Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bright ideas

I mentioned in my last post how we were watching a little too much TV during the day. So I decided today would be the day we started getting out again. I took Jack and Lily to the big mall by our house to do some shopping and then we met Luke for lunch. Afterwards we came home and instead of watching one of Jacks TV shows, we bundled up and went out searching for rocks. Jack brought his pail and we gathered several nice looking rocks as well as some leaves. After we were tired of walking we came back home and I had the bright idea of turning the rocks into a fun craft. I filled a bowl with soapy water and gave it to Jack with a sponge so he could clean his rocks. At first everything was going good and Jack was thoroughly entertained so I decided to tackle some chores. I was cleaning for about 5 minutes when I looked over and saw this:

Apparently Jack got bored of cleaning the rocks and decided to play with the bubble water instead. Since it was just bubble water (and Jack was still thoroughly entertained) I decided to let him continue on while   I nursed Lily. I was sitting on the couch feeding Lily when I saw Jack (accidentally) tip the entire bowl of water on the floor

 And then he thought it would be fun to slide around it

After cleaning up the huge water mess I had the bright idea to continue with the craft and I let Jack paint his rocks. All was going good and I decided to resume my chores ...
 I was sweeping in the bedroom when I glanced over at Jack and saw (to my horror) that he was flinging paint all over the floor. The entire floor was covered in big and small paint splashes.
After trying to clean the spots off the floor, all the while holding a crying, hungry Lily I had the bright idea to let Jack clean up his own mess:
Then we went in my room and relaxed in the bed watching a movie. So much for no TV today.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have some more bright ideas... 

Monday, October 24, 2011

The first two weeks

Adjusting to life with two kids has been pretty smooth thus far. After Lily was born I stayed 2 nights in the hospital and came home Tuesday. Then Luke was off of work until Friday so he was able to take Jack out during the day so I could rest. 

Luke and Jack visited the Papiliorama while I was recovering
Here is Jack as a butterfly

Jack with a caterpillar and a huge bandaid after
he ran head first into the corner of a cement wall
The process of adapting to life with two has been rather smooth because Lily is a great sleeper!
Sleepy baby
And Jack LOVES having a baby around. He would be in her face all day if we would let him. He always wants to be the one holding her or consoling her when she cries.
Good big brother

Sleepy faces

More sleepy faces
During the day I was letting Lily nap in the living room with us, but she is so sensitive to noises that every little sound would make her jump. Sometimes I have to have her nap in the room so we don't keep waking her up.
Lily startles at the slightest noises.
Eventually she just settles to sleep in
this "startled" position.
We've made it out of the house several times but always with Luke to help. I haven't braved a trip out by myself yet so we've been trying to keep busy at home. We've done a lot of resting, reading, and probably too much TV watching...oh well, a couple weeks of TV shouldn't kill us...
Jack resting with Lily

Can't get enough sleeping baby pictures

Beautiful little girl

Love them so much!

Tummy time

It's amazing how different they are!

Relaxing with dad
Lily has been great at night. She usually goes to bed around midnight and will sleep until 4 or 6am. It has been great! I am getting more sleep now then when I was pregnant. I am so thankful to have a baby who sleeps. Jack only slept 1-2 hours at a time for the first 6 months or so and it was exhausting. Not only does Lily sleep for 4-6 hours at a stretch (at night) but she also sleeps in her co-sleeper. Jack would only sleep in bed with us and I never slept well because I was always worried about him getting smothered or caught in the blankets. But Lily is happy to sleep in her co-sleeper which is awesome!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Swiss Birthing Experience

Having given birth in both the U.S. and in Switzerland I can compare the pros and cons of each. I think overall I prefer the Swiss way of giving birth and other than the shared postpartum rooms (more on that later) I loved the way everything was done.

First of all the birthing rooms were awesome. Not only were they huge, but they were centered around a natural birth experience. I had everything I could have wanted from a tub, to a birthing ball, to midwives who practiced massage and acupuncture. I was also able to eat and drink all throughout my labor (unlike in the U.S. where I had to endure 16 hours of labor with Jack with no food or drinks). Also, I did not have to wear a hospital gown. I always hate the gowns that you have to wear in U.S. hospitals and expected to have to wear one here. But no one even asked me to change out of my clothes... Lily was born while I was still wearing the same dress that I showed up in.

The tub where Lily was almost born
Luke relaxing in the birthing room
As soon as Lily was born she was placed on my chest. No one ever tried to take her from me. When Jack was born I got to hold him for a few minutes and then they took him, weighed him, washed him, clothed him and then gave him to me screaming. This time they gave me Lily (slippery, slimy and all) and then left us alone for a couple of hours. Other than a few short cries when she popped out, Lily didn't cry at all during her first several hours of life. No one weighed her, washed her or took her from me. In fact they told me that they don't typically wash newborns for a while and instead they told me to rub the slippery white stuff into her skin as a type of lotion. After we had a couple hours to bond, they finally took her to get her weight and measurements and then they gave her right back.

After that I was brought up to the postpartum room. Typically you share a room with several (4 or more) women and their babies. I paid extra to have a semi-private room (2 people) but thankfully since I was the only one giving birth that day I had the room to myself. The postpartum rooms were really small and I can't imagine having to share it. This was the only part of the Swiss experience that I didn't like. In the U.S., private rooms are becoming standard and I was shocked to find that most people here have to share a room with several people or pay big bucks for a semi-private or private room. In fact I did not even have a bathroom in my room, it was down the hall and had to be shared by 4 people.
Jack in my bed

Just a few feet from me was the other bed. We also had
a sink (but no toilet) in our room)

Luke, Jack and Lily in my bed

I only stayed 2 nights at the hospital (5 is typical) but the two nights I stayed were very nice. In the US the nurses came into my room every few hours to check on me and Jack. Here, no one bothered us. If I needed a nurse I would have to call for her. Otherwise, I was left alone and it was great!

Lily finally had her first bath 36 hours after she was born. Jack's first bath was a terrible experience where the nurses were rough with him and he was screaming. Lily's first bath was great, they put her in a tub of water and she never even cried.
Lily enjoying her first bath

In the US it is a big "no no" to wash a baby
who still has their umbilical cord stump like this.
Jack had to endure several days of sponge baths
until his stump fell off. Lily has been able to take
normal baths right from the start

The bed they had for Lily was really comfy. Jack had a mattress pad and a fitted sheet and that was it. Lily had a mini-boppy to lay on as well as a nice comforter. I guess they are not as paranoid about babies sleeping spaces here.
Lily's bed

She sure looks comfy with her pillow and comforter.
You would never see this in the U.S. 

Such a good sleeper
The hospital also gave us a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate the birth.
Not only did they give me champagne,
but also gave me the green light to drink
beer and wine while breastfeeding.
(in reasonable amounts)
Lily's first visit with her pediatrician is not until 6 weeks, so until then Swiss insurance pays for a midwife to come visit me at home up to 8 times. Whenever I have questions or concerns I call the midwife and she comes usually once a week to weigh the baby and check for any problems.

I would have to say that the birthing experience here was very peaceful. When Jack was born I felt very stressed at the hospital. From the moment I got there until the moment I left the nurses and doctors were bugging me and then even when I went home I had so many "rules" about where baby should sleep, how often he should eat, etc that it was a very stressful experience. Everything about Lily's birth was very peaceful. The doctors and nurses left us alone for the most part and then didn't give me a list of rules for how to deal with a newborn. In fact they encouraged me to let her sleep in my bed if I wanted, encouraged me to let her sleep as long as she wanted as long as she keeps gaining weight, and trusted me to know how to deal with my baby. And, in fact, Lily is a very peaceful baby... hard to say if she would be such an easy baby if she had been born in a U.S. hospital. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lily's birth story

At 15 days overdue I went into the hospital to be induced. They started the medication around 10am and then Luke left to take Jack to a friends house. Luke got back to the hospital around 11:30am just in time to help me through the start of some painful contractions. The nurse was worried that I wasn't in enough pain so she gave me an enema and increased the medication to speed up my contractions. That did the trick. The pain was to much for me to walk around anymore so I got into the hospital bed. After a half hour or so trying to practice relaxing through each contraction in the hospital bed, I was ready to get into the birthing tub (originally I had wanted Lily to be born in the water). Before I could get into the tub the nurse wanted to check and see how far along I was, she was shocked to see Lily's head right there! As soon as I got into the tub my water broke and I needed to push. I couldn't get enough power behind my pushes in the tub so I had to move back on to the bed and a couple pushes later Lily came right out! She toped the scales at just over 9 pounds and had a huge (15 inch) head full of black hair. We couldn't be more in love!
Last picture as a family of three

Minutes after birth
Luke and Lily

Jack meets Lily

Happy family

Coming home from the hospital
Proud brother

Lily's original due date was September 25th. As that date came and went my doctor started talking to me about being induced. Luke and I had been preparing for a natural unmedicated childbirth for 9 months so we really wanted to avoid the induction. My doctor told us that he was comfortable giving me 7-10 days past my due date, but then I would have to be induced. We tried everything to provoke labor: raspberry leaf tea, cinnamon tea, evening primrose oil, castor oil, sex, nipple stimulation, lots of walking, walking up the stairs sideways, relaxing, bouncing on the birthing ball, eating spicy foods, acupuncture, etc. There was nothing we didn't try. 

When I was 7 days past my due date I met with my doctor and he informed me that he was leaving on vacation in 3 days and that if I didn't have the baby by then I would need to call the hospital and schedule my induction. At that appointment he stripped my membranes to try to encourage labor. I was really hoping I would go into labor because I really like my doctor and wanted him to be there to deliver Lily. The 3 days went by and I still wasn't in labor. I called the hospital and told them I didn't want an induction yet, that I would like to go to 42 weeks before they induced me. I had to go into the hospital to have a few checks done to make sure Lily was okay staying in my belly longer and they agreed to let me have 5 more days. Again we tried EVERYTHING to bring labor on...but nothing worked. 

To make things even more frustrating I was having consistent contractions for 1 month now. They started out 10 minutes apart and worked up to 5 minutes apart all day long, every day. They would register on the monitors every time I went in for an appointment and everyone would get excited thinking I was in labor only to find out that the contractions were not progressing my cervix. By the time I was 42 weeks I was about 70% effaced and 2 centimeters dilated. The on-call doctor decided I needed to be induced the next morning. He suggested that I be induced with a pill called cytotec that is placed up near your cervix in hopes that it will stimulate contractions. After I met with the doctor I was able to see the midwife one more time and she did some aggressive accupuncture points as well as a very thourough and aggressive membrane sweep to try to get me into labor that night. I went home and cried. I was so upset that it had come to this. I really wanted a natural birth and felt like I wasn't going to get it. When I woke up the next morning I cried again realizing that I didn't go into labor during the night. But it was time for my induction and I felt good knowing that I gave Lily 15 extra days to come on her own and really had no other option since the birthing clinic usually only allows women 10 days past their due date. 

Around 8:00am we got all our bags together and headed over to the hospital. Luke and Jack came into the clinic with me and we were able to talk to the midwife and get me settled into the room and then Luke left to take Jack an hour away to a friends house in Interlaken. In the meantime the midwife checked my progress and noticed that I was now dialated to a good 3cm and my cervix was more favorable than the day before. She called the doctor and they agreed that the pill was no longer a good idea and that we should start right away with the lowest dose of pitocin and go from there. 

A little after 10am the midwife started me at 35ml/hour of pitocin. I noticed that the normal contractions I had been having for a month were starting to feel very crampy. But I wouldn't say they hurt yet. I figured we would be at the birth center all day so I started looking up some movies to watch and got out some books to read. I was in a pretty good mood and was walking around and cheerful. A half hour later the midwife says we need to up the pitocin to 60ml/hour. She wants to see my contractions coming every 3 minutes, which at this point they were but they weren't painful. The crampiness got stronger and more uncomfortable but my attitude didn't change. The nurse wanted to up the pitocin again but I was anxious for Luke to get back at this point. If things started to really get intense I needed him to be there. So she agreed to wait for Luke to get back and in the meantime I could order my lunch. 

Luke made it back to the clinic around 11:30am at which time the nurse suggests giving me an enema and then increasing the pitocin to 90ml/hr. She checks my dialation and I am about 5 cm dialated. I feel like I made good progress and didn't think that she needed to up the pitocin again, but since my contractions weren't painful it was decided that we would increase it to "get things moving." After she checked my cervix I stood up and lost a lot of mucus and blood which she said was a good sign that I was dialating. Then she gave me an enema and I had to walk around for 5 minutes and then use the bathroom. I noticed that it was difficult to walk around now. I actually didn't make it the whole 5 minutes before I went to the toilet to sit down through the next contraction. After the enema did its work my lunch had arrived, but by now I had no appetite. By now Luke is hungry and I told him he could eat my lunch. He tries to get me to eat but I could only taste one bite of mashed potatoes and that was it. I felt bad because I knew we were possibly there for a long time and I would need the energy, but my body would not take the food. This was the first time I noticed that my brain wanted one thing and my body was telling me something else. 

The contractions are getting more intense and only a minute or so break between each. I am trying to breathe and relax and stay clam through each contraction and I don't think the nurse or Luke knew just how intense things were getting.   The nurse is still trying to push for things to go faster. She wants to give me drugs to help the cervix dialate easier and she wants to break my water to get my contractions harder. At this point I am leaning over the bed through each contraction and I can't talk through them. I was starting to get nervous because the nurse was acting like she expected this to be a long labor if I didn't take her advice, yet I felt like it was already very intense. I told her no to both the drugs and that I didn't want her to break my water. She seemed a little upset but I felt things were already tough enough. Although I am guessing that by looking at me the nurse didn't think things were tough yet because I was really trying to relax.  Each contraction seemed to be double the strength of the previous. I was able to try a few more positions such as sitting on the birthing ball, kneeling on the floor and rolling around with my arms and head on the birthing ball, then I tried staying on the floor and leaning against the bed. I was getting a bit flustered that I couldn't find a position where I could relax. Finally I told Luke that I needed to get into the bed. He thought it was too early, after all we had only been laboring together for an hour or so. In both our minds we still had another 6 hours to go. I was somewhat dissapointed that I couldn't continue with all the labor positions we had learned about, but again my body overrode my brain and told me I needed to be in the bed. And from here on out labor was just like that, my brain didn't understand what was happening and my body just took over. Once in the bed the contractions continued to double in pain, I started moaning through contractions and saying "open" to my cervix as the contraction peaked. I was trying my best to stay relaxed and to visualize my cervix opening over Lily's head.  The contractions seemed to come faster and faster and I found it very hard to relax. Luke said I was keeping all my tension in my feet. When I was in bed I found I didn't really want to be touched. The nurse and Luke wanted to help with the pain I was feeling in my back but it was too difficult for me to relax through the contractions when they were touching me. I think I got a little cross with them and told them just to stop.  Luke wanted me to get up and try to pee (he was determined to get me to pee every 30 minutes to make sure I was constantly moving and not getting stuck in one position). I couldn't do it. I couldn't get up. I felt like I had reached my pain limit on the bed and I needed to get into the tub. I was a little worried because only a few minutes ago I was 5 centimeters and they usually don't want you to get into the tub until 7 centimeters since the warm water could stall the contractions. But then the next contraction felt "different" I told the nurse that I felt the contraction more in my butt and I had a vague sense of needing to push. I just kept saying that I wanted to get into the tub, I needed to get into the tub. The nurse and Luke were talking and she was taking her time filling the tub. I think since I was trying so hard to relax on the bed that they had no idea how much pain I was in. The nurse finally said she would start filling the tub and then she wanted to check me again before I got in the water. After the next contraction she checked the dialation and her demeanor changed as she said "you're complete." Those were the best words I could have ever heard! I knew that what I was feeling was a lot of pain and I couldn't imagine going on like that for many hours, I was so happy that I wasn't being a wimp and that I truly had made a lot of progress. The nurse started to panic because the doctor was not at the hospital so she needed to call him and tell him to come quickly. Apparently when I was on the bed she could already see Lily's head. I really needed to get into the tub. I had wanted a water birth and it is so funny that my body knew exactly when it was time even though my brain was telling me there was no way that after only 30 minutes or so I had dialated from 5 to 10.  Luke and the nurse helped me into the tub and right away I felt a weird sensation and knew that my water had broken. Thankfully it was clear and the baby had not pooped in utero as is sometimes common for overdue babies. Once in the tub I felt some relief. The hot water was awesome. Again my body took over and I needed to be on my knees leaning over the edge of the tub. Luke was great as he was holding me up and I could relax against him. The nurse was still frantic and needed to call in the assistance of another midwife since the doctor was not at the hospital. This frantic atmosphere was really bothering me and I just wanted her to be quiet. Thankfully all her frantic calls for help were in German so I could easily tune them out. Luke was doing a great job being calm and I was just leaning on him to get through. Soon the desire to relax was gone and replaced by this maddening urge to push. Another nurse showed up and both nurses were starting to really annoy me. They were poking and prodding me and trying to get the monitor on my belly to hear the baby's heartbeat. Everything they were doing was to make sure that the baby was okay, but it was really annoying. I was still just trying to lean on Luke and ignore the nurses.  The urge to push kept getting stronger and I started to become afraid. The pain was unbearable and although I didn't say it, I was thinking to myself that I wanted a c-section. I could feel the bones of Lily's head grinding against my pelvis bone. I couldn't imagine being able to push that huge thing out and I started doubting myself. I was nervous pushing and I think I was even holding back. I could feel her head coming out but it hurt so bad that I would stop pushing and let her head go back inside so I could get a rest from the pain. I wasn't prepared for this sort of intensity. With each contraction my moans turned into yells and I had an overwhelming desire to bite something. My nurses arm was right in front of my face and I wanted to bite down on it so bad (don't worry, I didn't do it). At one point the nurses said "she has hair!" and I was able to feel the baby's head. But this didn't make me want to push her out, I was really scared to push her out. The doctor arrived shortly and everyone (except Luke) was frantically podding me and trying to reach the baby. I was still on all fours leaning against Luke but they wanted me to lay back in the tub and push to see if I could get the baby out that way. It may have worked if I tried harder, but I was so scared of this pain and having her big head come out that I couldn't do it. The nurses sensed that I couldn't get enough power behind my push so they told me to stop yelling with the push and to use that energy to push her out. I tried again but the fear and pain was holding me back from getting her out, then they said I had one more chance and then I had to get on the bed.  I couldn't get her out with the next push so everyone helped me onto the bed.  I felt like she was going to fall out of me as we walked a few steps from the tub to the bed.  Luke sat behind me on the bed and it was a great position. I could lean against him until the contraction and then pull up into a semi-squat with the bars while I was pushing.  I still couldn't get her out though so the doctor said he would cut with the next contraction.  I knew in my mind I had to really give this last push everything and then it would be over...I just wanted it over!  with the next contrction the doctor cut me a little and out she came...long dark hair and all!  They gave her to me right away and I just held her.  I was still in so much pain and I was bleeding badly. The doctor started getting really nervous from all the blood and gave me some drugs to stop the bleeding. The placenta came out very quickly and the dotor examined it for quite a while.  Finally they said it all looked good but I was still bleeding a lot from my uterus.  I was feeling a lot of pain so I finally asked for something to help and the nurse gave me a pill.  It didnt help too much and I still neded some stictches (though not as many as I had with jack). I was still bleeding a lot but the doc felt I was okay so he left. Everyone left us alone with Lily but then I started feeling quite dizzy.  I told luke to call the nurse and she took my blood pressure which was around 70/34.  She stared to panic again and called the doc and gave me some injections.  I was still very dizzy for the next hour or so and even though my blood pressure returned to normal I felt like I couldnt get out of bed. Finally the nurse told me I needed to try to pee, but when I stood up a ton of blood came out and I told them I was going to faint. Thankfully Luke and the nurse each had an arm so I didn't fall to the ground.  They moved me onto a bed and over the next 30 minutes I tried to get from laying to sitting to standing. Finally I made it to the toilet (3 steps) and immediatley felt dizzy again.  It took a good 20 minutes for me to pee and then I tried to stand to get back to the bed but felt dizzy again.  I had to be wheeled up to my room on a bed (not walking like I thought I would) I had to stay in bed most of the night as I had no strength. I needed help walking to the bathroom and getting back into my bed. It wasn't until the next morning that I was actually able to walk to the bathroom by myself. The recovery from this birth has been very difficult. I thought that since I avoided the epidural that I would feel great after but apparently the speed of the birth and Lily's size took a huge toll on my body.  At first I was pretty traumatized by the whole experience, but now after a couple days I can look back on my (partially) unmedicated childbirth and be happy with the way things turned out. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fashionably late

Little Miss Lily arrived yesterday at 1:30 pm. She was 14 days past her due date and topped the scales at just over 9 pounds. Just like Jack, Lily was born with a head full of hair....only this time it was black hair!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stubborn as her dad!

I can't believe this little girl is still in my belly! Every day that passes I wonder what past sin I committed to have to go through this pain when all I want is to hold my baby. She is snug as a bug in there and I am quickly losing my patience. Today I went for "labor inducing" acupuncture. Then followed it up with several "labor inducing" teas. I also had my 2nd day of gut burning Thai food. If I don't have this baby tonight then I will not get to deliver with my doctor. He leaves for vacation tomorrow at noon and then I am going to be stuck with whichever doctor is on call (regardless of if they speak english). My nightmare is coming true! It's so frustrating, but at this point I am so over it all that I would be happy to give birth at home or in the car as long as I can just get her out :-)

Last week my parents came down for a visit. They had planned a trip with some friends to go to the Oktoberfest in Germany and when they found out I was pregnant they extended their trip by a week so they could see the new baby. What a surprise for all of us when she decided not to come. I spent a good portion of the week walking as much as possible to see if I could go into labor while they were here, but no such luck. Oh well, Jack had a blast with his Nana and Poppie. 

On the slide with Nana, and stubborn Lily still sitting tight

Jack takes driving very seriously

Jack and Poppie on the train

Poppie taking Jack into the toy convention

With Spongebob at the Swiss
toy convention

Playing with play-dough at the toy convention

More playdough 
More toys

Jack and Poppie on the luge

Jack loves this ride!
We took a trip up to Lauterbrunnen for my dad's birthday. Luke was so nervous the whole time as he thought I would go into labor at any minute... I wish!
Ready for our walk

My dad by one of the many waterfalls

Next to the waterfall

View of the town below

Another view of the town

Hiking back down from the waterfall

Looking up at a small waterfall

We found a playground for Jack 

And we had a picnic

Must be the most beautiful playground in the world

Enjoying some wine

Happy Birthday Dad!

Was hoping this would be the last family of
three photo before Lily popped out
After spending the morning in Lauterbrunnen, we drove back to our region and Luke was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief that he didn't have to deliver Lily next to a waterfall. We drove up past Neuchatel to the area of Chaumont. We had heard about a really fun "parcours" course here that I have been wanting to try for ages. Parcours is really popular here in Switzerland and it is basically climbing through the trees with varying levels of difficulty. Of course, i wasn't able to do it this time but Jack and I looked on with much envy.
Luke walking the bridge

Zip-lining through the trees

More bridge walking

Much tougher than it looks

I can't wait to try this next year!

Luke zip-lining through the trees

View of the course

The beginners couse which starts at 4 years old

Another part of the beginners course. Jack can't wait to get up there!

My parents had to head home last weekend and it was a shock to everyone that the baby still hadn't made her appearance. She sure is a stubborn one! This is probably going to be my last week of pregnancy because after 42 weeks the doctors will want to induce me. So we are going through every wives tale to try and help labor start naturally. I have drank more tea and ate more spicy food in the last 2 days than I have ever done in my life. But the good thing is that I found that I really like cinnamon tea. And I really don't like walking up and down the stairs sideways.