Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Three Weeks

Rafi is three weeks old today. It's going much too quickly! I can't believe how much he's growing, and while it's so lovely to see him thriving and growing, a big part of me is so sad that it's passing so quickly.

And growing he is! Yesterday Rafi was projectile vomiting all over the place, We were in Panera when all of a sudden up came his breakfast all over me, him, and the seating. I carry several outfits for him in his diaper bag and we were fast running out of them!

He was sick pretty much throughout the day so I called the nurse and she suggested we come in. We saw a very nice Dr who though Rafi looked just great... and since he weighed in at 8 pounds 12 he us gaining plenty of weight!! That's more than two pounds in two weeks!

He's growing out of some of his outfits, too... I wish we could hit the pause button even though this is also a challenging time,

In other news...

1) We had a really fun photo session on Sunday with a local photographer. I can hardly wait for the proofs! They'll be online if anyone is interested in checking them out.

2) Rafi has started to vomit a lot... It's making feeding times a bit anxiety provoking. I'm hoping it gets better soon :(

3) I've been out on my bike a couple of times and it feels so good to be outside in the fresh air. Getting in some activity on a daily basis seems pretty key to good mental health.

4) We're planning on having a naming-ceremony... a post to come about that!

5) I am so grateful for all the wonderful meals everyone has been leaving for us!!

6) THANK YOU, Eileen, for offering to come and sit with Rafi!!!

Some more pics, of course!

his three week birthday.... his first time on a bike!

Friday, July 24, 2009

First Bath...

Rafi is more than two weeks old, but until this evening we'd not bathed him.. not even a sponge bath! Our poor child. So this evening I felt embarrassed enough to give him his first bathing experience. Frankly Rich and I had been worried that we might drop him! Fortunately we managed not to, and whilst he didn't love it, he didn't seem too traumatized.

So here is the event in pics...

(in other news, Rafi has his 2 week check up with Deb. He is gaining lots of weight. He's already at 8 pounds 4. What a big fella he's becoming. He got to see some of his favourite people at the Dr's. Bernie and Casey, deb's assistants, are so sweet to him! He just loves it :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The (mostly) good and (a little bit of) bad

Some of my favourite things about being a mama:

I love taking care of his basic needs: dressing him, changing him, feeding him, playing with him..

I love walking with him in his sling.

I love having him sleep with us.. he just loves to snuggle!

I love watching his personality emerge. I love his crinkled little face when he gets flustered, and his furrowed brow which makes him look very serious.

I love how he lifts his neck and cranes it, which makes him seem quite reptilian!

Favourite things about not being pregnant!

I love how I am not sick and nauseous anymore!

I love how my kidneys function properly!

I love how I can workout with a bit more intensity.

.. and some challenges...

Nursing is wonderful, but also it is VERY HARD. I have been so lucky in that I've not really experienced any soreness, but it is a full time job and I have felt a little trapped this past few days. He nursed - well, cluster fed, for six hours a couple of nights ago. I thought I was going to have a breakdown. The upside is that when he does this he sleeps for a long period afterward. He hasn;t done that this evening and I'm preparing myself for many wake ups tonight.

Of course time is not longer my own, and this is quite difficult to get used to...

I am not loving those hormonal shifts: from menopausal-like hot flashes at night, to a touch of the baby blues this past couple of days. I have indeed been a bit weepy, though I feel a lot better today.

And not being pregnant... I miss the anticipation of the birth :)

Mostly this is a wonderful time, though, and here are some pics of the little guy sleeping.. which he does a lot of :

)Is that a sleepy smile forming...

It's hard to type recently, because I have a little guy who likes to be held for most of the day... and night. This is a joy, of course, but also it's really difficult to do anything!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two weeks old!

Rafi is two weeks today!! Time is flying and I wish, wish it would slow down. We're having such a lovely time. Today I went to the gym very early, Rafi napped with papa, and I came home and we watched the Tour de France together.... We then napped for a long time and the traveling nurse came for a visit. Rafi has gained lots of weight! He was down to about 6 pounds 10oz when we weighed him at the Dr's, but last Wednesday he was almost at his birth weight (7 pounds 2), according to the nurse's scale.. and today he weighed in at 8 pounds 1oz! That's practically a pound in one week.

This was a major relief. I hadn't expected to be so anxious around breast-feeding, but you're essentially responsible for someone else's nutrition.. and you are sort of left guessing as to how much they're getting. So well done Rafi!! And even though he has just nursed NON STOP for the past 4-5 hours, nursing has been going quite well.

I downloaded a few shots of Rafi when he was first born... so to mark his second week birthday, here they are! Oh, yes, we're having some professional photographs taken on Sunday. This is very unlike us... but we'd love to have some good snapshots of the little fella.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Surviving our first day

We've had a busy week... we had more visitors, including Ren(!), and this weekend we popped to the veg fest, which Rich usually helps to organize. This year we were just guests. We saw lots of friends who had hosted our second baby shower, and we also got to hang out with Kim and Joe who came specially to meet Rafi. On Sunday we got to see Jen and Sage! Jen and family had been on a family holiday when Rafi was born. We felt for sure they'd be back for the birth, but of course the little guy was 9 days early. So we were very excited to see them. We headed out to Whole Foods to meet them so we could get in a food shop, too, and it was just LOVELY seeing them. Sage was very, very sweet and whispered to Jen that she'd like their family to have a baby :) She was so gentle with him, rubbing his feet and feeling his soft skin. I forgot my camera, but Jen brought hers so we'll hopefully have some pics to share.

Today was our first day on our own... Eek. I can see now why people have family come and stay during these early weeks. It is VERY hard on your own. Going to the bathroom is a major event, and God forbid I need a drink.. Rafi loves to be held - and if he's not being held he likes to be eating :) And boy does this little one like to eat.

So far today has been going okay, though. Rafi slept for 6 hours last night. We got up around 3:45am and I nursed him for a good hour (he likes to nap on the job making nursing not the most efficient thing in the world). We went back to bed around 5ish and since he was fussing I asked Rich to take him downstairs for some daddy-time so I could nap for an hour before Rich left. I got up feeling somewhat refreshed and showered... and then the realization set in that Rich would not be back until close to 8pm as, unfortunately, he also has his night class this evening. I regarded the pile of washing up and dirty clothes with some dread and decided that we'd find a way to get somewhat organized. After another a feed I put Rafi in his sling and we headed our for a beautiful summer walk. He mostly sleeps in the sling and was still in deep slumber when we returned. This allowed me to get to the washing, washing up, and I also got to prepare lunch!

We planned to meet Rich at lunchtime for a picnic as I had an appointment with Deb in the afternoon. Getting out the house proved to be not the easiest thing in the world. I fed him, he pooped, I changed him, and he immediately popped again... I changed his outfit because of the inevitable spit up, started the car, put him in his seat.. and, yep, he was sick all over his new outfit. With the car going I ran upstairs to change him and, yes, another poop :) We had the car seat trauma again (he has a meltdown every time we put him in it) and eventually we were on our way....

Time has taken on new meaning... I used to be pathologically early for everything, and now we are LATE for absolutely every thing we've planned. I guess we're on Rafi-time...

We enjoyed a quick lunch with Rich, me trying to feed Rafi.. and then off to see Deb. The people who work at Deb's office are so amazingly lovely. From the women behind the reception desk to the nurses and medical techs who assist Deb. When we got to the room to be seen everyone came in to see the little guy. He is very well loved :) This was a postpartum appointment for me, and it was lovely to see Deb. While I haven't felt at all depressed I have been feeling a little bit sad that we don't have any family nearby.. Our friends are simply amazing - and it feels very much like we have our own extended family here in Maine - but there is a little lack which I feel quite intensely sometimes. Thus it was good to connect with Deb who isn't just a wonderful Dr. but is also a really generous and warm human being.

And now we're home... Rafi has been feeding non-stop. I have my laptop here with me, typing with one finger as Rafi now sleeps off his milk-fix. I'm going to try and get dinner in a bit (wish me luck) and then an evening walk with the puppies.. though we'll have to wait for dad to help with puppies, I think.

We've almost survived our first day. Not sure what's in store for tomorrow, though I think I may head to the gym early in the morning... well, if Rafi is ready for me to leave!

I think we'll find a routine soon enough.. but would love to hear about readers' routines with babies and kids.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rafi's first week in snapshots

General cuteness..

Taking it easy with pa...

Nestling in his sling.

So cute in his sling :)

Our first family neighborhood walk!

We've had quite a few visitors!

Thank goodness for Eileen!

Maggie visited us on Rafi's first week birthday!

Maggie brought us some delicious food!

Kate and Linda visited us on Sunday, and we enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood, the poppet in his sling (THANK YOU Dave and Jen!)

Monday, July 13, 2009


I've been wanting to write about the birth and the preceding days, but, oh boy, a little one makes it really hard to do much of anything! He doesn't like to be put down, which means that one of us holds him most of the time. This is blissful.. but of course doesn't let you do much of anything. But Rafi is sleeping on his papa's knee so I thought I''d steal a few moments.

I'll start by saying that we had the most wonderful and joyful birth - and every time I think about it I feel close to tears. The days preceding the big day, though, were very hard. As I wrote last weekend, I went to the L&D last Saturday when I was experiencing contractions every four minutes. They came with such regularity and with such intense back pain that i thought it wise to go in. But, as we know, these pressure waves were doing very little... As we left I joked to the nurse (who turned out to be the wonderful and lovely Megan) that we'd no doubt be back a few times for false alarms - and said 'see you tomorrow'.

Another sleepless night Saturday, and the back pain was getting ever more intense. It was a real misery fest. I called the on-call Dr. again on Sunday and explained the symptoms... she suggested that I go in again to the L&D for some pain relief just so that I could sleep. Feeling like a bit of a wimp I said I'd duke it out at home. I spent the most beautifully sunny day (the first in months, it seemed) in front of the TV, trying for any relief on the birthing ball. The back pain was so horrible that I was close to being sick. The Dr. thought that this might be prodromal back labor, which brings about its own special brand of misery... Thinking that it would peter our at any moment, though, I sat with it all day - the pain getting evermore intense. At 10pm I went to bed only to find myself withering, quite literally, in agony. And so I called the poor on call Dr. again.. I was thankful that it was someone else because I'd been hassling the other Dr. (who was very kind to me) all weekend.

Explaining the pain to this Dr. she too directed me to the L&D just so that I could get comfortable. And so close to midnight last Sunday back we were with Megan at the L&D. This time i was not really contracting... and was just dealing with the searing pain. The plan was to give me a shot of morphine and sleeping aid since I was on day three of no sleep. I sent Rich home thinking that I would be asleep and comfortable in no time, and whilst I felt horrible giving my poor little poppet narcotics, it felt as though I had no choice whatsoever. The pain, at this point, felt completely unmanageable.

At 1am the nurses gave me the shots and I waited and waited and waited for relief... Oh, imagine my dismay when the medicine took not the edge of the pain. By the time Megan came into the room I was once again withering on the bed on all fours wondering how on earth I'd get through this.

I can't overstate how much Megan and another nurse Moira helped me that night. They advocated me in every way, keeping the Dr. informed and describing what was happening. In the wee hours they brought in a sonographer from the main hospital and at 4am they were checking my kidneys. Unfortunately lying on the table was excruciating and I found myself - AGAIN! - on all fours, on the floor, vomiting from the pain. Megan and Moira were right there with me, rubbing my back and comforting me in any way that they could. It was the most intense pain I have ever felt... Frankly the next few hours are a blur, but I spoke to the Dr. on the phone who advised me that something was awry with my kidneys. They're still not sure of the etiology - though it might have been the poppet sitting on my renal tubing, or, according to the urologist, it might have been a hormone provoked pregnancy kidney condition... The Dr. also said that the only real way to address this was for the baby to come - and to come soon.

I felt relief run through me, but also dread as I saw in my future a series of interventions.. and, really, what about my natural, gentle, hypnobabies childbirth?

As Monday progressed, though, I began to care less about the experience of birth. Megan and Moira were replaced with the most lovely, lovely nurse Christina, and all day she was with me, trying to help me get through the pain. Rich walked in around 9am expecting to be picking me up - but instead I was on the floor - again - virtually wailing in agony. At this point I was not caring too much about our birth plan.. and I was ready for them to knock me out! But, by 7pm the pain was somewhat under control. Deb had talked to the anaesthesiologist about a possible epidural given everything - but they said that this wouldn't help with the kidney pain. I was feeling quite scared at this point, and skeptical that I could get through the birth unmedicated. But with the pain somewhat managed the natural birth we waned somehow again seemed possible, so I told Deb that I would labor for as long as possible with no meds.. after all, I wanted very much to use the hypnobabies strategies I'd been working on - and I wanted to wear my specially purchased Binsi birthing skirt :)

That night I was given a cervical ripener in preparation for the pitocin. I was dreading the pitocin, but also increasingly excited that I'd be meeting our little guy sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday! That night Megan stayed with me for most of the wee hours, kindly rubbing my sore legs, keeping me company, helping me with all the preparations. The plan was for Deb to come around 11am on Tuesday morning to perhaps break my waters - and then to start the pitocin. Rich popped home to take the puppies to doggy camp for the upcoming days, and when he returned Deb arrived to see where we were. I'd been having contractions, but they were so light I didn't give them much thought. Much to my delight, though, I was 4cms dilated and 50% effaced! Yes, I was in labor... Deb finished breaking my waters and we predicted that the baby might arrive that day... though I'm not sure how confident people really were :)

Rich and spent some time chatting, and the lovely Christina and a nurse in training joined us. CC visited us around noonish just as the contractions were getting a little more difficult. I'm sure I must have looked a sight as I was still leaking amniotic fluid everywhere as I used the birthing ball!! When CC left Rich and I walked up and down the hallways, me stopping every time a pressure wave came, using the walls, rails, and Rich for support. We found Christina and I said that the waves were getting very intense and very close together... Since I'd only been in labor a couple of hours it didn't seem likely that I'd progressed very far.. but within half an hour I was unable to walk down the hall and we all went back to the room. Waves were very close together - less than a minute apart - and they were so intense that I put my hypnobabies CD on each time one would start. I can't express enough how supportive and wonderful Rich, Christina and Melissa (the student nurse) were. They took care of many of the preferences that I'd asked for.. the soft lighting, the lightness of spirit and humor in the room, as well as the ongoing loving support by all.

Things were moving so quickly! Around 2:45ish I said to Christina that I felt as though I needed to push... of course it was hard to take me seriously given that I'd only been in labor for a few hours, but I felt so sure that I was going through the transition stage. Whilst these waves were very intense, though, I managed - much to my shock - to stay focused on the hypnobabies strategies, and I think I was quite calm (though people who were there please feel free to disagree!). Still, Christina said she'd check me.. and she said, almost in a whisper to Melissa, 'there's no cervix left'. Yes, I was fully dilated!! They called Deb!

By this point I was in the tub, breathing through the waves, and not really knowing what to do in terms of pushing. Deb arrived and all these wonderful women offered encouragement and instruction on what to do. Frankly, I couldn't get the hang of the pushing business, and I was feeling quite exhausted. The preceding nights of no sleep were perhaps catching up with me. Indeed I even fell asleep during a wave whilst in the tub, and I woke up after a couple of seconds saying 'budget'! I had dreamt, in that very short time, that Rich was working for Deb, and that she'd asked him to sort out the budget! I took the time to explain this before the next wave :)

The tub was so soothing and I didn't want to get out, but Deb isn't able to catch babies in the tub so they encouraged me to get out. I have to admit that I took my time, trying for more time in the peaceful water! After a while they managed to coax me out and I started to push - though not before I asked them to cover me since I hadn't totally lost all sense of modesty... I managed to find some focus and listen to what they were telling me to do. It seems as though I'd been a bit dainty in the tub. They really do mean BEAR down when they say it. This was by far the most difficult part for me, perhaps because I hadn't gotten to that part in my hypnobabies instruction! Still, it was a short time - perhaps an hour or so of total pushing - when Deb said I could turn and feel the poppet's head. What an amazing experience. Before too long I could feel that ring of fire.. and there he was. Unfortunately he came out with his hand on his head... so use your imagination to think about the implications.

The next few moments are quite a blur - but I remember Rich cutting the umbilical cord and then him being placed on my chest. It was sheer bliss. Rich played our birthing song (It's a wonderful World) and we spent some time basking in the euphoria of bringing a little person into the world. It was simply the most wondrous experience of my life. Eventually Rafi was taken by the nurse to get checked over and then he was returned and we snuggled and cuddled him, not quite believing what had happened.

Th birth could not have gone any more beautifully (though Megan, the other nurse, wasn't there). It was peaceful and serene and the amazing women helping me left me feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thank you to everyone. I have some pictures to post of the day, too, but I'm attempting to put together a movie-picture montage.. lets see how that goes. I have to say that I had no idea how intense a newborn can be!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rafi is here!

Rafael Oliver-Campbell (middle name to be decided.. suggestions welcome!) arrived on July 7th, 2009 at 4:18pm! the last few days have been a whirl-wind, and, wow, what a time we've had. We should be home tomorrow so I can write about what happened, but it was a wonderful, wonderful birthing day.. following a few days which were, well, hellish.

We just adore the little guy. He's perfectly healthy and wonderful, weighing in at 7 pounds 3oz, 19 inches... he was 9 days early. We had an AMAING birth when at first it seemed as though we were going to have a birthing story replete with interventions... Can't wait to update!

Getting to know our little Rafi!

One of the most adorable pictures EVER!

Julia came to visit us!