Posted: April 29th, 2014 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth, C-Section | Tags: Birth, Family, Kids, Mom stuff, Silas | 1 Comment »
(Let’s pretend I didn’t just completely neglect this space for the better part of the past year and jump right into the here and now, shall we?)
This kid joined our family:
7 pounds, 11 ounces
At first he looked like this:
All nice and pink*, and
perfectly happy not impressed to be on the outside.
I got to keep him with me in the OR:
Is it bad that the only thing I could think of when I finally got to hold him was that his crying was probably distracting the doctors from doing their jobs and they were probably going to kick him out if he didn’t quiet down? Yeah, those were my loving thoughts in the moments after he was born.
Also: he looks like a blonde Wyatt!
I finally felt like a human being:
Those really crappy months of hyperemesis with the constant nausea, and the vomiting, and the IV poles, and the drugs?
Let’s cuddle cute fat baby!
And order dinner.**
And this is you now:
Well, three weeks ago this was you. You have fatter cheeks now.
And this is what a house with 4 boys looks like:
We are so happy you joined us.
*And bloated from the copious amounts of fluids they pumped into me to keep my blood pressure from tanking during my c-section.
**I will have one of everything and I will inhale it.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy, Stream of Consciousness | Tags: Baby 4, Boy Mom, Hyperemesis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum | 1 Comment »
This is going to ramble a bit…
Way back in July (August?) we decided we were just going to go ahead and announce this pregnancy so I could freely talk about it here. Of course that pretty much meant I would have all of the energy (and will) sapped from my body immediately and I would go months between posts because all I did was sit in bed and try not to be sick for weeks on end. I go weeks without sitting down at an actual computer. Blogging…HA!
I eventually ended up in the ER, and a few days later I started OB Home Care. Lactated ringers and a zofran pump became my lifeline.
After 3-4 weeks of IVs, I was able to stop them, and have been IV free for just over three weeks. They are extremely helpful when needed, but with three wild boys running around they were getting to be difficult to deal with. My veins have always been a bit tricky, and getting a good stick to begin with was not always easy. Getting them to last more than a day or two was even harder. Now that I’m to the point where I can eat (mostly) and drink (sometimes) we are working on keeping me from backtracking, and possibly weaning from the zofran pump.
Looking back, this is definitely the earliest we have had my hyperemesis under any sort of control. I will take it!
We are starting to talk about things like nursery decor. Something so simple, so obvious to someone who is having a “fluffy” pregnancy. But all those fun things you look forward to, they get lost in the shuffle when you are just managing an illness, trying to survive the day.
But we are there now.
I’m not 100%. I don’t know that I’m 75% or even 50%, but every day is not all bad. A corner has been turned.
And we just made it to the halfway mark!
Which brings me to our 20 week ultrasound. The BIG one. The one everyone looks forward to. Well, at least people who are wanting to find out if they are having a boy or a girl.
Having a house full of boys, I definitely wanted to know if I was going to be adding ruffles and dresses to our laundry pile.
I wore the same pink striped socks that I had worn to both of our previous 20 week scans. The tech joked that if I was looking for a girl I probably should have worn blue socks, they didn’t seem to be working any magic. The thing is, I kind of wanted another boy. A girl would have been welcomed and celebrated, obviously, but I just don’t see myself as a mom to girls. Lincoln was our lone hold out- if you asked him, he would tell you the baby in my belly was a girl. He would tell you her name was Hansel. He never wavered on his prediction. Everyone else said it was a boy, even if they were hoping deep down for a girl.
Even though I was silently rooting for a boy, I kind of loved the thought of Lincoln having some intuition and being the only one right on this. Lord knows *I* never feel any intuition when it comes to whether it’s a boy or a girl. I just guess based on what we have, and what I can eat (spicy, Mexican) compared to what I could eat in past pregnancies (spicy, Mexican).
Alas, it’s a boy.
I was almost relieved.
We all laughed when she moved the wand over his lower half and he spread his legs for a split second, just long enough for me to confirm that yes, he was definitely all boy.
Before I ever became a mom, I wished for boys.
I wished for Lincoln and Wyatt to be cute. I know. That was really the only wish I had? But they are definitely cute, for better or worse. I think they get away with more than they should because they can charm the socks off their teachers and therapists.
I wished for Judah to be a Mama’s boy. And I got that, again for better or worse. He was a completely different experience from his brothers, and I am grateful for that, although a few moments of downtime would have been very welcomed in the early weeks.
For this, our last baby, and the youngest boy, I am wishing for him to be calm. So far he seems pretty chill, I just hope he remains that way. We need a little bit of calm in this family.
So, kind of by default, and none of my own doing, I remain queen of my castle.
A rowdy, messy, noisy, castle.
A Boy Mom.
Oh, and Lincoln? He’s cool with another brother. He’s pretty sure his name will be Hazel.
Posted: July 28th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy | Tags: HG, Hyperemesis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum | 2 Comments »
On Friday, I had the earliest ultrasound I have ever had. My due date was moved back two days, I got to see our teeny tiny, and hear a little heartbeat. It was awesome.
I’ve been sinking into that constant nausea that slowly takes over and envelopes every movement, every breath, every second of the day. I have that tell-tale sickly sweet taste in my mouth that I can’t get rid of, and I’m starting to lose interest in eating and drinking.
I hate this part.
It’s coming, I know it is. I just want it to get here and not be sitting in endless nausealand. As much as Hyperemesis sucks, vomiting brings temporary relief. I’m going to ask for my prescription for Zofran tomorrow, but that doesn’t touch the nausea, so I know it won’t make a difference at this point.
Yesterday we decided, at the drop of a hat, to take the boys Up North to take our annual photo of the boys walking down the road to the lake. I’ve taken this photo every year, and I wasn’t going to miss this year. We usually stop and take pics with the Walleye in Garrison, but the breakwater is undergoing some construction and the Big Fish was moved to across the road and had a big plastic sign tied to it. We skipped that photo op this year.
After we got home from our whirlwind roadtrip, I pretty much went right to bed. And I stayed there all night, and most of today. Thank God Yogi Dad is as awesome as he is. I feel terribly guilty for taking the time to rest and be horizontal, but I may as well do it when I have the chance.
The fact of the matter is, Hyperemesis is the one thing that has held us back from adding another kid to this family until now. It’s pure hell, and I would be lying if I said I had any clue how we are going to get through this. The first time, we had no other obligations other than work. I could lay on the couch all day and it didn’t matter. The second time, we had a nanny. The boys hadn’t yet been diagnosed (hell, there wasn’t even an inkling that anything was going on) so there was no school or rehab or Day Treatment. There was always an extra pair of hands to help. This time around, we have a full schedule of places to be, every day. No extra hands.
But, we’ve been through it before. We can do it again. I’m not quite sure how it will work if I need to go in for IV fluids, but we will figure that out as it comes. I might have to *ask* friends for help! I’m not good at doing that. Again, I will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Bottom line- we are having a baby, and we are excited as hell!
Posted: July 20th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy | 9 Comments »
35 is tricky. At least it seems to be for me.
On one hand, we are finally in a house, feeling settled.
On the other hand, my body is starting to rev up for the big change. Or so I thought.
Apparently the ladies in my family all have biological clocks that expire in the early to mid thirties. I know this because when I was 29 and just starting to contemplate having a kid, my mom warned me I might not have as much time as I imagined.
So, although I was shocked and saddened to find Shark Week popping up every 21 days out of nowhere, I wasn’t surprised. I hoped it was caused by the stress of moving, but my brain was just screaming “YOU ARE 35! THIS IS IT!”. It felt like a big, red, flashing, light over my head, and Google was never very helpful at easing my fears. (Is Google EVER helpful at easing fears?”) I pretty much cried my eyes out for an entire weekend.
I made an appointment for my yearly exam, and I noted that I was having some big irregularities with my period, and they allotted for extra time to discuss that and run tests with my midwife. And then I waited. And then my appointment got cancelled because she was at a birth (first time ever in 9 years, so I can’t complain). And then I waited some more.
While I waited, I promptly freaked out. Big time.
Our original plan was to start trying to conceive in September, and all of a sudden it felt like my uterus was abandoning me. Closing up shop. Right when things were just as they should be. What a cruel twist of fate this was.
Never being one to sit around and let nature take it’s course, I switched gears. What was 2 months in the grand scheme of things?
In my mind, it was a done deal. My chance was gone. The sand had emptied from the proverbial hourglass.
No more babies.
So really, what did we have to lose?
Throw the plan out the window. Make a new plan!
We pulled the goalie.
And then I calmed down a little bit. Whatever happens, happens. What will be, will be.
I started testing on July 4th. That would have been the first day to get a positive test if my cycle was still in fact, short.
I tested on the 7th.
On the 11th I was playing around with my phone, adding apps, and I clicked on the My Days app and it suggested I might be pregnant. With no sign of my interloping aunt showing up, I went downstairs and took the last test.
Fast forward to yesterday, and me explaining to my midwife that the Peri-menopause discussion was off the table for the time being. In fact, I needed a pregnancy test.
You guys! I just jumped off the deep end.
Posted: August 4th, 2011 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth | Tags: #Judahthetank, Happy Birthday | 2 Comments »
When I was pregnant with Judah we knew he was going to be big. I mean, that’s what it seemed like from the ultrasounds. It’s hard to tell with Polyhydramnios though, all that fluid skews things a bit.
When he was pulled out my OB said “He’s not 6 pounds!” to which I said “He’s not even 6 pounds?!” Oh no, he was bigger than 6 pounds.
OK, I thought, that makes more sense.
About 20 seconds later the nurse looked over the blue curtain and said “Erin, eleven O five!” to which I naturally replied “He Weighs 11 pounds 5 ounces?!”
No, that was the time.
Born at a healthy 8 pounds, 6 ounces at 11:05am on Wednesday August 4th.
This is the first photo of me holding him:
And a year later:
Happy Birthday Judah the Tank!
Posted: July 12th, 2011 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth | Tags: Auntie Erin | 1 Comment »
Isn’t that what they say?
We’ve been waiting for my sister to have her baby for weeks. Things didn’t seem to be moving along and she finally had a plan to get things going on Monday evening, followed with an induction on Tuesday if she didn’t deliver over the weekend. Friday night I texted her one last time before I went to bed. She was having contractions, nothing significant. I told her I’d finish my packing in the morning.
When I woke up there was a text saying things were moving along and they were headed to the hospital within the hour. I called my Mom and sister and they jumped into action packing and finally arrived at my house a little after 11 where I had a total anxiety attack and insisted I wasn’t going. Seriously, what is up with this anxiety lately? It’s paralyzing!
We finally got on the road around 12 and were texted her husband and then we got a text that said “STOP TEXTING, WE ARE BUSY HERE” We figured she was having some contractions and kept driving. Around 2:30 our phones all beeped and we opened them to see a baby.
Our jaws all dropped to the floor. Fresh baby. Pretty awesome.
We didn’t have to worry about wasting time waiting for a baby to be born I guess! We got to Kansas City a little after 8, checked into the hotel room, freshened up a bit and then made our way to the hospital, where we were rear-ended while waiting to turn. It felt like we were never going to get to see this baby.
But we did. And she is perfect. Lots of dark hair, delicate features, tiny fingers and toes. She is simply gorgeous.
Excuse this picture quality- not sure what is up with my point and shoot
And here we are on Tuesday, the day we expected to be driving down for this new baby celebration. And today she is coming home. I could not be prouder of my sister, she did an amazing job.
Congratulations Ryon and TJ. Delilah Grace is just lovely.
Posted: July 3rd, 2011 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth | Tags: Baby Girl, Due Date, Kansas City | 3 Comments »
Today is the due date for my lovely and talented sister’s first baby. This is her first child and the first girl in the family. To say we are excited is an understatement. This will also officially give me a new title- AUNT! I’m the only one with kids in my family and I am ready to have someone to share this parenting journey with. It sucks that she is so far away. I feel like we miss out on so much, but that’s life, right?
But, of course, as we all know, a due date doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things. So far she’s been doing pretty well and there isn’t much to report on. (Maybe that sweltering Kansas City heat will kick things into high gear?) That doesn’t stop me from checking for texts and sleeping with my phone, just in case. I mean she’s coming sooner or later and at this point, probably sooner. My bags are (mostly) packed, I still have to figure out what I’m packing for Judah. I’m trying to clean and do laundry so it’s not a complete disaster when my in-laws arrive to help watch the boys while I’m gone.
I’ve never been away from my boys (except for when I had Judah) and I am going to miss them so much. I can’t even think about how much I’m going to miss them so I have kind of onvined myself that they are somehow going to be with me.
I’m also interested in how I’m going to do with Judah on my own. I’ve never traveled by myself with a kid before. Yes, my mom and sister will be there, but they will be doting on my sister and her husband and the newest member of the family.
I hope I can keep it all under control, Judah is a force of nature.
Posted: June 30th, 2011 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: C-Section | Tags: Blogging, C-Section, Dagmar Bleasdale, hot topics, parenting, Twitter | 8 Comments »
I’ll admit it, I wear my heart on my sleeve. For better or worse, that’s just how it is. When it comes to blogging and social media this can be a good and a bad thing, especially when it comes to parenting choices.
Social media is spectacular for finding like-minded people to support and commiserate with, building relationships 140 characters at a time. But what happens when that tweet from a person you respect comes across your screen and your skin instantly crawls. Like this:
It’s not pointed at you, but to Twitter in general. Considering the number of followers Dagmar has (and c-section rate in the US) I imagine more than a few people felt judged by this question. I felt judged.
As someone who has had 2 scheduled c-sections* it leaves me feeling that I am somehow less of a woman/ mother because I had the birth that I did (which I am totally happy with, btw). That I am somehow an idiot, because I chose to have a controlled abdominal surgery, something that she believes shouldn’t even be offered.
It was followed up by this:
So in the span of about 5 minutes I am left feeling like less of a woman/ mother, who is obviously just fearful of vaginal birth and therefore shouldn’t have children…
This is a respected blogger who is known for her breastfeeding and natural birth advocacy. She is an advocate. The funny thing about the most vocal advocates is more often than not I find they reduce themselves to making moms feel bad about their choices. Even if their choices are totally valid.
What difference does it make if I opted to schedule a C-section to avoid an emergency C-section in the event that after a vaginal birth of Baby A, Baby B couldn’t be delivered? Yes, I know, there was a small chance he would have turned, but really? I would rather recover from a planned c-section instead of an emergency c-section on top of a vaginal birth. Does that make me afraid? No, that makes me smart for weighing my options and risks and making a decision. Was it medically necessary? Maybe not, we’ll never know, but I am thankful that the option was there- emergency C-sections are much more difficult to recover from (or so I’ve heard).
It was eventually followed up by this:
Yes Dagmar, telling women that #1) their choice is something you don’t believe should be an option for them, #2) assuming they are doing it out of a fear of vaginal birth and #3) telling them they shouldn’t have children…that would be criticizing.
And really, why is it anyone’s business anyway? Why does any mother have to explain her reasoning behind her decisions so someone can decide whether or not she made a good choice? And the whole issue of whether or not she was informed of her choices and educated on her options? Why are “advocates” so quick to assume women who opt to have C-Sections aren’t educated and informed?
See? Heart on Sleeve. Or in this case, Heart on Blog.
I am a supporter of Moms of all shapes and sizes, birth and parenting choices. If you want to have a baby in your kitchen, you go girl! If you want to breastfeed until toddlerhood, that is fantastic. If you want to skip the VBAC and go with something you know and are comfortable with, only YOU can make those decisions. If you want to avoid a C-Section at all costs? Good for you.
Just don’t tell me my choice shouldn’t be an option.
* Every time the mention of a C-Section comes up natural birth advocates pull out a litany of reasons a woman should have chosen natural birth, regardless of the reasons behind it. There is always something else you could have done, some technique you could have used, a better more supportive ob/ midwife/ partner. No reason is ever good enough to make it “medically necessary”.
Posted: March 24th, 2011 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth | Tags: #Judahthetank, Birth, Breastfeeding, Family, Feelings, Firsts, Kids, Lincolnton and Wy | 1 Comment »
When we brought Judah home from the hospital, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities and differences in that first days compared to the first days and weeks home with Lincoln and Wyatt.
Both times we went to be discharged, someone (I’m looking at you Lincoln and Judah.) had a bilirubin spike leading to hours of testing and retesting and waiting for a discharge or an order to stay under lights. Both times we went home under observation. This first time it wasn’t a huge deal- we were worried about little Lincoln and wanted him to stay if he needed. With Judah we just couldn’t believe it was happening the same way, again. I was all packed up! I had already played momtographer for hours! I was Ready. To. Go.
Eventually we found ourselves strapped into the old Focus barreling down the streets of Minneapolis with a 5 day old boy (I guess we only make the boy model in this house) strapped safely in the backseat. They even wore the same coming home outfit. I’m sentimental that way.
It’s amazing they let you take something that small and fragile and priceless home! I’ll never get over it.
Differences though…there were more of those. Probably due to the whole “been there, done that” of it all. Or maybe we just felt a little more prepared or maybe a little more like it was just another day (a great, awesome, happy, fun day) and life goes on. Who am I kidding, we weren’t prepared for this at all. I was still kind of freaking out over how my Big Boys were going to handle everything. How I was going to deal with mothering all three of them. And ohmigod I missed them. I had never been away for so long. I really just wanted to get home to my Lincoln and Wyatt.
So, what was different?
* With Lincoln and Wyatt it was a cold gloomy Sunday in November.
* With Judah it was a bright sunny Sunday in August.
* With Lincoln and Wyatt we set them down in the middle of the living room and just looked at each other with that “Now What?” look on our faces and just stared at them for what seemed like hours. In reality it was probably 10 minutes before they let in be known they were unhappy, but it seemed like hours.
* With Judah we brought him home, showed him to the boys, put him in his co-sleeper and carried on with our day. I even unpacked my bags and put away gifts and found a home for the new plants! Insanity!!!
* With Lincoln and Wyatt we were so nervous to be alone with them we had my Mom stop by to have pizza with us as we navigated caring for these little guys at home the first few hours.
* With Judah I wanted the evening to be our little family only. Just the 5 of us. I missed my boys so much!
* With Lincoln and Wyatt I was totally freaked about breastfeeding and pumping and agonized over every single ounce. I even used a manual pump after every feeding (until I got my lovely Medela PISA when Grandma C arrived) as they were reluctant latchers and we supplemented after ever session with a dropper.
* With Judah I was still concerned, but he was a good latcher from day 1, so not as crazy as with the boys. That would come later with the slow weight gain.
* With Lincoln and Wyatt I had no good schedule for pain management after a C-Section. Those nurses just appear with drugs when you are in the hospital. They don’t follow you home! No one told me that.
* With Judah I had a schedule on the refrigerator that I followed until I was feeling less achy- about a week.
I think I was happier to be home this time around. I really enjoyed both of my hospital stays but when you’ve got two kids and a bunch of out of town visitors at home you have fewer visitors during the day. I missed seeing my little family. I felt like I got a lot of great bonding in with Judah (he wanted to nurse nonstop pretty much the entire 5 days) but poor Yogi Dad didn’t.
I was also very proactive about getting up and on my feet as soon as possible after my C-Section, so I was practically climbing the walls ready to go by day 3. The first time around I was a bit apprehensive about getting up and walking and although I had a fairly swift recovery, I feel like this time was a bit easier.
I like it though. Bringing home a baby. It’s like finding a piece of the puzzle that you didn’t know was missing in the first place.
Posted: November 22nd, 2010 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth | Tags: Birth, C-Section | 7 Comments »
I’ve had two pregnancies. Both were terrible ordeals fraught with constant nausea and vomiting until long after 30 weeks. I wanted to be a happy while I was pregnant. I wanted to have that glow and contentment. I hated pretty much every minute past 6 weeks. Until the end that is.
With the twins, once I got to the point where I knew a vaginal delivery was probably not the best option, it was an easy decision to decide to have a C-Section. I’m sure there are many mothers out there who would say I would have been better off delivering Baby A vaginally and hoping Baby B turned on his own. But what if he didn’t? The number of OB’s in my practice that would not turn a 2nd baby far outweighed the number who would. My chances of having a vaginal delivery followed up with an emergency C-Section far outweighed the chances of having a non-eventful vaginal birth of both Baby A and Baby B. At 35 weeks we set the date.
Considering at the time I was still getting sick every day, covered from head to toe in PUPPPs and carrying an enormous amount of fluid from Polyhydramnios, it was a relief to know my suffering would come to an end in a little over a week.
Call me selfish.
The delivery of the boys went off without a hitch at 36 weeks 1 day- a day before my scheduled C-Section. I went into spontaneous labor. Something I was kind of annoyed with at the time (I wanted SOMETHING to go as planned!) but ended up being a good thing. They came on their own, they were ready. The doctors wouldn’t have stopped them from coming at this point so I didn’t feel guilty about delivering them so early. In terms of multiples 36 weeks isn’t really that early. I know many Moms who deliver much later and I don’t know how they coped those last few weeks- good for them. I was not a pregnancy Viking. I was so happy to be done.
Baby B spent about 24 hours in Special Care for observation and frequent feedings- he was just shy (200 grams) of the necessary weight to join his brother. That was it. Otherwise I had two healthy babies. I had Baby A with me in recovery and we all stayed together in my room. We all came home together and other than many trips for weight checks and bilirubin checks my recovery was swift and easy.
Fast forward 14 months and I am sitting in my midwife’s office and we’re discussing my options for my newest pregnancy. I’m a good candidate for a VBAC as the reason for my C-Section was a breech Baby B. I take this in and mull it over for a few weeks. My Midwife and my OB think a VBAC would be a good choice. I’m not so sure.
I was quite happy with the birth I had.
Let’s remember I was miserable. Like crying every day because I was in so much agony miserable. My Midwife was worried I was going to be a good candidate for PPD I was so miserable. The instant relief of the C-Section was so amazing, I wouldn’t have changed that for anything. I think it did have an effect on me and my ability to get through the next few weeks and months, I needed relief. I needed a break. I needed something to not be so damn hard. I don’ t think I could have delivered those boys any other way.
After going back and forth over the next few months, I decided I was going to skip the VBAC. I know- how many women who WANT this opportunity are never allowed to even think about it and here I am just throwing it away. Was I insane? I was thinking about myself again. And my ability to be a good parent post-delivery. Things were going the same way they went with the boys- hyperemesis, polyhydramnios, add toddler twins and a full-time job to the mix and it’s a wonder I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But there was an end. 39 weeks, 1 day. It was perfect. We laughed and cried. Our son was born (after much pushing and pulling as he was jammed in there pretty good) and after about an hour joined me in the recovery room and went right to the breast where he’s pretty much been ever since.
I wouldn’t change a thing.