Saturday, October 31, 2009

On Pumpkins and Petunias

It was a reasonably successful Halloween. Pumpkin was a horsey and seemed to enjoy that, even though the horse's head was maybe a bit heavy for her. Hubby and my sister took her for a short round of trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. They say that she said "trick or treat" at the right time, but didn't quite get the saying thank you part- she just said "trick or treat" again. She didn't want to stay out long- she came back with five or six pieces of candy in her bucket, and seemed happy with that.

I stayed at home with Petunia, because it was time for her to nurse and then go to bed. She took the occasional interruptions to hand out candy well. The mothers shepherding their kids around were all duly impressed with our cute little baby, dressed in her "Little Pumpkin" sleeper.


While I sat on the sofa, nursing Petunia and listening for approaching princesses, fairies, ninjas, and firemen, I thought about how much easier it would be next year, and how next year, I'll probably look back at this time when Petunia was so small and easy to handle and think "it was so much easier then!"

Petunia is a fairly easy baby, at least she seems that way to me. I'm not sure if that is because she really is easy, or because she seems easy compared to Pumpkin, or because the second one always seems easier. She fusses, and even melts down sometimes when she is too tired and can't figure out how to fall asleep because she's not nursing. However, some music and bouncing usually sorts that out pretty quickly. She still mostly eats, sleeps, and poops, but she has started giving us more awake and alert time. She likes to knock over block towers that we build for her. I've convinced myself that she is actually playing with us- not just jerking her hand and accidentally hitting the tower. She is certainly focusing on the blocks, and I'm her mother, so of course I think she's a genius and has figured out that she can knock them over already.


Pumpkin's vocabulary continues to grow, and she is cleaning up some of her pronunciations. I'm sorry to report that "bobbin" has now been replaced by "bottom".

She continues to talk about the things Hubby and I will do when we get little, though. We will ride in her carseat while she drives us around, and she will change our diapers and buy us binkies. And then she will tell us to take our binkies out because she can't understand us when we're sucking on binkies.

She is so verbal that it is easy to forget how little she is, and how much she still doesn't quite understand. I am always taken by surprise when she gets somethign completely wrong- like when she tells us to put Petunia next to her by saying "put she here". She has most of her other pronouns sorted out already. Of course, I'm her mother, so I think she is a genius. But I still want to hold on to "bobbin" and "when you get little" and "baby is crying- pick she up!" I think I will be sad to see each one go.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Simple Solution?

If you'd asked me yesterday, I'd have told you that my children were conspiring to prevent me from getting four hours of consecutive sleep. The previous night, Petunia had adopted a schedule that made my longest stretch of sleep about 3 hours- and that was with Hubby giving her a bottle of pumped milk for her first nighttime feeding. The night before that, Petunia slept pretty well, but Pumpkin woke up at 4 a.m. and came in to tell me that she couldn't find her sock. I had to get up, find the sock, and then snuggle with her briefly to get her back to sleep.

Today, though, it is a completely different story. I went to bed a little before 10 and Hubby brought Petunia in for me to nurse her a little before 4. That's almost six hours of uninterrupted sleep! I feel great. Petunia did TWO stretches of about 4 hours of sleep in a row. After I fed her at 4 a.m., she went back to sleep fairly easily, and I snoozed from about 4:30 to 6:15, when Pumpkin came in, awake for the morning.

What was the difference? Well, its gotten a bit chilly here at night. I finally got our duvet out, and put Pumpkin's duvet on her bed, too. We put Petunia in a fuzzy fleece sleeper last night, even though the legs are too long.

Apparently, we were freezing our children.* Everyone tells post-partum mothers to let their husbands determine how much clothing the kids need. Our hormones are all over the place, and we tend to be warm even when its cold. Well, that's bad advice in our family. Hubby didn't think it was that cold.

Of course, one good night does not mean that we'll get more good nights. But it gives me hope!

*Actually, I think some of the improvement, particularly in the ease of going back down after a feeding, is due to my recognition that I have a fast let down, and my subsequent changes in nursing position to help Petunia deal with that. I'll probably post more about this later.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Parenting Ups and Downs

It has been an up and down run of days on the parenting front.

Last night, I lost my temper with Pumpkin, who was being oh so difficult at every stage of our evening routine. She wouldn't sit on her potty or get ready for her bath at all, so I picked her up and whisked her into her room for a time out. All I succeeded in doing was making my abdomen hurt (and it had been healing so nicely after the C-section!) and making Pumpkin scream. In the end, she skipped her bath and I felt like a terrible mother.

But tonight, we got her into her Halloween costume, to check that it will work. She wanted to be a horsey, so we bought the Get-Up Clippity Clop Horse from Amazon, and some brown clothes. My Mom made a tail out of some white fleece. We put it all together tonight, and Pumpkin LOVES it. She was so happy, galloping up and down our hall in her horsey outfit. I felt like a much better mother.

Now, I'm sitting here watching Petunia sleep, wondering when babies start to settle into something like a predictable schedule. I can't remember, and I suspect I knew this when Pumpkin was a baby. I think I have forgotten a lot of the "what most babies do" facts I knew, probably because Pumpkin didn't behave at all like "most babies". Poor Petunia, not only am I not doing much research now, she doesn't even get the benefit of the research I did the first time around!

I really want Petunia to wake up and nurse one more time before going down for the night. Unfortunately, I think she is in the midst of her first (and longest) snooze of the night, which does not bode well for me and my hopes of getting a good four hour stretch of sleep. (We've started Petunia on one bottle of pumped milk per night. Hubby does the first nighttime feeding, which means that if Pumpkin goes to sleep reasonably close to on time I can get four- or even five!- hours of sleep before Petunia wakes up for her second feeding.)

We are apparently not fated to have babies who sleep "well". I knew that this was likely, but still, I had hoped for better luck this time around. I'm not ready to give up that hope yet, but the signs are so-so. Petunia does nap better than Pumpkin did. But our nights are interrupted by three feedings, and she is usually quite difficult to settle back down after her last feeding, which is usually around 5 a.m. I can't really remember what Pumpkin did- although I do remember that her days started at 4:30 a.m. for the first month or so. I guess I should consider myself lucky that Petunia will consent to sleep in until 7 many days, albeit with some parental effort required!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thoughts on Food

While I was pregnant with Petunia, I suddenly wanted to understand more about where the food I ate came from, and to formulate some sort of coherent opinion about what I should be eating and feeding to my children. These days, my thoughts on food are more along the lines of wondering how long I can get away with eating so many cookies and watching for correlations between Petunia's fussy periods and my diet (so far, I suspect that too much lemonade in my diet may make her fussy. I haven't done the experiment to see if she has the same problem with dairy that Pumpkin had- given our experience with Pumpkin, I decided to just eliminate dairy from the start and add it back in when Petunia is about 4 weeks old.) Still, I thought I'd write up my thoughts on food from my earlier reading, before I forget everything I learned in the fog of newborn-induced sleep deprivation.

I had read some books about food earlier, and read two more during this period. Here's my food reading list:
  • Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety, by Marion Nestle. She has written a lot about food and food politics. I read this one a long time ago, as part of a work project I was doing. I came away with the distinct impression that our approach to food safety in this country is driven more by politics and what is convenient for our food industry than by what science tells us about how to best keep our food safe.
  • Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. This one has a definite agenda, and is trying to convince you of the evils of our current system. Therefore, I found it a bit one-sided and often found myself wondering about the counter-arguments that were never made. However, it was still an interesting read. I also read this one a while ago, but a bit more recently than the Nestle book.
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver. This book is a more personal story than the others. It documents how Kingsolver and her family lived on food they grew on their small farm for a year. I found it very thought-provoking, but also a bit sanctimonious at times. I also wanted more balanced information about some of the issues it raises- the author's opinions about food policy issues are often stated as facts. Kingsolver and her family clearly believe passionately that we should eat more locally, and they were able to make changes to live the lifestyle they believe in. It is less clear how to translate this into action that an average family could take.
  • The End of Food, by Paul Roberts. This was definitely the most satisfying of the books for me. It presents a more balanced discussion of the issues, and includes plenty of references. If you only have time to read one book on food, this would be the one I'd recommend. It will give you the information you need to formulate your own opinions- although the author also presents some of his own opinions.
I learned a lot from my reading. For instance, The End of Food has a fascinating discussion of how the addition of meat to our diets has made us bigger and healthier- there is a reason that societies become more carnivorous as they get wealthier. Of course, Americans now eat far more meat than we really need, but I don't think that the solution to our food problems is to all become vegetarians.

So, after all of that reading, what do I think about our food system? Well, I think it is under strain. I think that our approach to food safety is insane. I'd love to see a more rational, science-based approach. For instance, the way we feed our cattle favors the growth of the pathogenic strain of E. coli that causes potentially serious illness (0157:H7). Both Food Safety and The End of Food make the point that if we switch cattle from corn feed to grass or hay before sending them to slaughter, we could significantly reduce the risk of E. coli contamination. Corn feed leads to a more acidic cow stomach, which favors the growth of the of the 0157:H7 strain. This strain can withstand the acidic environment that kills the other strains of E. coli. Unfortunately, this also means that our own acidic stomach environment provides no protection against 0157:H7.

I also think that we are insane to routinely dose our livestock with antibiotics. We do this because it makes them grow a little bigger on the same amount of feed. However, we are essentially breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the process- bacteria will evolve to survive in the presence of the antibiotics. To decrease the risk of this practice, there are some antibiotics that are reserved for human use only. However, given the fact that many different antibiotics work by blocking the same bacterial processes, this seems like a poor safeguard to me.

I routinely buy organic meat, eggs, and milk because these are antibiotic-free. However, it is a lot harder to buy grass-fed beef- my local supermarket does not carry it, and neither does the speciality meat market down the hill from me. I'd have to go to a store in a different part of town to find it, and we frankly just don't have the time right now for that amount of shopping. Grass-fed beef is a bit of a hot item right now, though- several buger joints in town advertise their use of it. This makes me hopeful that I'll be able to buy it in my local stores soon.

Beyond the safety of our food, there is the question of whether we have food security- i.e., do we have enough food to feed everyone, and is that food supply reasonably robust? The End of Food argues rather convincingly that our food security is shaky. Our agricultural industry is very specialized and we are over-reliant on corn and soy. In fact, most farmers plant the same few strains of these crops, which have been optimized to work in our industrialized farm setting. Roberts argues that we should diversify our crops. He makes the case that more medium-size farms, all innovating in their own ways will provide us with a more secure food supply. There are aspects of our government's food policy that work against the development of such a system. I don't feel that I understand our food policy well enough to have firm opinions about how we should change it, but I do think that we should try to include all of the costs of food production in our system- including the environmental costs of our heavy reliances on petroleum-based fertilizers.

So what should I feed myself and my family? I do not have the time (or land!) to make the sort of changes Kingsolver documents in her book. Nor, frankly, do I have that level of interest in gardening. Hubby and I will continue working our office jobs, juggling the demands of work with the needs of our family. We do not have time to shop in four different stores to get our weekly groceries- most weeks, we're lucky to make it to the one supermarket. I have a picky toddler who likes store-bought chicken nuggets but turns her nose up at my home-made breaded chicken strips. I do not have the energy or the desire to fight her on this. I'm mostly happy that there is some meat she is willing to eat. (She also like bacon. She's such a health nut.) Given all of this, I've come up with the following ideas for how we might change our eating habits, once we emerge from the survival mode neccesitated by having a newborn:
  • Eat less meat. Hubby and I both like meat, and we've gotten a bit lazy about including vegetarian meal options in our plans. Unfortunately, I'm a picky eater, too, and am not a big fan of beans (its a texture problem) or fish (I just don't like the taste). Still, I'm a grown up. I can try to get better at this.
  • Eat less processed convenience food- within reason. Pumpkin gets to keep her beloved tortellini and chicken nuggets. But we'll try to introduce more home-made items.
  • Try to buy more regionally. The End of Food argues that locally grown doesn't always make sense, but that it does make sense to try to buy food from your region. I think Pumpkin would enjoy a trip to a farmer's market now and then, and we would all benefit from trying to eat fruits and veggies that are in season in our hemisphere, rather than paying for items imported from the other side of the globe. However, we won't outlaw the imports- we'll just make them more occasional treats.
  • Set up a backyard garden. I have an herb garden now, and we're working to make space for a bigger garden. I think it would be fun to have a garden with Pumpkin (and Petunia, as she gets older). Next on my list of things to grow are tomatoes and zucchini. We may also plant a citrus tree. Citrus trees are thirsty, but we can use our gray water to help water it.
These seem like reasonable steps that I can take without turning my life upside down. Real change, though, will probably need to come from Washington- and I just don't have the time right now to push for that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parenting and Problem Solving

I've been thinking more about why I'm enjoying Petunia's newborn days more than I enjoyed Pumpkin's. This has been prompted in part by AskMoxie's recent post about having a new baby. I also just have a lot of time to think, since I'm nursing Petunia so often. I have tried reading while I nurse, but my neck is a bit tweaked*, and I can't find a comfortable way to read and nurse. So I sit and think instead.

I mentioned in my last post that I think part of the reason I'm enjoying things more this time is that I've already been turned into a mother. One reason I found that process so hard was that it forced me to change my approach to problems. Hubby and I are both planners and problem-solvers by nature. When we have a problem, or just something that needs to get done (like, for instance, grocery shopping or keeping the house clean), we tend to develop processes and try to optimize our solutions. We both like to have a plan for getting our chores done so that we can enjoy some chore-free time without guilt. Before we had Pumpkin, our household was humming along pretty smoothly. We knew when we'd do the grocery shopping (Sunday evening) and when we'd clean our house (every other weekend). We had processes for just about everything we needed to do to keep our lives chugging along, so we had a fair amount of chore free time, which we spent at our local pub or at the beach or out enjoying the many recreation options in San Diego. (I particularly miss kayaking....)

Then we had Pumpkin. This required changes to most of our household-running processes. It also presented us with a new set of problems- getting breastfeeding going, calming a fussy baby, dealing with her sleep issues, etc. I naturally approached these problems like I did any other- I tried to rationally analyze them and find solutions. If you're a parent, you're laughing now, because you know that children aren't really amenable to that approach. Babies certainly aren't! Pumpkin didn't care about my carefully researched and well-thought out plans for improving her sleep. She, in fact, didn't think there was a problem at all. She didn't have a sleep problem- I did.

Eventually, I learned a better way to approach the problems Pumpkin created in my life, such as sleep deprivation. I learned to look at the situation and figure out what problem could actually be solved. There is very little you can do to make a baby sleep. Once I'd tried all of the possible "solutions" that fit with our parenting philosophy and still had a baby who woke up in the middle of the night, I had to admit that the problem of Pumpkin waking up in the middle of the night was not really one that I could solve. I could, however, solve the problem of adults so sleep deprived that they could barely function. And that is what we eventually did.

For me, one of the hardest things about really becoming a mother (as opposed to just being a woman who had a baby) was learning that there are some problems that I can't solve. In fact, there are some "problems" that aren't really problems at all. My children have their own personalities and traits, and those aren't problems for me to fix, even when they create problems in my life. I need to learn how to focus on the problems in my life rather than in my child.

That process is ongoing, but at least I have learned the basic lesson. I think this is contributing to my greater happiness/lower stress this time around. Of course, as I type this, I'm sitting on the sofa, watching Petunia sleep and fretting about how she's sleeping past her usual "pre-bedtime" feeding, and wondering what I should do to "fix" that. Old habits die hard. At least I realize how insane that thought is, though! The real problem is the lack of good sleep for Hubby and me, not when Petunia nurses- she's not even three weeks old, and can't really be expected to have a schedule yet. We think having Hubby do the first post-bedtime feeding with a bottle will help solve our sleep problem. Petunia's just about old enough to get a bottle now, so I've started pumping and we'll try a bottle tomorrow night. I hope that this will work, and get us both a satisfactory amount of sleep, because having another little one in the house has certainly created havoc in our routines- we have lots of problems to solve!


*Actually, my neck is really a mess. I'm not sure why (constrained sleep positions due to C-section? Craning my neck to see Petunia's latch?)- but the pain was so bad that on Saturday, I went back to the ER, fearing a return of the post-epidural problem. The doctor there thought it was more likely to be a muscle spasm, and prescribed a Valium as a muscle relaxant. When I got home and looked it up, I discovered that Valium is a very poor choice for a breastfeeding mother, so I didn't fill the prescription. Instead, I saw my regular doctor on Monday. She prescribed a muscle relaxant that I can take while breastfeeding. I finally got a chance to get that filled today, and will give it a try tonight. I am hoping that one or two nights will be enough to sort my neck out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I've Seen My Future, and There is Not Enough Sleep

Hubby and I are settling into our new roles as parents-of-two. We're trying to figure out how our household is going to run with the new set of responsibilities that came with Petunia. Given our history, it is not surprising that we are trying to do this while in a state of sleep deprivation.

The funny thing is, if Petunia were the only child in the house, we'd be doing great on sleep- at least by our parenting-adjusted standards. Petunia already routinely sleeps one four hour stretch every night- something her older sister didn't do until she was several months old. Unfortunately for me, that four hour stretch is from 7 p.m. until about 11 p.m., and even on a good night, Pumpkin is unlikely to be asleep before 9. Lately, I've been in Pumpkin's room, laying next to her (OK, and maybe dozing a bit) until almost 10.

Petunia sleeps in, too- she gets up for the day at about 7 or 7:30 a.m. I am overjoyed by this. Pumpkin started her days at about 4:30 a.m. when she was a newborn. I remember celebrating when she started sleeping until 5:30 a.m. Pumpkin is still almost always the first one awake in our house, but she has been sleeping in a bit, too- this morning she got up at about 7:20. Her more usual wake up time is 6:30. This later wake up time is undoubtedly related to her later bedtime, and Hubby and I both agree we need to fix it. I want more sleep at night, and he is worried about the morning routine when he goes back to work.

So, between Pumpkin's schedule and Petunia's nighttime wakings, we aren't getting enough sleep. I know from my experience with Pumpkin that I need to get at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep on a fairly regular basis to feel OK. Hubby just needs more sleep, and would also prefer one decent chunk. We're both still getting up for all of the nighttime feedings- I feed Petunia and Hubby changes her diaper, burps her, and puts her back down. This will change soon. Petunia is almost old enough to be introduced to the bottle. Breastfeeding is going really well, so I'm optimistic that the bottle (and the pacifier that we'll probably introduce at about the same time) won't cause any problems. Our plan is to do the same thing we did with Pumpkin, which is to have Hubby give Petunia one bottle per night. He'll do that first middle of the night feeding, and then I'll take over. I am much more mobile now, and can get up in the middle of the night and change diapers. This should get us both the sleep we need.

I can see that we're going to struggle with our morning routines, too. Petunia is awake and wanting to be held at about the same time as we need to be getting Pumpkin ready for day care. The grown ups also want to shower and eat breakfast. I haven't figured out how this is all going to work yet, but I suspect it will involve wearing Petunia in her new Moby Wrap (which she seems to really like).

Other than the issues with setting up our routines, things are going well. I am never going to like the newborn phase as much as I like the older phases, but I am definitely enjoying it more this time around. I think this is partly because Petunia is a more laid back newborn (although she does have her fussy periods), partly because I'm a more laid back mother, and partly because I learned a lot the first time around. I have my breastfeeding "station" all set up. I know that if I start getting a headache, it is probably because I need to drink more. My Mom made me a nursing cover, and between that and my greater confidence with nursing and baby-calming, I am more willing to go places with Petunia than I was with Pumpkin.

I know that I have a lot more to learn. In a year, I expect to be looking back and thinking about how much Hubby and I have figured out and being amazed by it, much as I was at Pumpkin's one year birthday. However, the hardest part of Pumpkin's newborn period was the transition in me. I had to turn myself into a mother. I had to get used to the idea that my needs no longer came first, and accept the fact that there was a little baby who deserved as much of my time and energy as I could give- and who would demand that time and attention from me even when I felt least able to give it. That work has already been done this time around, which allows me to better appreciate the joys of having a newborn. My favorite part is holding her close to me, resting my cheek on her soft hair, and feeling the warmth of her as she cuddles into me. Until she gets a gas bubble and lets out one of her pteradactyl screams, right into my ear.


Thank you all for your nice comments and good wishes on my last two posts. I did a little research about breech deliveries, and feel pretty good about our decision to have a C-section. This post about breech deliveries summarizes things well. I might have been able to have a successful vaginal delivery. However, the fact that Petunia was bigger than Pumpkin decreased my chances of doing so. I also found several papers that indicate a small but significant increase in risk to the baby from attempting a vaginal breech delivery. Since we are pretty sure that we're done having kids (and therefore won't have to face the decision about what to do next time), I suspect that even if we'd had time to research things and make a more careful decision, we would have had a C-section.

For those who are interested: Pumpkin's Reading List has recently been updated.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Well, That Was Fun

Hubby, Petunia, and I spent 6 hours in the emergency room on Saturday night. Thankfully, my Mom was still here, so Pumpkin stayed home with her (and got some sleep).

We ended up at the ER because I had a headache. Yes, a headache. It was a very bad headache, and didn't respond to ibuprofen or Vicodin. It was bearable when I was sitting up, better if I got up and walked around, but unbearable if I tried to lay down- I essentially, couldn't lay down. It came on at about noon, and finally, after dinner, I called the nurse line to see if (1) this was something I should worry about and (2) if there was anything else I could do for the headache. The paged the doctor on call, who sent me to the ER.

Once I got to the ER and was seen by the triage nurses, it was obvious to me that we'd be waiting a while. I clearly wasn't having a true emergency- i.e., I wasn't having a stroke or an aneurysm. Everyone nodded knowingly when I told them I'd had an epidural.

When I finally saw a doctor, she confirmed that this was one of the infamous "epidural headaches". I was given an IV with sugar water, an NSAID that is a little stronger than ibuprofen, and caffeine. Within minutes, my headache was gone. We had to sit there for another hour until the IV was done and the doctor had a chance to come back and check me out. We finally got home a little after 2:30 in the morning. Petunia, bless her heart, was nice and woke up to feed almost as soon as we got home and slept the rest of the night through. We were tired, but not absolutely exhausted, the next morning.

I am trying not too be too annoyed about paying $100 (my ER copay) and wasting 6 hours to get the equivalent of a can of Coke pumped into me. Surely, someone could have just suggested I try drinking a can of Coke?


In other news....

Pumpkin has a new cute phrase: Petunia, like most babies, gets frequent bouts of the hiccups. Pumpkin says she is "hiccing up".

Pumpkin is still loving having a baby sister. We know this can't possibly last, but it is super cute. Pumpkin likes to stroke Petunia's head, give her kisses on top of her head, and give her hugs (supervised carefully, of course).

My general recovery from the C-section is going pretty well. I'm still a bit sore, but am feeling much better. Last night, I even got to lay on my side from time to time! (I've been going crazy because I couldn't really change positions to try to get comfortable at night.) I have to put in a plug (unsolicited, of course) for Benefiber. I've been adding it to my oatmeal in the morning and my, er, system is finally getting back to normal. Yeah, I know- I should just eat more fruits and vegetables. But I'm a picky eater, and I don't feel up to forcing myself to eat things I don't really like right now.

Breastfeeding is still going well. Not surprisingly, given the antibiotics I got during and after the C-section, we developed a case of thrush. Culturelle has cured it beautifully (this is another unsolicited plug- I love this stuff). Once a day, after Petunia has eaten, I break open a capsule and empty the contents into a little bowl. I mix in a very little bit of water, and smear it inside Petunia's mouth and also on me. I put fresh breast pads on and let the little bacteria do their stuff. I also treat myself with some antifungal cream after my shower, and change my breast pads frequently. The thrush seems to be gone, and the damage it caused is healing. I'm hoping that nursing will be pain-free soon!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Unexpected Delivery

We had an unexpected delivery Friday night- our baby finally arrived! We have another little girl. Her blog name has yet to be finalized... I'm thinking that perhaps it will be Petunia. She was 8 lbs 9 oz, and is just perfect.

Since she was two days late, the actual arrival clearly wasn't unexpected. What was unexpected was the manner in which she came: via C-section.

I was sitting on the sofa after dinner when I felt a pop, and thought "gee, I wonder if my water just broke?" It had, and the contractions that had been intermittent and weak all day suddenly started getting a little stronger. So we packed up, kissed Pumpkin good-bye, and left for the hospital. By the time we got there, my contractions were 5 minutes apart, getting stronger, and lasting for over a minute. Thirty minutes later, I was checked into the labor triage area, and a nurse checked me and said I was at 6 cm. I was transferred to a wheelchair and taken up to the labor and delivery room. By the time I got there, my contractions were coming every couple of minutes, lasting what seemed like an eternity, and were quite strong. I was starting to swear at people and was in no doubt about my desire for an epidural. They had started the paperwork for me in triage, so the anesthesiologist was waiting for us in the labor and delivery room. My contractions were much stronger this time than they were when I asked for the epidural with Pumpkin. I have renewed respect for women who choose to deliver without any pain medication- I would not have wanted to do it!

I remembered the anesthesiologist from last time, but only because he has an unusual name- the epidural itself didn't make much of an impression. This time, it took him several tries to get my epidural in. I kept having contractions and couldn't hold still. I also had a hard time relaxing my back. He finally got the epidural in, and I was momentarily a very happy camper. He started talking to me about how I may or may not be able to feel the urge to push, since I was getting the epidural sort of late this time, but that if I didn't push my button for more medicine, my chances were good.

Then my doctor came in to check on me. I was lucky- my doctor was the delivery doctor that night. All the nurses said that he was a great labor and delivery doctor, and I was feeling pretty good... until he looked up and said "You're going to hate me. I feel a butt."

My baby was an undiagnosed breech baby. My doctor explained that I could still try for a vaginal delivery if I wanted, but that he'd recommend a C-section in this case. He said that overall, the statistics show that there is no difference in outcomes for vaginal vs. C-section deliveries for second births. However, he estimated my baby was at least a pound bigger than my previous baby (turns out, he was right on this), and that this could mean I'd have a hard delivery. Since the biggest part of the baby is the head, and that would be coming out last, it would be risky. I knew that Hubby and I were both already pretty exhausted from the many nights of false labor, including the night before, when we'd been up until after 2 a.m. timing contractions that never got closer than 7 minutes apart. Given all of this, we decided to go ahead and have a C-section.

My surgery was quick and uneventful- the baby was born just a little over 2 hours after my water broke (my water broke at 7:35, and the baby was born at 9:52). I never lost the ability to move my legs, so I didn't have to spend too much time in the recovery area. We were in our room before midnight. I was able to breastfeed Petunia for the first time in the recovery area, and she latched on with no problem.

I was still in a bit of shock at how things had turned out, but not feeling too bad until after we got settled into our recovery room. Then I threw up. I threw up several times over then next day- I didn't really feel better until almost dinner time on Saturday, and only started eating normally on Sunday. (The nausea is caused by the anesthesia.) The the long-acting pain medicine that I'd had for surgery began to wear off on Saturday, and I started to really feel the incision. I couldn't get up easily to get Petunia when she cried, so Hubby had to bring her to me. I had a hard time finding a good position for breastfeeding that didn't hurt my incision, so I ended up not positioning Petunia well. I'm still working through the issues that caused. I can't imagine how overwhelmed I'd have felt if Petunia had been my first baby and I didn't know that breastfeeding gets much, much easier.

I'm doing much better now. I can almost walk at my normal pace, and can pick up Petunia without trouble. We did have to switch sides of the bed, though, and put Hubby next to the co-sleeper. We'll switch back as soon as I can lay on my side and turn over easily in bed. Breastfeeding is going really well- Petunia is having am much easier time with it that Pumpkin did.

Without a doubt, I preferred the vaginal delivery- even with the four hours of pushing. I cannot believe that some women actually opt for a C-section. I'd definitely take the pain of labor and the work of pushing over this longer, more difficult recovery!