I saw this posted on an online forum and am passing it in. Since Carter was premature I had to pump to establish my milk supply, and then pumped for several months before he was finally able to nurse. As most pumping moms do, I learned lots of little tricks through trial and error to make sure my breasts got emptied every time, which is critical for building and maintaining supply. This linked video contains all the ones I learned and some things I wish I'd known. Awesome resource!

http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html
I meant to post about this a few days ago, but got busy: In case you don't follow his CarePage, Carter is out of the NICU! He was released on Friday morning, after Doug and I spent Thursday night "rooming in" with him.

Here's what that last day was like. (Re-posted from the CarePage.) )

We've been at my mom's house ever since, and it's been incredible to be able to be with Carter all the time. We literally haven't put him down; he's been held by someone almost constantly since we got back from the hospital. I'm loving every minute of it. Just being able to make decisions about when to feed him and when to change his diaper -- that alone is amazing -- but also being able to hold him whenever I want? It's just perfect.

He has appointments tomorrow (Tuesday) at the hospital's follow-up clinic, and then we'll fly home to Austin on Wednesday afternoon. I can't believe it's finally almost over! These last two months have been insane. At least they went by quickly. :-P
My Mac, which I've been carrying around with me for a couple of months and using to keep up with life outside the NICU, had a fall and sadly is no longer with us. I am currently using a laptop with serious power issues, and it has to be plugged in all the time -- sort of a pain. This has slowed down my emailing and surfing of the web lately, but I will soon have a new laptop! It will take it a week to get here, but it will be all lovely and shiny, and I can't wait.

If you're reading this, you may be keeping up with Carter's progress on his Carepage blog. It's been great to have it, but I'm growing annoyed with the site. It's designed for people who don't have the time, expertise, or energy to maintain a real blog, and so it's fairly inflexible. When we get Carter home, I'll start him a blog somewhere else, and let that one stand as a record of his time in the NICU.

So the rest of this post is about me. :-D )
Carter is two weeks old today, and so far everything has gone remarkably well. There is a link in my last post to the blog I've set up for him through the hospital, and I post daily updates about his progress there. At the moment, he's breathing room air, gaining weight, almost ready to go off his IV, and tolerating feedings pretty well. Yesterday he weighed two pounds, four ounces, which is five ounces over his birth weight and half a pound above his lowest weight. All the nurses say he's doing remarkably well, and that makes me very happy, as you might imagine. :-)

I have to say I never even considered the possibility of having a preemie. It's funny that I spent all those years dreaming about having a baby, and I thought about all sorts of things that might go wrong. I thought about miscarriage, or having a child with some sort of disability, and how we would cope with that. But for some reason, it never crossed my mind that my baby would come early and spend the first weeks of his life in the hospital.

Ironically, I was talking to my sister about it days before it happened, as in, "Wow, can you imagine having to go home and leave your baby in the hospital?" But it didn't occur to me that it was a possibility until two nights before his birth when a neonatologist came to talk to me about what his prognosis would be if he were born at 29 weeks. And even then, it was hard to imagine.

But here we are. People keep saying things like, "You're so strong to be handling all of this so well", but I'm not sure I'm strong so much as accepting. I mean, what choice do I have? The infertility was like that too: every step of the way it was hard to imagine the next step, that I could actually go through with it, but then the time came and I did. It's weird that it would be so, so hard to just have a baby, and that so many things would go wrong along the way. It's horribly unfair, and I can't help but be resentful of it -- but it's the way things are, and I have no choice but to deal with it and move forward.

A day in the life )
Yes, you read the subject line correctly! Have you wondered where I disappeared to in the last few weeks? The short version of the story is that I suddenly developed severe pre-eclampsia while visiting family in North Carolina, was briefly hospitalized, had a c-section, and will be staying here for the forseeable future while the baby is in the NICU.

As for the long version, I'll put it under a cut. These last two weeks have been the most difficult and stressful of my life, and it came completely out of nowhere. It's hard even to remember what life was like just a short time ago. I think the best way to tell this story is as it happened to me. I hope you'll bear with me.

The full story, starting Thursday, January 3. )

I have a lot more to say about how he's doing, how I'm doing, how breastfeeding is going, life in the NICU, and so on, but that's another series of posts. For now, we're all fine. We've set up a blog through the hospital that you can check out to follow Carter's progress, if you like. You have to register for the site, and you'll get emails every time I update unless you opt out of that. There are pictures and more details there. Click HERE to access that site.

That's all for now!

March 2013

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