Angus the Mighty

Sorry to leave y’all hanging . . .

Meet Angus Greer: 20170810_085409_001.jpg

Here’s the story:

When we woke up on Wednesday morning, we knew induction was coming – but we thought we might have up to a week to get things finalized. You know, make a few more burritos, clean the house, that kind of thing.

At 9am, we saw the OB (Dr. Butts – NOT a pseudonym) who scheduled L for induction on Friday night at 11pm. Suddenly, our timeline shrunk by a few days. We left there, but the toddler down for a nap, and tried to figure out what we wanted to have happen in the next couple of days.

At 2:00pm, we had a growth scan and BPP with the MFM doctor. We knew as soon as she walked in that we were not waiting until Friday. Tiny was estimated at just 4lbs and had fallen even further behind on his curve. His placenta was also now showing clear signs of insufficiency. So, it was time. We were told L could go home and pack a bag, then she was to report to the hospital to be induced.

Cue panic. Because with 2 days, we were able to get L’s mom out to Tacoma to help u, but not with just a few hours. We went home, called the most amazing MIL ever (c) who made arrangements to get on a red eye from Indy out to us, then sent a group text to all of our (very small pool) of friends to see if someone could come hang at our house until MIL got here/pick MIL up from the airport.

It was looking a little dicey for a while, but finally we found some folks. I dropped L off at the hospital, then Ansel and I went to run the most important before-baby errands. When we got home, I furiously tried to finish the freezer meal prep I’d started while Ansel ate dinner. Via text, L told me that they had decided to do a pitocin stress test to see how well he would tolerate labor before fully inducing.

By 8:30, I was at the hospital, and the doctors had determined that Tiny did not like contractions and they needed to do a c-section. They took L back for a spinal while I got suited up. We have a very similar picture from two and a half years ago, roles reversed.

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One of L’s biggest childbirth fears was getting a needle in the back for an epidural or, in this case, a spinal. I was waiting in the room while they did this and it was taking a LONG time . . .I was getting nervous that something had gone wrong or they’d forgotten me. Turns out, she was a hard stick even here and they needed ultrasound guidance to get it in! She has a nasty bruise on her back to show for it.

The OR environment felt really different for L’s cesarean than it had for mine. For one, there were far fewer people, and ALL of them – save the grumpy but loveable anesthsiologist – were women, which felt amazing. I sat by her head, and the OB talked to her a lot (the doc who did mine talked about his weekend plans . . .) When Angus came out, they dropped the sheet and showed him to us – a tiny but wailing and pink baby!

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They delayed his cord clamping, then brought him over to get wiped down and assessed. He was so tiny, but so perfect, and scored a 9/9 on his apgar (his brother didn’t do as well!) Once cleaned down, I got to cut his cord!

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Right after this, they put him skin-to-skin with L and we all got to enjoy that moment for a little while!

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We went to the transition room, where Angus was weighed and measured – 17″, 4 lbs, 5.4oz! At the ultrasound earlier they’d estimated him at 4lbs even, so I’m glad it was off by a little! L was feeling a little sick in the recovery room, so Gus and I hung out and got acquainted until she got to feeling less nauseated.

L was able to nurse him here, and despite his small size, he did a good job getting latched and nursing for a bit. Once the hospital had confirmed that he didn’t have to visit the NICU based solely on his size, we got transferred down to the postpartum floor. Of course, then there were visits by various people, getting settled and medicated and set up with pumps and told the feeding protocol for late preterm/very small babies. Angus required regular heel pokes to check his blood sugar and his temperature. None of us got to sleep until almost dawn.

During this time, L’s mom had gotten in and our friend had picked her up and dropped her by the hospital to say hi. She went home to relieve the friend hanging out in the house.

The next morning, she brought Ansel over to meet Angus. He was excited for a while, then he wanted to push buttons.

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Because of his small size and “preemie” status (he was born at 36w4d), he had to undergo additional monitoring – regular blood sugar monitoring, temperature checks, vital signs, car seat test – and he just kept passing with flying colors. Nurse shift changes would come on and being sort of shocked and horrified at his size, get cold and hard with us about rules and then . . .they’d soften because he was just doing so well. No jaundice, no temperature issues, nothing . . .just so, so small.

He did so well that L and Gus were released on Friday morning, less than 48 hours after he was born – shocking both for a cesarean and for such a small baby. But we were all happy to break out of the hospital – L needed to quit having people barge in, Gus needed people to quit poking him in the heel, I needed to not be sleeping on a lumpy cot, and Ansel needed to wake up to his moms at home.

Life has been a blur since then. Angus is, like most early and small babies, very sleepy. We have to wake him up to eat, otherwise he’d just snooze all day. He also has to get supplements after eating in order to boost his calorie intake. At the hospital, we got donor milk to supplement nursing. L started pumping the night Gus was born, and managed to get 3 cc’s of colostrum that night (hello, milk maid!) So as she’s built up her small stash, we’ve been able to cross over to just using her pumped milk to supplement his feeds. The first night we were home I also pumped a little to help – but barely managed to squeeze out 5 cc’s, so either Ansel is getting next to nothing or I just really don’t respond to a pump anymore. In any case, it was a special thing but ultimately is no longer necessary because L’s milk is fully in and she is very easily feeding him exclusively on her milk.

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But, the process of nursing + supplement feeding + pumping is exhausting for everyone. Because Angus doesn’t wake up on his own, we have to set alarms to feed him. We both get up to feed him – L nurses then hands him off to me to supplement feed (with a SNS on my finger) and pumps. The whole process can take an hour +, which then leaves just two hours for sleeping.

And unlike when Ansel was born, we now also have to be on our game to raise a toddler who is having a LOT of feelings about having his schedule interrupted, his mommy unable to play with him in the same way, and a new baby brother taking up time and space.

It’s nice to be a two mom family with two gestational and breastfeeding parents in this case. I have taken on the bulk of caring for Ansel, both because it’s more physical work and L is recovering from a cesarean, but also because he seeks me out for comfort nursing. I’m glad we are able to split the ‘work’ in this way and give Ansel some focused energy and resources.

But, the downside is that I am not getting a lot of time with Gus. Ansel has been struggling if he sees me handling or feeding Angus, although he now seems to believe me when I assure him that Angus only gets the milk from mommy’s boobs – not any of his milk from me. It’s improving slightly, but still rough. His sleep has been tough – nighttime wake-ups that require me to sit next to him until he falls asleep, naps that are deeply delayed even when I am rocking/nursing him to sleep – and he is generally quicker to tantrums and frustrations, sadder at times and not handling transitions between activities well. That said, he’s still joyful and happy and kind on the whole, and I very much trust that he will adjust soon. Tonight he was able to tell me he was sad that L wasn’t reading stories with us, as she has usually done during his bedtime routine. We compromised by taking the books to her and reading.

So right now, I’m beyond tired. But I am also deeply grateful for my amazing mother in law, who is making life possible right now. She’s cooking and hanging out with Ansel (she took him to the zoo this morning so we could have some time just moms + Angus) and in all her ‘free time’ she also built Ansel a custom red and blue sandbox. Because midwest virgo.

Tomorrow Gus goes back to the pediatrician to check weight. He was released from the hospital at 4 lbs 1 oz, and had dropped another half ounce by the following day at the doctor. All told, he’s done really well with weight loss but, obviously, we don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to his weight. Fingers crossed he’s gained, not lost. I cannot imagine he hasn’t gained weight – dude eats all the time. 

I’m sure I’m forgetting things I wanted to talk about here but . . .that’s the breaks. 2 kids is no joke . . .but I truly believe once L has healed a bit and Angus gas gained some weight, we’ll settle into things a bit more. And, I have 6 weeks of full time leave ahead (then another 12 part time) so we’ll have space to figure things out!

Now, more pictures!20170814_110746.jpg

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Final Countdown

Another week, another round of appointments.

All good news – L & Tiny ‘passed’ the NST with flying colors, and BPP looks good – adequate fluid, good blood flow in umbilical cord, practice breathing.

Thanks to everyone for weighing in on the scheduled cesarean vs. induction question. While it’s not 100% yet, I think L is planning on starting with induction. Barring, of course, any further complications or developments. Next week is another growth scan and MFM appointment, NST and OB appointment. At the OB appointment, we will likely schedule the induction.

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In other news:

It’s too fucking hot in the pacific northwest.

Irony: A year ago (almost to the day – we moved on the 6th) I LOL’d about the “extreme heat advisory’ for the 90 degree + temps, since that’s just called “summer” where I come from. And yeah, it was hot, but whatever. L convinced me we needed to buy a small room AC unit and we used it for the next couple of weeks.

But now I’m used to the 50-70 degree range that Seattle stays in 10 months out of the year (it’s my fave temp range anyway!) and I prefer my life with a cardigan so I’m SO OVER the heat. Also my partner is 9 months pregnant and has cankles and I don’t want her to suffer, either. (side note: If #3 happens, I will be sure to get pregnant in the summer so as to avoid ever having to experience this pregnant-in-the-summer phenomenon.

L reported to me earlier today that a window AC unit was on sale at Freddies, so I guess we have one of those in our room now, too.

 

Last weekend one of our besties, who moved to Cleveland a year before we moved to Seattle, came to visit. She’s one of my most favorite people in the world. We only got to spend 36 hours together, but in that time we laughed a lot, she helped us shelve books and hang pictures, she played hard with our kid and gave us some tips for his more challenging behavior (former Montessori preschool teacher friends are the best!) and we all took a nap together on the couch while watching Golden Girls (napping in the presence of friends is one of my favorite things!) – which we can do because our new couch is huge! I’m really so grateful for friends who will continue to show up across distance, because it really re-energized me to spend time with her.

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And, we are implementing her suggestion to help curb Ansel’s love of throwing things off of tables (coffee cups, toys, glass lamp covers . . .)

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So far, it seems like he understands the basic premise, and we are able to have a (limited) conversation about things when he engages in the less desirable behavior. This tool, like the others we’ve instituted (helping him name his feelings and find appropriate responses, the use of the phone timer to set clear boundaries about when things happen) feels like a good way to provide some structure without shaming or limiting his behavior unfairly. I want him to feel able to explore and play, and I don’t want to ‘punish’ him for things. I also want him to understand the value of his own safety, the safety of others, and keeping our things safe. Especially as we get ready to have a tiny baby in our home . . .

This weekend, A and I head to Portland (where it’s even hotter. Ugh) to celebrate our friend’s kids b-day, and to have a Mama and Ansel ‘vacation’ (this is how L is referring to it, anyway) We’ll swim and eat chicken nuggets (well, he will) and hang out with our friends. L will do baby laundry and put her cankles up on the AC, and we’ll all get ready for our last week as a family of three!