I absolutely cannot believe how quickly the time is flying. It feels like just yesterday I was still pregnant, and here we are, three weeks into my beautiful baby girl’s life. Three weeks ago today, Gwen came into our lives in a much more tangible way than she was previously. That little girl has turned our lives COMPLETELY upside down … and we couldn’t be happier!
My apologies to those eagerly awaiting updates … the first week of Gwen’s life was the wildest ride I’ve ever been on! We met some pretty major obstacles, which I’ll outline below:
Thursday, June 12 – Birth day!!! Gwen weighs 5 lbs 15 oz. Brad has a pretty bad cold and I am quite tired, having laboured all night.
Friday, June 13 – As per the advice of the midwives, we are waking a very lethargic Gwen every 2 hours to feed. Both of us are exhausted.
Saturday, June 14 – Brad and I are concerned about Gwen’s output … it has been over 6 hours and she hasn’t had a wet or soiled diaper. We page our midwife, who comes to see her in the afternoon. She has, at this point, lost 10% of her body weight and is down to 5 lb 5 oz. After 10%, midwives are required to consult with a pediatrician, who would most likely have admitted Gwen to hospital, so to avoid this, our midwife counsels us to continue waking her every 2 hours – to feed (sucking vigorously) for 20 minutes on one side, pump the other side for 20 minutes and top up with 0.5 oz (15 mL) of formula. She needs milk, and mine just isn’t in yet. I feel like a complete failure – like I can’t provide for my baby. A bit of a low point, for sure … and yet, we are sticking with it! I am terrified I won’t be able to breastfeed. We have a decent – although exhausting – night … Gwen is SUPER hard to wake up for feeding.
Sunday, June 15 – Midwife comes to weigh Gwen – 5 lbs, 8 oz! The plan is working! We are advised to continue with the plan until my milk comes in. We have a HORRIBLE night – the formula is giving Gwen really bad gas pain and she is inconsolable.
Monday, June 16 – Milk has arrived!!! We can now hear Gwen gulping and swallowing tonnes of milk at each feeding, and I am pumping at least 5 mL (occasionally upwards of 10 mL) at each feeding to help with the top-ups. We call the midwife and tell her that I have milk and we don’t think we need to top her up as much. She says we can increase the time between feeds to 2.5 – 2.75 hours and give her unrestricted access to the breast. We can use our discretion for 5 – 10 mL of top-up every other feed, pumping 5 minutes on the second side if she doesn’t take both. We are generally topping her up with my pumped milk – much better for her tummy! This night Gwen feeds constantly … we figure out the next day that she was likely comfort sucking. Brad and I get two hours of sleep heading into Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 17 – I wake up to find a massive, reddened, painful lump behind my knee. I page the midwife, who comes over with their student to assess me. They confirm it is a blood clot (5 cm x 3 cm – the largest my midwife had ever seen), which I had about a million risk factors for developing. The good news of the day is that Gwen’s weight is up to 5 lbs 13 oz and we can now let her go 3 hours between feeds and get rid of the top-ups! The midwives arrange for an ER visit to make sure the clot is superficial instead of deep – deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be fatal and would require a 3 – 4 day hospital stay for treatment. Compression ultrasound later that afternoon confirms the clot is superficial. Rest, elevation, heat, and ibuprofen to treat it. My mom comes to stay the night as Brad and I feel incapable of managing by ourselves. Gwen’s cord falls off at the hospital =)
Wednesday, June 18 – Although we still feel like zombies, we feel much better after a fairly decent sleep, thanks to my mom for taking Gwen during her fussy time and helping me through the night. I am beginning to feel slightly human again.
Thursday, June 19 – In the wee hours of the morning, after only two hours of sleep, I find another clot – this time in my groin. My mom and I head to the ER at 5:30 am and wait around until 9:00 am for another compression ultrasound to verify that this one, too, is superficial. It is confirmed and we are given instructions to make a follow-up appointment with my family doc and not to come back in if we can feel and see the clot, since that means it’s superficial. We wish that the first doctor had told us this on Tuesday so as to save us from coming in. Am back in the realm of the living dead. Gwen is a week old and I feel like I have cried for almost the whole week.
Friday, June 20 – Midwife comes to weigh Gwen – 6 lbs 8 oz! Nine ounces past her birth weight! My skinny minny is chunking up and getting bigger. The midwife says we don’t have to wake her up to eat anymore and to follow her cues. My mom goes home today.
Saturday, June 21 – Our first day really on our own with no issues! Brad and I are feeling pretty good about things.
So that about says it all! I’ve pretty much typed up my birth story, but I’m waiting for my appointment on Monday to get the records from the labour/birth so I can verify some details before posting it – I keep forgetting to ask for those records! I’ll probably type up a second version, too, for those of you who don’t want the detailed one =)
We’re feeling much better now and settling into as much of a quasi-routine as you can get with a 3-week old. Becoming a mom has been an amazing experience … and I am floored again and again by the overwhelming love I feel for this tiny creature.