – good for her!  I sat there and hoped the others would come to similar conclusions and would stop staring and mumbling under their breath.

The attention kept coming her way, and not just because of the super cyclist/super hero outfit, but because she was a loud talker.  She suddenly started yelling “I’m here and I’m ready to do this!” while pumping her glowing arms up high in the air.  This is the point when my three year old spotted her and started saying “Mommy look! Mommy look!”  I looked straight ahead of me at the men standing in line, who were also listening to my daughter.  They threw me a smirk, as they looked back at the loud talking, loud walking lady.   I tried to distract my daughter by pointing to her dad, who was way down at the other end, waiting for our coffees.  The lady now announces, to the entire store, that she has to use the restroom and heads our way.  As she gets right in front of our table (which happens to be right at the center of the unusually long and slow line), my daughter stands up.  She actually stood up on the bench, stuck out her arm, pointed her finger at the woman and yelled “Look mommy, a pirate!  Aaaaarrrrrhhhhh!”

I looked up and the entire Starbucks line was completely doubled over.  Tears were running down faces, hands were on stomachs and a few even clapped.  My face was completely red.  I was trying to keep my composure as I looked over at her friends and mouthed the words “Sorry!  Those crazy kids!”  The good news was that the lady already had her back to us at the time of the comment.  I was hoping that she had missed it completely.  My husband walks over with the coffees.  Some guy, who could not stop laughing, steps over to us and says, “That was awesome!”  My husband looks at me and asks what is going on.  I tell him and he asks, “Did she really say Aaaaarrrrhhhhh?”  A completely different man answered for me.  “Oh yeah” he said, as he wiped a tear off of his face.  My daughter then looks at my husband and says “Oh daddy, I’ve never met a pirate before!”  I was trying to decide if we should just leave, but we stayed and had our coffee and sandwiches. 

The lady seemed OK as she exited the restroom.  She still looked happy and excited, so I assumed that she somehow missed the whole thing.  I only looked at her again when she was outside the store.  I could now see that her hair, forced down by the bandana, actually was in the shape of a pirate hat, the water bottle on her hip was similar to a looking glass, and the compass goes without saying.  The outfit was so bizarre that my daughter decided it could only be worn by a very select few.  Lady neon actually did kind of look like a pirate!

It was a horribly embarrassing morning for me, but for my daughter, it was the best morning ever!  She spoke of this morning for months.  She told people about the morning that she met a pirate (a neon green pirate at Starbucks).  That is the great thing about kids; you just never know what exciting adventures lie ahead, even on what started out to be a gloomy, mundane Saturday morning.

Barfed On In A Mexican Restaurant

My little boy had not been feeling well for a couple days.  He had an ear infection and a fever and had been on antibiotics for three days.  Anyway, we had been housebound for two days due to an ice storm.  Now, the roads were finally clear and we wanted to go out to dinner.  There is a small Mexican restaurant that is pretty close to neighborhood.  We figured it would be open and we would not have to spend too much time on the roads.

We arrived at the restaurant and got out of the car.  My two year old was dragging his feet and barely moving.  It was pretty chilly, so I bent down and picked him up so we could get inside quickly.  Once inside, the hostess walked us to a booth.  My daughter slide in the booth while I waited for a high chair for the little man.  My husband was standing beside me and we both heard a very wet burp.  We both shot each other a weird look and then I felt something hit my neck and chest.  I was still standing up, holding my son and he was throwing up down my v-neck shirt.  I was in absolute shock as I looked at the hostess who handed me a bunch of napkins.  I apologized to the hostess and looked at my husband and frantically said that we had to go.  My husband told me to run to the bathroom and they would wait for us outside.

I ran toward the bathroom and he got me again.  I was still holding him tight and he, once again, aimed right down my shirt.  I was covered in vomit and was almost to the bathroom when he got me the third time.  The vomit was now all over my jacket, my shirt, and my chest.  My bra was full of puke and it was now running down,  across my belly button, and into the top of my jeans.  I could just feel the hot vomit running down my body as I grabbed paper towels and tried to wipe my clothes off.  I was standing there hot, wet, and completely grossed out, just trying to wrap my head around had had just happened.  This was like some bad college flashback; this was like the worlds worst date!  Anyway, the puke was just soaking in to my pretty purple fleece, so I just wiped off my sons poor little face and left the bathroom.  I was looking for a back door so that I did not have to walk back into the main dining room covered in barf.  I mean nothing makes you want to eat a big old plate of refried beans like a mother and son covered in chocolately milk vomit.  Someone helped me open a back door and I ran out to the car.

We were close to the house and nobody was on the road, so I just got in the front seat  holding the puker on my lap.  My husband took off the little guys jacket and put the seat belt across us both.  My little man was eerily still as he sat on me with his head on my shoulder.  My husband had the defroster on and the entire car started to smell like spoiled milk and hot vomit.  I told him to turn it off so that the baby does not blow again.  We were almost home and my daughter started saying “It smells so bad!  I’m starting to feel sick!”  I told my husband to “step on it!”

We pulled in the garage and my husband put the door down while I stripped.  I had to take off every single article of clothing.  I  had baby barf in everything from my panties and bra to my Ferragamo loafers.  My hubby took off the little man’s clothes and the baby and I took a naked walk through the house, all the way to my shower.  I scrubbed the vomit off of myself and washed it out of my hair while the baby played with the hand held shower head.  He sprayed everything he could find and made a terrible mess, but I was so focused on getting clean that I did not care.  I finally washed his hair and my husband walked in to tell me that he was taking our daughter to pick up some Italian food.  He helped me dry off the baby while I got dressed.  I decided to keep him up since it was still early and I wanted to see if he was going to blow again.  My son was still sleeping in his crib.  It is a solid wood crib that weighs over 250 pounds.  The crib is hard to move and has very tall, curved sides which are hard to clean, so I decided to put up the air bed for us to sleep on.  I brought up the portable DVD player and put on a movie trying to keep him still whiled I made stacks of clean sheets, towels, pj’s, and pillows – just in case.  I finally got a chance to stop moving and I sat on the air bed watching my little man.  I could barely believe how much had just happened in the last hour and twenty minutes.  I was sitting there hungry (because I never got dinner), tired, and wondering if other mom’s had ever been barfed on in a Mexican restaurant.  At this moment, I was only sure of one thing – Parenthood is No Fiesta!    I really wanted a margarita!