Monday, June 1, 2015

Welcome Baby Koby!

Since my last post (ages ago...sorry), we mostly settled into life in Newton and continued gestating. The weather got nice. Sam took off her training wheels (inspired by Torsten, the four year old three houses down). Elie learned to scoot on the mini micro. We are outside just about all hours possible every day. We LOVE our street - nicest people in the world. Sam has continued LOVING her experience at Temple Shalom. Elie loves taking her to school and his class at My Gym. We haven't met too many new people in the last few months, but we're continuing to develop relationships to some extent.

Last Wednesday, we had a scheduled c-section, at 39 weeks + 2 days. As my doctor here put it, "You have a really complicated situation. You have attempted two vaginal deliveries, had two c-sections, had two additional uterine surgeries (see this post which explains my fun journey), had two "sticky" placentas, bled through your last pregnancy...We can pretend that you will attempt a VBAC, and we both know you will end up with a c-section, or we can just schedule a c-section." So we did.

It is kinda weird to know the day that your baby will be born, and it's also quite convenient. I got to sleep the night before, we woke up, and we were at the hospital by 7am, with the c-section scheduled for 8:30. Overall, it was a fantastic experience (considering I was cut open, anxious about all of it, given my last deliveries, etc.), and it was SO different to the ones in Singapore.

Everything was explained to me - multiple times - and they were ready for EVERYTHING. Some of the risks were that there would be so much scar tissue that it would be hard to get to the baby, the placenta might stick to my uterus, leading to lots of bleeding, a mess of tubes leading them to not bei able to complete the tubal ligation (NO MORE BABIES, please!! Though we are very thankful for our three beautiful and healthy children...). All in all, it went completely smoothly, there was limited scar tissue, baby came out relatively easily (and the only of the three that didn't require a vacuum - even w a c section!), and I did smell the sweet smell of cauterizing my future potential spawn.

The baby, Koby (Jacob A), was 8.4 pounds, 374 grams and 21". BOTH other kids were 21" and Sam was 374 grams, and Elie was 371 grams. Sam was born at 40 weeks, Elie born at 41+4 and Koby born at 39+2...and ALL exactly the same weight! Crazy. He has all of his fingers, toes (and they're not webbed like his "big" brother). His hair is part blonde and part light brown. We thought he looked a bit funny the first day, but man he has gotten cuter, and he is a legit beautiful baby.

Our stay in the Newton Wellesley Hospital was generally very positive. We stayed five days, four nights, though we could have opted to leave at four days. Since I have two demanding kids at home, and I wanted to rest and also get help breastfeeding, we stayed. The nurses were excellent and super responsive. The food was fine (though five days was the limit). 

Koby has been a super spitty baby - which I guess is common with c-section babies, and both of our other two were also like this. He spent his first three days spitting up / puking up amniotic fluid. This didn't make him happy, but he seems to have gotten it all out. Now he seems to be spitting up like a normal spitty-uppy baby. He has had about two total hours of awake and alert time in his life - he is EXTREMELY sleepy, but as long as he's eating and gaining weight, this seems fine. 

Sam and Elie are doing great. Sam is very interested in the baby, wants to keep looking at him, explore his whole body, has a million questions...Elie says "HIT. BABY." every time we bring him up. Last night Koby was on my bed, and Elie went up to him and said "PATCH. BABY." and patched him on the tush. Then he realized he had a duck on his tush and got super excited and then danced around, pointing to Koby's tush, saying "GUCK!!! GUCK!!!" Elie doesn't understand what's going on, but he's having a great time with his "Hata" (Savta, my mom), and he started talking in the last few weeks, so he's having fun with that too.

Matt is a super star - running between helping my mom with the kids and me and the baby, taking care of everything at home, just doing what he can in every way. And thank the lord for my mom, yet again. The kids LOVE her, she is able to keep up their routine in a way that I so appreciate, and they do too, and now she has me at home too.

I wanted to explain some of the differences I experienced with this birth, since my first two were born in Singapore, though with different doctors and at different hospitals. In Singapore the experience with the second was WORLDS beyond the first (especially given the fact that it wasn't a successful birth - in so many ways - other than the fact that we got the healthy baby), yet this one was just so much better for me, even than that.

  • The surgery was different. My first had retained placenta, so I bled like crazy, I couldn't get up for three days, I don't even remember life for about a week after Sam was born. The second was a great experience, but the c-section pain was crazy. There were apparently two stitches that he put in, on either side of my abdomen, that KILLED when I tried to stand up or sit up, for WEEKS. This one seems like not that big of a deal. I can sit up already, and it's not even that painful NOW, only five days out. I can stand up straight. I went upstairs about four times yesterday, and it was hard, but it was ok. Feels SO much easier.
  • The doctors and nurses are more flexible in my experience, here. In Singapore I couldn't eat or drink for HOURS after the procedure, and it was some prescribed period of time. It was not flexible. Here, I said I am not a pukey person, I did not feel nauseous, and once I was out of recovery, I could have ice chips, and at 3pm they said that if I genuinely felt fine I could eat. They said I probably shouldn't eat just ANYTHING, but easy foods should be fine, and it was life changing. I don't do well without food and water, and it made my recovery so much easier. Also, there I had no access to narcotics. After 18 hours, when the IV was out, I was on Aleeve and Tylenol. There were a few times that I asked for something more, because I was in so much pain, and I was refused. Here I was offered oxycodon, which I did take the first morning after, and I haven't needed it since (I'm on ibuprophen and seem to be ok with it), but I knew I COULD take it, which made a big difference for me. Another example is kinda gross, but after you have your catheter removed, you have to be able to pee. In Singapore they absolutely required that I pee into this pan, which fit in the toilet but was not comfortable to sit on. While they preferred it in NWH, they said if it bothered me I could remove it. It made all the difference. 
  • The quality of materials seems to be different too. In Singapore I was covered in hives from everything sticky, from the plastic sheet/pad that they made me keep under me, from the plastic mattress and non-cotton sheets. I was so utterly uncomfortable, and Matt and I spent days after putting calamine all over me to try to make it better. I mean seriously - I just had surgery, breastfeeding KILLS, I happened to be super sick and have no voice, I had fallen and my whole left leg was a giant, painful scab...I was a mess...did I really need to ALSO be covered in SUPER itchy bumps? Ugh. At NWH I told them that the plastic pad thing bothered me, so they removed it right away. And other than a bit of a reaction to the sticky stuff that was covering my incision for the first 18 hours, I got no hives at all and found all of the materials so much more comfortable.
  • In Singapore you can order different "ethnicities" of food. The Western Diet is nasty, so I ordered the Chinese confinement diet. It was overall good, but again, for so many days, I had no control over what I was eating, and I was over it. I also only got food during meal times, and there were cookies available otherwise. At NWH I had a menu that I could order from ANY TIME between 6:30am and 7pm. Some days I had two breakfasts. I totally chose what I ate. In a circumstance where you have NO control over so many things (and you're a control freak...), this helped!
  • In Singapore I wanted ice water all the time. The nurses told me I shouldn't have anything cold. Like different nurses told me this multiple times a day. It will give me arthritis later. It's not good for healing. Whatever. I don't care - I want it, and while I respect that it's not the Asian thing to do, I still want it. Here the norm is ice water, and you get this huge cup/pitcher-like thing that the nurses make sure is constantly filled with ice water. Bliss.
  • In Singapore I felt a lot of pressure to put the baby in the nursery. When I wanted help with something, they would say, "we will just take the baby to the nursery," and I felt that I was constantly trying to keep the baby with me. At NWH they completely push rooming-in, though when I was alone at night with the baby and he was gagging and choking on his gunk, they respectfully suggested that the baby go to the nursery while I slept. It just wasn't a big deal, and I did sent him there for a few nights.
  • At NWH, nurses talked to me in a way that I felt was respectful. The tone of the nurses in Singapore, and how they call me "Mummy" instead of Melanie felt really condescending and bizarre. I understand this is purely a cultural thing - they weren't meaning to be condescending, and the care was actually very similar, but the tone made it FEEL so yucky. Here I felt respected in a way I hadn't experienced before.
So, overall, a great experience, and now we get to learn what it's like to have three kids. But before that, I will just focus on healing, feeding the baby and relaxing.

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