Viewing posts tagged cesarean

Postpartum life with a family of 5

These past two months have been challenging but not as bad as expected. They flew by so fast, and now that Persephone is close to two months old she's starting to sleep for longer spells during the night time, and that makes mommy VERY happy. During these past two months:


has been as sweet and lovable as can be! Compared to the boys she has by far been the easiest. During the first two weeks of her life she was constantly sleeping, so much so that I had to set an alarm for every two hours through the night to wake her up and feed her. She cries so rarely that I am constantly checking on her breathing to make sure she's ok, and her lucky brothers are getting a full nights sleep every night since she was born, uninterrupted! 

Persephone's eating schedule for the first two weeks of her life were 2 ounces of formula every two hours, right on the dot. Then for the remainder of the first month we increased it to 3 ounces of formula every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and throughout her second month we increased it to 4 ounces every 3 hours and we let her sleep as much as she wants to overnight. 

Persephone has also recently started turning over onto her tummy by herself, and is attempting to crawl. I put her on one side of the crib and I'll come back an hour later to find her on the far end of the other side of the crib. She does not co-sleep with us, from day 1 she has slept in her own crib. I want her to get used to it so that she will grow up to find sleeping in her own space as the norm. I've done this with all my children and it has worked out very well for us, could you imagine if all 3 kids wanted to sleep in our bed every night? That would be a disaster!! 

Because Persephone is still so tiny and vulnerable, we keep her away from people, especially her brothers. She is so little and still needs more vaccines, so we are VERY careful to keep germs away from her. The boys are constantly coming home with all sorts of illnesses caught from school, and we are constantly wiping their noses, cleaning throw up and dealing with all sorts of colds and viruses. We prevent little Persephone from catching anything by keeping her away from the boys and literally washing our hands every 2 minutes. I remember Valentino's old pediatrician would firmly tell us NOT to take a newborn out anywhere, especially to restaurants- where the guy in the back making your salad could be from a south american country where they don't vaccinate and next thing you know your newborn could catch TB. How funny is he? Like, who says that? THANKS for making us paranoid doc :)


does understand that he has a "baby sister." Whenever she cries he looks concerned and tells me that she is hungry and that I should give her some pizza :) He has been adjusting to having a baby sister incredibly well. He sleeps, eats and goes about his normal daily routine really well. Because I have been recovering and preoccupied with everything baby related, hubby has really stepped up to the plate and has handled all things toddler related, therefore Valentino has really developed a special bond with daddy during these past few months. He has also matured a lot during these past few months and takes his daddy very seriously. If daddy asks Valentino to clean his room, he will instantly clean it with no questions asked. With me, on the other hand, he will play and ignore me and not take me seriously. How unfair! 


also understands that he has a baby sister, but that's about all he understands. The first day Caspian met Persephone he patted her head and then just went about his business. He's not bothered by having a baby sister, and carries about his day normally. He ocassionally will say "bye bye baby!" His room is adjacent to Persephone's, and initially I thought that would be a problem and interrupt his sleep, but so far so good! Caspian is known as the family parrot because he will repeat everything he hears, and sometimes I even catch him imitating the baby crying! 

Sir Edward

Does realize that another human has joined the house, and seems to be curious and concerned about it. So the rule of the house is that he cannot come upstairs to the bedrooms. Sir Edward knows this and has never set foot upstairs. However after Persephone joined us, sometimes when she cries and isn't immediately soothed, Sir Edward will become very concerned and will run up the stairs and sit behind her gate, as if he is protecting her from some unknown predator who could be the cause of her distress :) 

french bulldog top of stairs

We haven't introduced him properly to Persephone yet, because she's still too little, but he has seen us walking around the house holding her. The nurses at the hospital gave us a worn hat of Persephone's and put it in a ziplock for us to take home so that he can sniff it. I thought that was really sweet of them to think of the family dog :) 


has just been ecstatic and at the same time exhausted! He continues to work hard at his job and for the family, being responsible for most things toddler related and helping me also with the baby. Literally everything has fallen on his shoulders while I'm on this what we call "medical leave" that will last until May 1st, and then I'll take over all household and children responsibilities so that he can focus on his work more. He has been really enjoying spending more time with the toddlers though, and has developed new and fun routines with them that they all seem to enjoy. Amongst all this craziness he has even managed to get a promotion at work. He very nonchalantly told me this, like it was no big deal......I then started screaming hysterically whilst jumping up and down and just making a ruckus!  He is just awesome! 


I feel a million times better than I felt throughout my entire pregnancy! There is nothing more I hate than being pregnant, and there's nothing more I love than having a newborn. Every time I get pregnant I tell my husband, THIS IS IT! I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!!!!!! Then after the baby is born I completely forget those nine months of absolute torture and I'm like "hmmmm, well maybeee." 

I have gained a ton of weight as expected. On June 1st me and hubby will start the Ketogenic way of life again to lose all this pregnancy weight. By this time next year I WILL have lost about 50 pounds and I will look amazing. Right now I just look like a fat mom. It is what it is! 

On the mental health front I also feel a million times better than I did throghout the entire pregnancy. This happens to me every time, and every time while I'm pregnant I get paranoid that I'll get postpartum depression....and then it never happens. The only thing that gets me hysterical is the day after the c section where they draw my blood and can't find the vein on the first try. With all three pregnancies I sobbed like a lunatic the day after the surgery while they were trying to draw my blood. The nurses looked at my husband completely shocked and tried to reason with me. All I wanted to do was to scream "B!tCH STOP POKING ME!!" I attribute that craziness to postpartum hormone fluctuations. 

Regarding breastfeeding, that pretty much hasn't been an option for me. I produce 50% less milk than the average person, and my breasts never feel full or hurt. It's like they are the same as before pregnancy. WEIRD huh? The lactation consultants just tell me to pump whatever I can get and to just formula feed. During the first few weeks of pumping this was how much milk I pumped after an entire day of non-stop pumping:

1 oz breast milk breastfeeding problems not producing milk

I really wish I could just breastfeed as constantly pumping and sanitizing bottles is just irritating. Don't even get me started on the cost of formula! And the kids bathroom is overflowing with bottles and baby related stuff. I need a bigger house! 

newborn necessities bathroom

I am very excited to wrap up the 4th trimester and resume my normal daily routines and life. We are still figuring out how to make this work (with three kids and all) but if there's one thing I've learned it's that the seasons will continue to change and everything will eventually fall into place. 

My main goal over the next few months is to figure out how to take care of three kids and a dog at the same time, kick the carbs and enter ketosis to get my body back.

Hold me accountable, ok? Thanks!  

Welcome to this world, Caspian Ferdowsi Rahmanian

I will no longer refer to him as baby #2....he has a name now! 

Caspian Ferdowsi Rahmanian blessed us with his presence the day after Christmas. He's a Christmas baby! He weighed 7lb 10 oz. He was delivered via cesarean. i named him after the Caspian Sea and his middle name after a famous Persian poet. 

I can't say enough good things about my doctors and Fairfax Hospital. When I'm recovering in Fairfax Hospital I feel like I'm on vacation. I get to lay around all day, sleep whenever I want, order room service, have them babysit my newborn..... It's great! 

Because I was so late with Valentino (he really didn't want to come out) I thought I'd be late, or at least on time for my planned c section date this time around. That didn't happen, as about a week before my due date I started to feel contractions. They started on Christmas Eve, but I didn't think they were contractions at all. They barely hurt, and just felt like glorified period cramps. I remember the doctors saying not to call them unless your contractions are so bad that you can barely talk. So because they didn't hurt, I didn't think they were contractions, therefore I didn't keep count of the frequency and timing of them. Then on Christmas day my water broke. That was WEIRD. It took me a while to even realize my water broke, as it felt like a slow gushing of liquid. Sorry TMI. Then I called the doctor and she told me to leave for the hospital asap and that I'd have surgery in a few hours. We went to the hospital around 4am, and called my mom and sister over to take care of Valentino for the duration of our hospital stay. I found it nice but strange that my contractions didn't hurt. I was expecting some horrible excrutiating pain...that never happened. Definitely not complaining. 

The C section went really well. Unlike last year's one, this year the spinal tap wasn't as bad, and they even let my husband in the operating room while they were administering the spinal. Apparently that never happens. I had to beg the anesthisiologist to let him in. This time around though I did feel more sleepy and sluggish during the surgery and afterwards. All I wanted to do was to sleep. And I did plenty of that while the nurses babysat Caspian in the nursery. 

I'm feeling really good and can definitely say I'm feeling more confident and comfortable wiith Caspian and all the things that go along with a new baby. I feel like I got this. Everything seems familiar, everything seems routine.

With Valentino we would freak out about every little thing that we thought may be a problem. With Caspian we know what's normal and what's not. Like, growing pains will keep him fussy until about 2 to 3 months, and it's normal for him to cry (or scream) dramatically while turning red and clawing his face off.....and it's ok that his umbilical cord will start stinking and that doesn't mean it's infected (it is after all, rotten flesh).

Having another boy is wonderful and so familiar. He doesn't look anything like Valentino did when he was born. Caspian appears to have lighter and thinner hair, but longer eyelashes. And there are facial features that resemble his paternal grandfather. 

He emerged with a weak cry. This made me panic while on the operating table. "Why isn't he crying?? Why don't I hear him cry?" I would ask. The nurses would say they didn't know, and told my husband he can pinch Caspian's feet to get him to cry. So as soon as I held him I pinched his feet and made him cry. Maybe he was just happy to be out? I have no idea really. 

This time around with Caspian, I knew breastfeeding wasn't going to be much of an option for me. Because of my history of lack of breast milk with Valentino and his weight loss, the lactation consultants recommended I formula feed. Regardless, I still try to breast feed. I have rented a hospital pump and pump every even a few drops count. I will then mix in those few drops into his formula. I have seen numerous lactation consultants and doctors. None of them can tell me why I don't produce much milk. I get the standard "Well some people's bodies just don't produce enough milk" reply when I ask. I'm one of those unlucky 5% who cannot produce much breast milk. At least with Caspian I know this and started formula feeding immediately so he doesn't lose weight like Valentino did. 

Being at home with Caspian is great. My husband takes care of Valentino while I recover and take care of Caspian. My recovery is also better this time around. I don't get that sharp pain in my lower abdomen like I did last year, and the bleeding isn't as heavy as it was last year. I have to say though, I REALLY miss a good nights sleep. 

My next project is to see how I can logistically take care of two humans at the same time, once my husband starts working again. 

Here are some pics:

Caspian Rahmanian

Caspian Rahmanian

Caspian Rahmanian

Caspian Rahmanian

Caspian Rahmanian

First Pregnancy vs Second Pregnancy & Back to Back Pregnancies

So I thought it would be cute to have two babies close in age. That's why just a few months after I had Valentino, I got pregnant again with baby #2. 

These pregnancies couldn't be any more different. During the first one, I felt sick for the entire 9 months. I pretty much checked out of life. I was lucky that I could do that, leaving my husband to do all the work and household chores. I would just lay in bed all day and all night and sleep 18 hours a day. I dreaded being awake because of the head would throb, the room would spin, I would see white stars everywhere, and I wouldn't be able to stand for more than a few minutes without fear of fainting. And the nausea was so severe that I couldn't even brush my teeth without throwing up. I had food aversions to everything except for apples, oranges and toast. The heartburn was so bad that I would wake up at least three times in the middle of the night choking on it. Oh and I gained 65 pounds and blew into a balloon and became so fat that I couldn't even recognize myself. Just think of the worst hangover you have ever had in your life and intensify it by 100. That was how I felt for 9 months. It was THAT bad. 

Even though I felt like death, everything medically was on point. Everything with the baby was ok and we were both healthy. We did have a few blood clot scares though, as I made the mistake of flying to California during the second trimester. I thought it would be okay, but after the flight back my feet blew up like balloons and it would hurt to walk on them. I had to get numerous ultrasounds done but in the end everything turned out ok.

But as soon as I laid eyes on Valentino in the hospital, I thought, oh I am totally doing this again!! All that misery was SO worth it. I would do it over a million times actually. No big deal.

So a few months later I got pregnant again. This time around I feel much better. I am able to take care of the baby and cook and clean and walk and take showers without worrying about fainting. I am so excited to be able to do normal things again. I'll still vomit here and there, but it's nothing compared to the first pregnancy. During the second trimester I felt great. I had all this energy, life was good. The most annoying thing was not being able to travel. So naturally we were invited to three fabulous weddings in California, Italy, and London. And I couldn't go to any of them. Law of the Universe. 

During the second pregnancy I had a few scares. One was failing the glucose tolerance test. They sent me back for the second test and thankfully the results came back normal. Another scare was them finding an echogenic focus on baby's heart. The doctor said it was probably nothing but I was worried because this time around we refused to get the nuchal transulcency test done (the one that checks for down syndrome), and having an echogenic focus may be an indicator of down syndrom. I freaked out, but still knew that I wanted the baby regardless of any disorder. Thankfully at the next ultrasound appointment they said the focus went away on its own and baby looks fine. 

While it's great to have two kids so close in age, back to back pregnancies kind of generally just suck. I was lucky that Valentino was a great sleeper and easy going, and that I felt much better during my second pregnancy. But not everyone is that lucky.  I know a few women who's subsequent pregnancies got worse and worse, which makes it that much harder to care for your baby or babies. 

One issue I had with back to back pregnanices was pelvic pain in the third trimester. Bad pelvic pain in addition to the normal aches and pains are making me crazy. It hurts to walk, get in and out of bed, and especially turn over. Turning over in bed sends sharp pains to the pelvis that are so bad that I scream. The doctor said this is a side effect of having back to back pregnancies. Apparently this is because after you give birth your pelvis needs time to shrink back, and if you get pregnant again before it has time to shrink back then you're in for a lot of pain. I know of a woman who had this pain so bad during her third pregnancy that she couldn't even walk. She had to be wheelchaired around. Yikes. 

Another big issue with back to back babies- WEIGHT GAIN! This is the worst of them all. I am now OBESE. I don't recognize myself....and I struggle fitting into a size 18 dress. I gained ten sizes and 70 pounds. After this baby is born I really need to get rid of all this weight. Whenever I look at my old pictures I want to cry. Did I really look like that? How did I turn into this obese person?? Now I just avoid taking any pictures because I just can't handle seeing a double chin, flabby arms, and stretch marks everywhere. Whenever I look in the mirror I want to throw up. It's sad. I can't wait until I'm post partum and can begin losing weight. 

If you are thinking of having back to back babies, don't let this post scare you. Even though I'm in a permanent exhausted state, and even though I can barely walk and am super fat, I totally feel like all this is worth it. I'm giving baby Valentino not only a sibling but a best friend, someone he can grow up with, play with and love. I just love that they will be so close in age. 

I just want this baby out already. I cannot wait to meet him <3 


My C-section experience

 Last year, I gave birth via elective c section. At the time it seemed like a difficult decision, but in retrospect, I'm really glad I did it- so glad, in fact, that for subsequent births, the only way you will catch me giving birth vaginally is if it's in the back of a car on the way to the operating room.


My c section wasn't planned, but it wasn't a complete emergency either. Because baby was a week late, was getting too big and not able to move as much as it should, the doctors gave me the option to either be induced or have a c section. I chose c section because I didn't want to be induced, then go through 20 hours of labor only to end up having a c section anyway. I have heard that story too many times. I thought, why not just get it over with nice and fast? The baby was already a week late, and my heartburn and aches and pains were just out of control. I wanted him out YESTERDAY!!


So we rush to the hospital, only to have to wait 5 hours before they operated. They gave me a gown to put on and, strapped a bunch of monitors and equipment on me, and put an IV in my arm. The IV was horrible. I have what you would call a low pain threshold….and a completely irrational phobia of needles. For the duration of the wait I was brimming with anxiety, not about how the surgery will go, the knife, or how my baby will turn out…I had faith that all that would turn out fine. But inside I was dying about the thought of that needle going into my back….. :-/

During this 5 hour wait, I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. Not even ice chips. This was incredibly hard. I remember how other moms used to tell me that being thirsty while waiting for the surgery was unbearable, but I never really thought much of it until now….It just kept getting harder and harder. I begged my husband to give me a sip of his drink, I begged the nurse, I begged everyone. I had thoughts of secretly going into the bathroom and drinking the tap water from the faucet.


When the time finally came they rolled me into the OR and had husband go into another room to wear scrubs. While he was away, they administered the spinal block. Everyone says that the spinal doesn't hurt, and that it's pretty much just a small pinch. The anesthesiologist told me that it shouldn’t hurt and it usually doesn't, unless your spine isn't completely straight. At first they gave me a shot to numb the area. People say this shot isn't too painful, but I almost cried (did I mention I have a low pain threshold?). Then they gave the second shot- the spinal. I  felt it go in deep, and then there was this sudden sharp pain and pressure that seemed to last forever. It literally felt like they were pumping boiling water or some stinging poison into my spine that wouldn't stop. I jumped and screamed and everyone yelled at me and told me to be still. So I dug my fingernails into the nurse who was standing in front of me so that I could hold onto her. I would have preferred it if my husband was standing there, but she was sweet and really supportive. As soon as it was over I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The worst was over. But I have to say- it did really suck.


Then they laid me down on the operating table, put a catheter in, and started pinching me on the stomach and hips asking if I feel anything. I didn't feel the catheter go in or the pinching. My husband came in right in time for the operation and sat next to my head. They put a cover up over my stomach so I wouldn't see anything. During this entire time I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. They told me it was because of the medicine and how everyone does that. I asked them to put a pillow under my head because I had severe heartburn, and it was totally coming up.


They started to operate and I felt a little bit of tugging. My husband started talking to me about random things to distract me from it all, all while taking pictures of my blood and guts hanging out of my stomach. After what seemed like a few minutes, the doctor said, "wow look at all that hair!" I heard a loud cry, and my heartburn instantly went away.


Then I saw a little baby with a head full of black hair being whisked away by a nurse to the area next to the operating room where they clean and weigh and bundle up the babies. My husband went with the nurse. I was so fascinated watching them that I completely forgot I was still being operated on. They were stitching me up when they brought the baby back and held him close to me so I could kiss him. He was so cute! He was like the perfect present, and I just wanted to quickly get out of the operating room so I could hug and squeeze his cheeks.


Many moms who go through C-sections don't feel as if they have a close bond to their babies because of them being taken away right after making their appearance. I have heard stories of mother's resenting their babies and even refusing to see them. I know that it's typically recommended for immediate skin to skin contact right after birth, but I didn't mind one bit as I knew he was in good hands with my husband following the nurse and taking pics of him whilst he was being cleaned up, warmed up and weighed. I'm sure my baby didn't mind either. If he did I'm sure he has forgotten by now. No harm done.

They finished stitching me up in no time, and put these huge gauze pads over the stitches. They also put these huge pads on these granny stretchy underwear and put them on me. The whole thing from start to finish probably  took about an hour, but to me it didn't even seem like 20 minutes because it was so exciting (minus all the needles).


After being wheeled to our room, I spent a lot of time holding Valentino and just staring at him in awe. Me and hubby would take turns holding him and kissing him and booping his little nose. He was so little and cute that I just wanted to smother him with kisses and squeeze his cute little cheeks and play with his cute little baby toes.


That night my parents and sister came to visit and brought cakes and food. I was not allowed to eat solids yet, but hubby ate dinner that they brought, everyone had cake, and we gave a bunch of cake to the nursing staff. I just drank water. Maybe I drank a little more than I should have because I started vomiting it up. The nurses said this was a side effect of the meds, and told me to go easy on the water.


Later that night the nurse helped me stand and walk to the bathroom. That was excruciatingly painful. Everywhere hurt, but I wasn't bothered by it because the baby kept me happily distracted. And to me- needles are WAY worse.


On the third day we went home. It was so exciting getting baby dressed, putting him in the car seat, and going for our first drive together. Stepping inside the house felt so good after those few days in the hospital. I was feeling good, and could walk and go to the bathroom by myself. The first shower I took felt really good also, after going 3 days without showering (I was too weak to shower at the hospital). My pain was much better, although sometimes when getting up I would have this sharp unbearable pain in my lower stomach which is apparently normal for everyone who has a c section.


Some things I wish I had known before having a c section and some things I would have done differently:


  • I would NOT have eaten fast food on the way to the hospital even though we were in a rush. It made me so thirsty that I would have sold my husband for just a sip of water.


  • I would have showered right before going to the hospital, as I'm finicky about showers and didn't like taking one in the hospital. 


  • I would not have packed so much crap in my hospital bag that I didn't need. Looking back, I think I only used a few things from that bag. Next time I wouldn't pack any toiletries, makeup, nightgowns, bras, slippers and underwear. I didn't need any of it.  The only things I used out of that entire bag were Chapstick and a brush to comb my hair. The hospital gives you these special super big and stretchy underwear along with these huge maxi pads. They also give these special sock/slippers that prevent you from falling. They provide toiletries, a comfortable hospital gown, and anything else you could want. I'm not sure all hospitals are like this, but Fairfax Hospital in Northern VA was fantastic.


  • I would have asked the hospital for extra underwear and those huge pads to take home with me. They were so convenient and comfortable. I couldn't wear my regular underwear because the top of it stretched right over my stitches and it would hurt having it on. The hospital maxi pads are amazing because I bled so much that regular pads didn't help any (unless I wear like 4). The amount of bleeding is unreal. I didn't think it was possible to lose that much blood. It's like having your period but 100x worse. TMI sorry guys. 


  • I would have let the nurses in the hospital care for baby while me and husband got some sleep. Next time I will definitely do this because once you go home, you can pretty much say goodbye to sleeping for at least the first two to three months. So catch up on sleep while you can. The main reason I didn't give the baby to the nurses to watch in their baby nursery was because I was worried that someone might steal him. This recently happened in a hospital in Quebec I think, but chances are really slim that this would ever happen in the US nowadays,  especially in Fairfax Hospital.  They have these wristbands attached to mom and dad, and something attached to baby's umbilical cord that they have to scan to see if it matches before they give the baby to the mom or dad. But it's good to get to know your nurses so if a fake one comes along (like they did in Quebec) you can spot them out.


Would I have another c section? Absolutely! The worst part of it for me was the spinal block, but that compared to hours and hours of labor and contractions was worth it. Although the recovery time for a c section is a lot longer, it's nice to be pampered and spoiled while recovering. I also loved how I was thoroughly medicated, at all times.


Thank God for modern medicine!