Wednesday, November 19, 2014

1 vs. 3

Being the proud new Mama to my third beautiful (if I do say so myself) boy, I have had many experiences lately that have caused me to pause and think about how different it is parenting a third child as compared to the second and especially the first. One incident the other day made these differences abundantly clear. 

And scene: Baby has just had a giant blow out that goes all the way up his back (aka: a poop-plosion). He is wearing a onesie, so a shirt that is not easily removed and must go over his head.

FIRST KID: Carefully remove the shirt, trying desperately not to get poop on his face or in his hair, even though it's unavoidable. Promptly give baby a full bath. Scrub the shirt to remove stain from oh-so-stainable infant poop. Soak shirt in Oxyclean for 12 hours, then wash. 
KIDDO #1, Ryan after post poop-plosion bath. 

SECOND KID: Remove shirt as carefully as possible knowing he's going to get poop on him. Give him a good wipe down with a few wipes. Toss shirt in the laundry and hope the stains come out.
KIDDO #2, Zachary, clearly anticipating what he deems will be a less than adequate clean up of this poop-plosion. 

THIRD KID: Cut shirt off with scissors and toss in trash. Change non-poop-covered baby. He's as good as new!
KIDDO #3, Connor, in said onesie just prior to being cut out of it :) 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Connor Matthew: 1 Month

My Dear Connor Matthew,

Today, you turned one month old! What a month it has been. It truly has flown by, even faster than that first month did with Ryan and Zachary. You have become such an integral and natural part of our family that I really have to think hard in order to remember life before you. You continue to be an easy going, calm, patient baby who rarely cries. You sometimes have a fussy period in the evenings (and of course this falls during your brothers' bedtime, making our evenings a little stressful) but even this "fussy period" isn't that fussy and doesn't last that long.

You continue to be a decent sleeper. I nurse you before I go to bed around 10, and then you wake once or twice a night to nurse. Usually you wake around 2:00 and then again at 6:00 (which is about when I should be waking up anyway). Sometimes you wake at 1:00 and 4:00. But you always go right back to sleep. I cannot complain at all!

During the day you still do a lot of sleeping, but lately your awake periods are so much more awake! You're really starting to notice the world around you. You smiled absolute, true smiles for the first time on October 29th. You were looking at me and just broke into a huge grin. It was adorable and you have done it numerous times since then. It makes my heart melt every single time.

You are a super snugly little guy. While you're pretty content when you do need to be put down, you'd much prefer to be held, or snuggled in the carrier or wrap. You curl into a little ball and just love to rest in the crook of Daddy's arm, on Mommy's chest or shoulder.

You got used to diaper changes and baths much more quickly than your brothers. I'd say you stopped screaming during diaper changes after the first two weeks. And you really only fussed for your first two "real" baths. Since then you lay back, relax and enjoy.  I think its safe to say you love getting a bath. And your brothers love to help. Zach always makes sure that the wash cloth we lay on you stays warm. He slowly and carefully pours warm water over it. Ryan likes to clean your feet and rinse you off. (Of course all of this helping is done with close supervision from Mommy or Daddy!).

Watching your brothers interact with you is still one of the best parts of you being here. Zachary is just so very, very gentle with you...much more gentle than your average 21 month old. He gets very concerned if you cry and says, "Baby....eying (crying)" to whoever will listen. He has never once shown jealousy or aggression towards you and I couldn't be more proud of the way he has responded to your arrival in our family.  Ryan just adores you. He would give you kisses and hugs all day long if we let him. Ever since you started smiling he loves to talk to you and coo at you in order to get you to smile. It is just adorable. Zach clearly watches how Mommy cares for you very closely. He often mimics the things I do with you, with his baby doll. He puts the doll on his shoulder and pats his back to make him burp. He puts the baby down his shirt to mimic having it in a wrap. Ryan can always be counted on to keep you company or run to your rescue if you start fussing and Daddy or I can't get to you immediately. You're very lucky to have the two brothers you have. They're pretty special little guys!

Connor, you are such a perfect addition to our family. You have truly fit right in from the start. Its difficult to remember our family before you arrived. Most people don't believe it, but the transition from 2 kids to 3 has been the easiest growth in our family. Going from 0 to 1 was indeed the toughest!

We love you so much Connor! We can't wait to watch you grow....and yet, we are cherishing your babyhood. We know it will be our last. And so, for once, I can sort of begin to understand the sentiment of "enjoy every moment" (even though it always drives me crazy when people say that to new moms!). Even when its stressful, and I am not succeeding at meeting all three of our kiddos' needs at the same time, I often find myself thinking things like "they're only this little for a short time." You have given me the gift of truly enjoying a newborn-hood as much as possible. And I really truly am enjoying it!

I love you so much, sweet Connor!



Friday, October 10, 2014

So, you want a Family Centered/Natural Cesarean, too??

So, you've heard about this thing called a Family Centered Cesarean or a Natural Cesarean and you want to know how to go about convincing your OB that its totally doable. Well, here I will offer a few tips about how to go about introducing the idea to your physician.

A Few Things to Keep In Mind

As you read and plan for your own c-section, please remember the following: 

1) Every woman's situation is different. There are a host of reasons why such a C-section may not be appropriate for some women. If your physician hesitates, or feels it isn't right for you ask why and try to understand. Don't assume they aren't being open minded.

2) Planning for what might be a very new idea for your practice and your delivery hospital takes time. Introduce the idea as early in your pregnancy as possible. The more time there is to plan, the better.

3) Have an open mind. Babies are unpredictable. Things happen during pregnancy and child birth that are unexpected. Not everything can be planned for. If you plan and hope to have a Family Centered C-section but it doesn't work out, trust that things happened the way they did to keep you and your baby as safe as possible. Try not to be too disappointed.

So, Where to Begin?

As I mentioned above, introduce the idea as early as possible. Talk to your OB about why such a c-section would be meaningful to you and your partner. Offer some resources to your OB as they may not be familiar with the concept. I e-mailed my OB this video:

And this article: 

The article is particularly key as it shows that this is becoming "routine" in some hospitals in the United States. A lot of people seem to think it is a "UK thing" and not something being done here in the US. Well, it is, and that article is proof. 

So, your OB is on board? What then?

If this type of c-section has been done before at your delivery hospital, and your practice is comfortable with it then you don't have too much else to do. There should be some type of "protocol" in place and the necessary staff should be aware of that. But I would type up a "Clarifying Expectations Document" and review it with your OB well in advance. (More details about this below). 

If you're the first, or one of the first people to have this type of surgery either at your delivery hospital or within your practice, then you have a little more work cut out for you. 

Talk to your OB about who the "key players" are in the hospital who will need to be on board with this idea. Request a meeting with your OB and those key players. Generally you would want someone from Nursing (perhaps the Labor/Delivery Nurse Manager), someone from Anesthesiology (the anesthesia team is key to have on board) and perhaps someone from the NICU; Though, they could probably be updated later. 

I was lucky that the Nurse Manager at my hospital brought in the Chair of Women & Children's Services, the Nurse who would be in the OR the day of my c-section, the head of nursing from the NICU, my OB (of course) and a representative from Anesthesiology (who unfortunately couldn't come at the last minute but was updated personally by the Chair of Women & Children's Services). My husband and I cannot say enough about each of the people who attended this meeting and the work they put into making our son's birth the truly magical experience it was. 

In this meeting I introduced what I will call a "Clarifying Expectations Document." This document was a list of particular details of what my husband and I expected the Family Centered C-Section would be like. As a group, we discussed each of these points one by one. I made it clear that I was not demanding or requiring any of these details (i.e., IV in non-dominant hand, delayed chord clamping, allowing my husband to clamp the chord, how long the baby would stay with me, etc.) but rather just making sure we were all on the same page as far as what the c-section would look like, so my husband and I knew what to expect on this very special day. 

I also made it  extremely clear that if at any point my son's health or my health was in the slightest danger that all "special circumstances" were to be aborted and the team was to do whatever they needed to ensure the safety and health of the two of us. I think it is imperative that any mom hoping for this type of C-section make this clear, so as to assure everyone involved that your priority is a healthy baby. Having a more natural birth experience is truly and honestly a bonus. Its not a guarantee (See item #3 at the beginning of this post). 

After the meeting, in which expectations were clarified, send a follow-up e-mail to those involved summarizing the meeting as you and your partner understood things. This once again ensures that everyone is on the same page. Allow the team to make "corrections" as necessary (if there are any).

Once its clear everyone is on the same page type up a final document summarizing all the details you discussed. Make this summary as succinct as possible, and give it to anyone you meet the day of your c-section who hasn't yet seen this document: Your OR nurse (if you haven't already met her), the Anesthesiologist, the assisting OB, etc.  In my case I was lucky that all of these people had already been e-mailed my list and had viewed the video I linked to above. It was so reassuring and calming to know that everyone involved was on board. But, you may not be so lucky. So, don't hesitate to give that Summary Document to everyone you meet the day of your c-section. 

Then, once you've done all this planning, sit back and hope baby waits to arrive on the day of your scheduled c-section. Be sure to discuss ahead of time with your OB what you can expect if the baby comes a bit early (I am talking days to a week, not many weeks early, in which case things would be very different). Since not all the "key players" may be there, your expectations may need to shift a bit if your little one comes a bit early. Your delivery team may still be able to accommodate the Family Centered Cesarean (ours said they probably would be able to), but if not, that's OK. You will have done everything you can and your team will have too. Some things are just out of our control. 

Try to relax the day of your c-section. Be in the moment, absorb everything, and know that no matter what happens, if the end result is a healthy baby, and a healthy Mom, then there is nothing more you could ask for. 

If you have any specific questions please don't hesitate to e-mail me at kdeminiti (at) gmail (dot) com. I am happy to be of assistance to any woman hoping have the same amazing experience I had. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Family Centered Miracle

(Warning, some graphic (i.e. bloody) images included below. Do not read if you are squeamish.) 

This past Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:17 p.m. our third son, Connor Matthew DeBoy Caminiti was born. He was born in what was our delivery hospital's first Family Centered C-Section and everything about it was perfect.

With those not familiar with a "typical c-section" I'll try to paint the picture so you understand what was so very different about this c-section.

In a typical c-section, the mom is sometimes (though not always) given then choice to watch the c-section using a mirror. I always jumped at this chance as I did not want to miss seeing my babies being born. Partners are almost always allowed in the OR, and they can take pictures. Typically, after the baby comes out of the Mom's belly they hold the baby up high, above the curtain, or more correctly, the drape, for mom to see (as you can see here with my oldest son, Ryan).

They then take the baby away, into another room, where the baby is cleaned, weighed, given shots, etc. My husband has always followed the baby, to be with him, as I knew I was well taken care of by the Anesthesiologist. You can see pictures of this process here, with my second son, Zachary:

While all of this is going on, the mom remains in the OR where the surgery is completed. At some point, the baby is brought in for mom to get a quick peek, to give a kiss, and then the baby is returned to the warmer in the recovery room, where he remains until the mom is able to be moved from recovery. All told, I would say, typically, a mom is away from her baby during a c-section for about 30 minutes.
During my two "typical" c-sections I was lucky in that as soon as I was moved from the OR to recovery my baby was placed on my chest and I was able to begin breastfeeding. But this is not always the case. I've heard stories of moms who did not hold their perfectly healthy baby for up to two hours after a c-section.

Me with Zachary after arriving in recovery.

All things considered, my two prior c-sections were amazing, wonderful experiences and I will never, ever forget them. In fact, you can read about Zachary's here. (I wasn't blogging yet at the time of Ryan's birth, so its not documented except in a file just for him). 

And then, then I had the amazing opportunity to experience a Family Centered C-Section and well, it was just a magical, amazing experience. Let me try to paint the picture of how very different it is from what I described above. As I've done before, this section will be written as a letter to my sweet baby boy. 

Dearest Connor Matthew, 

The experience of watching you be born was one of the most raw, and amazing experiences of my life. I hope you know how much planning went into making this happen, and how thrilled and excited Daddy and I were and are that you entered the world in such a special way. 

You might be wondering what was so different or magical about your birth. Well, let me tell you. During the surgery they dropped the drape and raised the head of my bed so that I could actually see you coming out. I didn't have to strain my neck to see you using a mirror. I saw it happening directly in front of me and so did Daddy. We saw your little head pop out and immediately were in love. We marveled at your dark hair and watched in awe as they slowly pulled you out completely and then immediately transferred you to my chest where I was waiting to snuggle you. 


Then, while they sewed my belly up, Daddy and I got to revel in just being with you and snuggling. It was perfect. Daddy captured our first hug on camera and you can see the awe, love, amazement and pure joy on my face. It may be my most favorite picture ever: 

 During the next 30 minutes--which in a "normal" c-section I wouldn't have seen you at all--Daddy and I instead got to snuggle and love on you. These thirty or so minutes were some of the most peaceful and amazing of my life. The doctors were sewing up my belly, using stitches and glue, I was in an operating room, and I was having major surgery! But none of that mattered because I was with my baby boy. My brand new, perfect, beautiful boy. I was with YOU and with Daddy and it was perfect.

Soon, the doctors finished sewing me up and they prepared to transfer me from the operating table to the bed. I thought maybe they would have me hand you to Daddy at this point. But they didn't. The doctor simply said, "You just hold him tightly," which of course I did, and the next thing I knew they were transferring me to the bed, and off we went, headed to recovery.

Mommy & Dr. Penn 
Connor, I think everyone involved in your delivery thought it was a pretty magical experience. The clinicians had never done a c-section like this. I was honored to have them there. They had all taken a lot of time preparing for this delivery. My OB (the Amazing Dr. Penn) assisted by Dr. Keith, Dr. McAllister, our Anesthesiologist, Katie and Anne, our nurses (supported by Anne's student Laura), and Betsy the nursing manager who coordinated everything were all so invested. They watched videos of a similar procedure, they read articles I sent, they read e-mails, they attended meetings, they checked on us even when they didn't have to, and they put their heart and souls into making your birth the magical experience it was. I will be forever indebted to them.

Once we got to the recovery room the nurses weighed and measured you. You weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and were 19.5 inches long. This made you the shortest of the three Caminiti boys at birth, and the middle one weight-wise. They took your footprints and declared you perfect! Then they gave you back to Mommy and you immediately started to nurse. Mommy got you latched on so quickly that all the nurses were very impressed with you! You've been a champion nurser since!

During this time of waiting to make sure both you and I were stable Daddy and I enjoyed getting to know you and cuddle you.

Connor, so far in the 6 days we've been privileged to get to know you I would say you are one of the sweetest most patient babies I've ever met. You are patient and rarely fuss when trying to latch on. You cry at diaper changes but only when they take too long (which is usually your fault, if you pee while I'm changing you, thus necessitating a full outfit change), you tolerate your brothers' constant adoration, poking and prodding, and you sleep well! You are super snuggly and love to curl up in a little ball on my shoulder. I know you will not stay this way forever. But I hope at your core, you will always be patient, gentle, and love Mommy snuggles!

During the 3.5 days that we were in the hospital (with you I stayed 3 nights, and I am so glad I did, as my recovery has been so much easier!) you had many visitors: NeeNee, PopPop, Ryan, Zachary, Auntie Catharine, Julia, Caitlin, Auntie Cindy, and Uncle Chris--your Godfather. Everyone was smitten with you, especially your brothers. You can see in the pictures below how much they both already love you.

Finally, on Saturday, October 4th we headed home with you!

 Every minute with you since your birth has been amazing. I cannot wait to watch you grow and mature, though you can be certain I am going to cherish these moments with teeny, tiny, you, as I know I will never experience the joy of a our very own newborn again. Connor, you have completed our family. We never felt that anything was really missing before, but now that you are here I have a sense of peace about the fact that yes, indeed, we have met all the little people that Daddy and I will create and bring into this world. That is an amazing feeling indeed. 

Caminiti Family: Complete! 

Thank you for joining our family and for making it complete. We all love you so very much already.

Love always,