The Frankenbaby Chronicles

Two girls, three cats, some frozen sperm, a doctor's office, and a big dream.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Normal for a Moment

This morning I woke up with the baby and held her to my chest, as she was waking up but not fussing with hunger yet. My shirt was wet on the right side. My right boob was leaking through my shirt! I moved the baby and checked the boob, and it was even kind of hard and felt a little full! and less squishy! For a moment, I felt like a normal nursing mama with actual milk to feed my baby. (At least on one side. The left side is dead.)

And then it hit me that I hadn't nursed the baby since 12:30am. That was an eight hour break. It took EIGHT HOURS for me to have enough milk to dribble a couple of drops.

I hate having broken boobs.

Baby Juggling

We are having a difficult time with Baby Juggling - you know, the age-old art of who does what and when.

I think part of the difficulty is that my life is completely and thoroughly different than it was before baby. I don't go to work; instead, I stay home with our beautiful baby. And that is totally wonderful. But it also means: I don't usually get to take a shower, I may or may not get to some of the chores I used to do during the day (dishes, laundry), I can't always wash my hands after a diaper change and sometimes have to juggle baby and antibacterial goo, I get very little computer time, I "watch" too much television (it's on for noise), I don't get to eat at any regular time, and I can't always go to the bathroom when I have to. My life has been completely taken over by this little person who at least right now hates EVERY sling/carrier we have and doesn't like the contraptions (seat, swing) either. She just wants to be held by her mama.

Jen, however, is business-as-usual for 9 or so hours a day. She gets up, takes a shower, packs a lunch, and goes to work. Same job, same commute, same quiet no-baby time, five days a week. And while I am sure she misses our baby, she has 9 or so hours to NOT be in The Baby Zone. It's just another day.

When she comes home, she kisses the baby but then seems to want to continue the typical day - watch some television, check some e-mail, read some internets, etc. While I am /starving/ for a little no-baby time by 5pm... or at least a shower.

Jen has been really awesome at doing things for the baby: feeding her bottles, changing her diapers, changing her clothes. No problems there. But she hasn't really ever had to do them WITHOUT me in the house. She can change a diaper and say, "Can you take the baby while I wash my hands?" She can feed the baby and then say, "Can you hold the baby while I go to the bathroom?" She can not get a good burp out of the baby and ask for assistance. She can give me the baby and go and cook dinner (which I appreciate, it's my one guaranteed meal) without a screaming baby, without trying to do it one-handed, and without having to scrap it all in the middle if there is a meltdown. I don't know if she truly understands what all day with a baby looks like, and because of that, I wonder sometimes if she thinks my requests for baby-free time are selfish.

Recently I made a comment about how I wish she would do more baby stuff when she got home, since I did baby all day, and her answer was, "I thought we were a team." And we are, but I see if differently. She sees the situation as this: during the day, she goes to work and I do baby; then when she comes home, we become two people who do baby. I see the situation as this: during the day, I do baby and she does baby-free; then when she comes home, I'd like to become a person who gets a chunk of baby-free time to actually /breathe/. But apparently my wanting to foist the baby on her for the bulk of the evening makes me not a team player. I don't know how to get out of this conundrum.

We've also run into troubles with night time. I appreciate that Jen needs to go to work and therefore needs sleep at night to be able to function. But I also "go to work" all day and also need sleep at night to function, but sometimes it seems like my sleep is somehow less vital than her sleep. I was doing all of the baby wake ups and then would wake Jen up sometimes to help... which is kind of an issue in itself. I was becoming incredibly resentful of her long stretches of sleep (right now four hours seems like a long stretch!) even while she was saying she was tired.

So we are trying to come up with a plan. Our previous plan was: baby wakes up, I wake up with the baby, nurse the baby, change the baby, sometimes ask Jen to do the follow-up bottle (as I don't make enough milk to actually satisfy the baby, maybe half an ounce) or sometimes do it myself. It was an hour-long process every 3 hours or so. New plan: Jen goes to bed at 10, I do the midnight-ish (anywhere from 11pm to 1am) feeding with nursing and bottle and then go to bed, Jen gets up for the middle of the night feeding and offers a bottle while I sleep and do not nurse (I feel so guilty about this but I am dying), Jen gets up for work, I do the early morning feeding and get up for the day with the baby. We'll see if it works.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

That Day No Parents Should Ever Have

An abridged version:

4:30 AM - I am sleeping. I awake to a thud, and then wailing. The baby had been asleep on Jen on the bed, and somehow fell off. Onto the floor. It was the most sickening sound I have ever heard.

4:45 AM - On call nurse for pediatrician's office says to take the baby to the ER.

5:30 AM - All checked into the ER. Eventually ER doc comes in and examines the baby, says she looks good but wants to do a CT Scan.

6:50 AM - I nurse the baby to sleep and then she gets a CT Scan.

7:30 AM - Pediatrician for hospital comes in, examines baby, says she looks good and is awaiting results of CT Scan.

8:30 AM - Pediatrician comes back and says that preliminary CT Scan results are normal and she is waiting for the final report, which should take about 15 minutes.

9:45 AM - Still no word from the pediatrician. Two nurses come in to weigh the baby and do vital signs. The crappy nurse says, "The doctor has been in to talk to you about moving to [hospital in another town that has pediatric specialty and ICU]?" We blink and say, "No. She said we would only be moved if they found something." She says, "The pediatrician talked to you about the contusion?" Umm, what?

10:00 AM - Pediatrician returns and I snap, "Some nurse said there is bleeding on the CT Scan." She says yes, a second specialist looked at the CT Scan and saw a small area of bleeding, so they are transferring her to the other hospital for 24-hour (or longer) observation in the PICU and a repeat CT Scan. At this point we start crying. Our baby's brain is bleeding. Our beautiful baby who fell off the bed with a loud thump in the middle of the night.

11:00 AM - After my first ever ambulance ride (I accompanied the baby), we arrive at the big hospital and check into the PICU, where everyone is chipper and friendly and shake my hand while they begin hooking my baby up to machines. At this point I realize that I am someone's /parent/. And I have to tell the sick story over and over.

11:15 AM - After terrorizing my baby with wires and exams, the nice team of doctors tell me that her exam looks normal and wonderful and she will likely be observed for 24 hours and have a repeat CT Scan, but that I can stay with her and order food on her tab since I am nursing. A very nice nurse says lots of very nice things.

11:30 AM - Jen and my mother (who of course is visiting through this whole fiasco) arrive - Jen stopped at home to pick up some stuff for us and also brought my mother. Nice Nurse talks to them and explains everything. The medical team is going to take the CD of the CT Scan and show it to a whole gang of specialists and they will report back. My mom leaves to get us some lunch and water, since we'd had neither since the night before.

1:30 PM - I am getting impatient and ask the Nice Nurse when the team is going to look at my baby's scan. In the last two hours we have listened to a scared little girl get lots of dressings changed from a severe burn due to hot soup. Poor little thing. Nice Nurse says the team went down to the neurology unit to look at the scan and should be back soon.

2:00 PM - The head doctor assigned to our baby comes up and looks quite sheepish and apologetic, and says that the Pediatric Neuroradiologist and the Pediatric Neurosurgeon have examined our CT Scan carefully and have determined that the previous doctors were mistaken, that there was no bleeding, just large blood vessels which are common in newborn scans but not in adult scans. The head doctor assures us that they went over and over the scan and wouldn't tell us this if there was a chance of bleeding (too much liability). She says that we are welcome to stay for observation but she has no medical reason (negative scan and normal exams) to keep the baby. We opt to take the baby home.

3:00 PM - Our discharge papers are signed and handed over with big apologies and the instruction to give the baby Tylenol if she seems to be in pain. I nurse the baby, we pack her up and take her home.

4:00 PM - We arrive at home after the most gutwrenching 12 hours of our lives. We proceed to watch the baby like a hawk for the next several hours, paranoid that the specialists made a mistake even though we knew rationally that they wouldn't have let us go home if there was even a chance of bleeding.


Being a parent is HARD. I thought I was going to die when I heard the baby hit the floor. I can't even imagine how Jen felt, but my heart broke when she asked me, in the ER, if I hated her.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Here is something new.

Yesterday was a day in hell that I wouldn't wish upon anyone and I am not sure if I will write about it or if Jude will...

So I wanted to just remind myself and everyone about the incredible woman I married and the baby we brought into this world together and leave you with this....

Mama & Child

There are more pictures at my account if you are a contact.

I love my wife and child more than words can even begin to describe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Truest T-Shirt Ever

sleepy girl

Guess what? Jen and the baby are asleep on the couch AGAIN.
You would think that JEN got up in the middle of the night with the baby, the way she's so tired.
(You would be wrong.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


These two can totally sleep anywhere. Whenever they are together it looks like this:

chillin' with mommy

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

From the Other Mother

So I wrote out my perspective of August's birth and it can be found here:

Monday, July 16, 2007

The reality of pregnancy:

Where our baby lived and grew for many months -

amniotic sac

How our baby thrived and survived -


Our midwife said August's placenta was small and her cord was thin. I wonder if that's why she was small. I hope it doesn't have any ramifications.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

August's Birth Story

(This is for you, Lynn!)

August's very long and incredibly drawn out birth story can be found HERE. Hopefully at some point Jen will want to add her own little tidbits to the mix. I'm sure it was an interesting experience on her end, too.

All in all, labor and birth are AMAZING processes, and I can't believe it all happened to me. The human body is truly an amazing machine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Where have we been?

So we've been absent from the internet. In fact, this is the first time I've checked my computer in about three days. I wish it was just because we're in the giddy throes of new parenthood, but we're in Weight and Milk Supply Hell. At four days old, our daughter was listless, dehydrated, and down 10% of her birthweight. We gave it another day and she got down to 13% less than birth weight. She was 5lb 13oz and the pediatrician said that we HAD to supplement with formula, that she was getting more dehydrated - she was not pooping and peeing. I cried.

We started with supplementing small amounts of formula at the breast after nursing. We didn't know how much to give her, but it wasn't enough. She was still hungry and listless. She wanted to sleep all the time and it took 45 minutes to rouse her to eat. We learned that we would need to supplement more, so our supplementing system (a 3cc syringe attached to a tube we could slip in her mouth when she nursed) wasn't going to work for us. We bought a Supplemental Nursing System, a weird gadget that is essentially a bottle you wear around your neck that has two teeny little tubes that you tape to your boobs. Theoretically you latch the baby on to your nipple and the little teeny tube slips in. Theoretically.

What REALLY happens is that you end up either getting the baby latched on nicely with the tube hanging off to the side somewhere, or you manage to stuff the tube in the baby's mouth and her latch sucks. And the whole time, you're cursing the thing, you're trying to latch on 100 times, you're screaming, the baby's screaming... fun times.

And in the process of all of this craziness, we have been to appointments up the wazoo. We've gone for weight checks on July 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, the hospital for bilirubin checks on July 6 and 7, a local breastfeeding clinic on July 10, the breastfeeding support group at the pediatrician's office on July 11 (with some time with the pedi as well), a DAY OFF today, and we go in for another weight check tomorrow.

The weight checks were coming up as office visits, and after paying copays for six days straight, I had to tell the pediatrician that we were having financial issues with the copays. That was fun.

So we've had to re-evaluate. We weren't sleeping. We weren't eating regularly. We were spending all of our time trying to wake the baby every two hours to eat, struggling to rouse her, trying to nurse, getting frustrated, finding a long, drawn-out way to supplement her formula, helping her calm down and fall asleep, and doing it all again. We had to re-prioritize. Were we fighting to increase my milk supply for her, or for me? We had to decide what was our number one goal, and that goal was to get the baby to gain weight and get stronger. Milk supply is secondary at this point, though we do want to preserve our nursing relationship.

I never thought I would have a bottle-fed formula baby... but hey, I guess that's how parenting is, right?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's a GIRL!

At 1:15 Pm on Sunday, July 1st, 2007, our daughter, August Ruth was born.
We are all home from the hospital, exhausted and ecstatic....

Thank you all for taking this journey with us and we look forward to the start of the next part of our lives....

Here, she is, the love of our lives....


I am such a goner!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Full Moon Madness!

Today was supposed to be the start of my big "special couple time all the time" weekend. Of course, it didn't happen that way. We spent most of the morning arguing and I spent a good chunk of the day crying. Then eventually we went to see Sicko, got some dinner at the Mediterranean place, and stopped at the pastry shop. (I had a chocolate covered cannoli. Mmm.)

We heard the town fireworks and watched a little television, then headed into bed. The plan was to resurrect the weekend tomorrow with a full day of plans: church in the morning, an afternoon at the park complete with pedal boat and mini golf, and then dinner at a friend's place.

Instead, my water broke completely unexpectedly around 11:10pm. Sploosh! And continued to gush. And gush. It was pretty freaky and funny. I called my midwife and she told me to try to get some rest before the contractions came.

But first we had to set up the cosleeper. And then Jen took a shower. And then I couldn't sleep. And then I started getting contractions.

Jen is snoring soundly in the other room and I am so tired and jealous that I just want to cry! At least ONE of us is sleeping, right? Right?

Ugh. But it looks like we'll have a baby soon!