And then there were 3

{I promise I wrote this post relatively immediately after the baby was born, I was just waiting for the birth pictures to add! He’s now 11 weeks old and I head back to work next week…}

Remember when I told you I was pregnant five months ago? Well, Baby McMillan #3 arrived on October 20th in HIS own little way.

The remainder of my pregnancy went smoothly with normal complaints, especially chasing 2 olders, but nothing extremely noteworthy. Just a big old belly, of which I have so few pictures.

The last week of my pregnancy every evening contractions would come and then go, but on the evening of the 18th they were more intense, more regular and I knew that delivery couldn’t be much further away. I did sleep that night off and on, and even went to kettlebell class at 5am because I was up and I figured it would do nothing except maybe hurry things along. I went to work. Tied some loose ends up and saw a few patients, then headed to my OB appointment that afternoon, all the while having contractions every 10 minutes or so, stopping my path if I needed to, but more than anything I was okay to have a distraction from an impending labor.  At my appointment I was dilated 4cm and my doc offered an admission on L&D, I declined, knowing I likely had multiple hours of labor to go, and knowing my husband was 2 hours away helping with soybean harvest on my family’s farm. I, instead, headed to the grand opening sale of the the Carter’s/Oshkosh store near the clinic and spent $100 🙂 I then went home, washed dishes, picked up toys, finished a load of laundry and generally made sure the house would be ready for my pending abscence. I called my husband and let him know that once he was done hauling his current load of beans, he should head back home. I certainly knew I was in early labor, and just didn’t know how to predict the speed of it all once active labor started for the third time in 4 years. I also alerted our friend who volunteered to stay with our boys while we were gone that tonight was our night. When she came over she helped the boys eat supper and was keeping them entertained while I wandered around the house generally doing nothing but breathing through contractions – she has not had any children yet, and she confirmed that watching me in early labor was certainly not convincing her that she wanted to have a baby anytime soon. We got the boys settled into bed and then got in the car and headed to the hospital.

It was after 9 before we were roomed in triage – I was still about 4 cms dilated and spent the next hour wandering around, because if I laid down the contractions would slow. It just felt like something wasn’t quite right – I knew I was in labor, I was getting exhausted and I really wanted them to break my water, but my physician wasn’t on call and they were pretty busy that night, so they didn’t really need me rushing along. At 10 o’clock I was still about 4 cms, I as I wandered the halls getting through my contractions and willing them to pick up speed, because them just seemed too spaced out to make changes happen. I had a moment of pure frustration and the tears poured out of my eyes – I was hurting, I was tired, and I was worried them were going to send me home. I laid down to be checked at 11pm, and finally she decided I was 5cm and constituted official admission. I asked again to have my bag of water broken – they asked if I wanted an epidural, and at that point I was still on the fence about it. I wanted to do it without at least once, but this was all moving so slowly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to endure without an epidural. They put in my IV, and my care was exchanged from the triage nurse to my labor nurse – she was a proponent for no epidural if I was, and so we headed down that path, all the while I think I was still just reserving my request for an epidural, not really sure why I wasn’t getting one, knowing that the pain was certainly going to get worse.

I walked the halls, I labored in the tub, the contractions got stronger, but still spaced out if I rested anywhere. Finally at 2am the resident came to break my water. She struggled, because my cervix was still so posterior, and with her “sorry my fingers are short,” issues it took her a little while to accomplish that. With my previous labors I had an epidural in place before they broke my water. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was doing okay, so I soldiered on, thinking, I can always change my mind. My nurse was amazing and kept me on track. Very quickly the contractions picked up pace. No place was comfortable really, but I found myself swaying by the bed or propped up on all fours on the bed most of the time. The tub helped some, laying down was awful as was squatting or sitting on anything. At 3 o’clock I was 6-7cms, so I called the photographer who had a 30 minute drive and I got back into the tub. Things started to get rough. Rough enough to wake up my husband with my “noisiness.” I saw the photographer walk in, but I didn’t even really acknowledge her presence.

I looked at my nurse from the tub and said, “if I am not 8 cm, I need an epidural.” She nodded, offered that if I wasn’t making progress that “maybe a dose of IV meds and I’ll start your fluid bolus and call the anesthesiologist if that’s what you really want.”

At 3:56 I got out of the tub, I was 8 cm and was now very internally motivated to push. She called the doc and another nurse came to the room. I remember seeing the resident come in and garb up, and I was pushing… on all fours at the end of the bed. I told them he was coming, and they tried to get me to lay down but I physically could not, there was a baby in the way of me moving anywhere. I told the nurse again that he was coming and I remember seeing the resident plastered against the back wall in her sterile gown. With one big push at 4:07 am, my wonderful (and liar, liar pants on fire nurse who was never going to let me get an epidural 😉 ) nurse helped me deliver my third little boy.

The actual physician arrived a few minutes later, LOL. We had known since finding out this baby was a boy that he would be named Lukkes (pronounced like Lucas) because that was my husband’s mother’s maiden name. We had still not agreed on a middle name. After Jesse watched me deliver our son without any pain medication, he deemed it my choice for the middle name, and so, Lukkes Grey was named.

He came out looking just like his older brothers, especially a clone of Thomas. Same terribly furrowed brow, wide nose and big lips, but a TON of hair in comparison to his older siblings. He was (and continues to be) perfection. He weighed 7# 12oz, was 20.5 inches long with a 14 inch head.

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By some miracle of miracles, I avoided needing any repairs – I actually suspect that he was laying OP (sunny side up) for the majority of my labor and finally turned, and BOOM, birthday. In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t have an epidural, because if he really was OP (hence my back labor and cervix that wouldn’t move anteriorly), my ability to move around likely helped him finally flip over, and if I would have gotten an epidural I would have laid in the bed, possibly extending my labor and necessitating Pitocin and who knows what else. However, if there is ever to be a 4th McMillan baby, I would likely get an epidural. Why? Because labor hurts, pain gains you nothing, you get the same baby. And why didn’t I get one this time?? I’ve thought about that a lot – I guess it was kind of a bucket list thing – had to do it once, don’t really desire to do it again.

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The older brothers have taken a liking to him, especially Jackson, who turned 4 in September. Thomas, who will be 2 on Thanksgiving day, likes the baby and is interested in him in small doses, but doesn’t grasp the permanence of this person in our family. I’ve now deemed our family the McMillan Circus, because that what most of our life feels like – truth be told, it did before, too. Lukkes is a sweet baby, but goes from zero to feisty crying – I believe that is purely a third child defense mechanism that allows him to be noticed. He’s a spitty and semi-colicky little guy – he hates burping. He is amazingly awake and alert most of the day, and sometimes at night.

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We tried on multiple attempts for the photographer to get newborn pics with him sleeping – out of 6 hours, he slept for about 45 minutes and woke up if touched. He was deemed “the naughtiest” newborn to photograph. Oh well.. these are a few that we did get (creds to sara dawn photography for birth and newborn photos).

 

So, here we are. McMillan, party of five. Which means my posts will likely become even less frequent, but, if I have anything meaningful to share, I’ll pop in from time to time 🙂

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breastfeeding & pumping & being a working mother

My goal when Jackson was born was to breastfeed him for one year. I didn’t really know what I was asking of myself, my emotions and my body, when I set that goal. I was lucky. First of all, I had helped so, so many women start breastfeeding when I worked L&D, so I understood the basics and knew the tips and tricks for starter success. Secondly, I was anatomically set up for breastfeeding success – not too big, not too little. And lastly, I made plenty of milk.

The first three months of Jackson’s life I was tremendously busy with school, but was on maternity leave from work, and a significant amount of my pumping went into the freezer, because I was able to feed him at my lunch breaks when he was at home with the nanny. When I went back to working 12 hour shifts at the hospital and Jackson went to daycare, I had to learn a good pumping system. I’d pump right before I left for work, and twice during each shift. Some days it was easy to slip away from the activity of the hospital floor to pump, other times it took a little more planning and sometimes I just had to say things had to wait, because pumping was really important. Like most pumping mothers of today, I spent my pumping time catching up on FB, blog reading, and making phone calls home to check on my baby. I also tried to eat a snack every time I pumped, making the most of my time. I’d pump about 10 minutes, which really isn’t a significant amount of time, but it was enough time to pump more than enough for Jackson to eat. While pumping gets old quickly, it has been worth all of the headache. It really has.

Now, Jackson is 10 months old (let’s be real, almost 11 months old 😦 ) and my body is no longer over producing. I’m making just enough to send to daycare the next day. When this first started to happen, I began to panic, even though I find it nice to not be freezing milk constantly. I have a stash in the freezer, too, should I start to not keep up, but I think I’ll make it through the next 2 months. Then I get to start the process of weaning, which will probably be equally hard on both Jackson and I. Jackson still nurses 3 times in 24 hours directly from the boob during those day when I have to work – evening, mid-night, and morning, and gets 2 bottles at daycare. Once he’s a year old I’ll keep that up until I dry up, but I will not keep pumping. Will not. I’m proud of myself for providing this for Jackson for a year, even when I couldn’t always be physically present. It’s been one hell of a committment. And, it’s been worth it.

The days I stay home with Jackson and I don’t have to pump are awesome (like today!!). It’s just us, and I love it. Women who are afforded this luxury full-time are lucky, and I am jealous. I am excited to move on with my career and the next steps that are in my path… but I also wish that we could afford to have me stay home. I wish I didn’t miss those little moments and was afforded the ability to fix every problem throughout the day. However, this is the life I knew I’d have. These are the sacrifices I knew I’d have to make. And I’m really excited to be a nurse practitioner!

I have made a decision and accepted one of the positions I wrote about, and I will fill you all in soon. I am officially done with all of my graduate school commitments. ALL OF THEM. I just have to attend my hooding ceremony in August. And take boards. My life has made some of the most dramatic changes I’ve ever encountered in the last 12 months. It has been amazing, exhausting, and crazy.

I now hope to have a smidgen more time to blog, and I hope to provide an interesting and somewhat original insight into working motherhood. And make some mommies out there feel okay that their child watches Frozen at least once per day, eats Gerber graduates snacks instead of organic, and has more toys than he knows what to do with… but is SO, SO loved.

breastfeeding and blogging after baby

Breastfeeding:

SO, turns out my body loves to make milk… maybe even more than my sweet baby likes to drink it. And he loves ‘dem boobies. I know long before he does that he’s hungry. I’ve had to make calls to the lactation consultant for tips on how to not be a miserable milk cow. I have ginormous boob/rocks on my chest… that no one enjoys but Jackson.

I tried really, really hard to wean off the pumping when he was about 5 days old. (For the love of God, I’ve iced these bad bitches, people do that to stop breastfeeding, I do it for survival). And at 8 days old I ended up in the hospital, required to pump. While things are slightly more in sync now, I start clinicals on Tuesday and will be back to pumping. I will have to pump both sides simultaneously to try to cut down on the number of pumps, but I also know that will juice-up my production again.  And make me miserable at night, when only one side at a time gets eaten off of.

My little man gorges himself. And sometimes I let him, despite knowing the consequence is watching him spit a lot of it back up… because he empties me out so much better than the pump, and therefore I have less “miserable” time.

So, please, anyone have any advice? I know, I know… I’m so lucky. Kinda lucky like the chicks that get pregnant when their husbands just look at them too long. And I am grateful my little man is getting as much breast milk as his rapidly doubling chin desires. However, as he sweetly sleeps beside me, my right boob is about to explode. This can’t go on like this. And, to appease the boobie, I’ll pump it for like 3 minutes, get 3 ounces, and inadvertently tell my body we’re feeding sextuplets.  God help me…

Blogging after Baby:

I love to write, and blogging has been a wonderful outlet through fertility challenges and pregnancy, a source of communication with my far away family and friends, and place to connect with other bloggers.

However, I refuse to takes anytime away from my baby to blog, but I am feeling guilt about my lack of attention to my blog and blog friends. And an even bigger sense of guilt when I ignore school to blog. My priorities are suddenly completely different.

BUT, flipping through my reader is an excellent way to stay awake while Jackson eats at 2 am.

SO, please know, I am still reading and keeping up, and when I “like” your posts, I really probably want to comment. I want to tell you that you look awesome, your baby is adorable and growing too fast, and I love your birth story. So know that my “like” is more than a like, but I can only one-handed-iPhone blog so well, and it’s actually pretty poorly.

And, my lack of posts is not for lack of wonderful things going on in my life, but hopefully pictures are okay with everyone for a while. Someday my brain and hours of sleep will return, until then, forgive my sub-par blogging.

Love you guys!! (But, love my time with my little wookie even more).

-mcmanda

sometimes love just isn't a big enough word.

sometimes love just isn’t a big enough word.