Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lupus gets a Pass

While I can't claim that our first few months with Deirdre have been without incident, I would say that taking care of my little one has been a real treat - an experience that I would welcome any day of the week. I'm well-rested, happy, and healthy - what else is there? Now before you egg my blog, let me explain:

I know I have it easy. For one, my husband works from home. Dee and I try not to bother him too much during business hours, but because he's home, I feel that I can tinkle when I need to, vent when necessary, and share Deirdre's finest moments with someone who can actually formulate a sentence. (Not that Henry's snorts of approval aren't enough.)

Secondly, I have Leticia from 1-5pm everyday, giving me ample time to catch up on rest, eat lunch, or shower, should Deirdre keep me from accomplishing any or all of those things during the morning.

Additionally, I had very little pain/bleeding/discomfort after my delivery, and Miss Deirdre has been an excellent sleeper from day one. All of these things, I know, make for happy parenting. But in addition to these points, I'm beginning to think that having Lupus gave me an advantage over others when it came to dealing with medical professionals. According to my girlfriends, the leeway the nurses, doctors, and lactation consultants have given me since my delivery isn't all that common - and I'm chalking it up to the fact that I have Lupus. Here's why:

1) Although I planned to breastfeed Baby Bun from day one, I knew before I checked into the hospital that I was going to ask the nurses to keep the baby in the nursery during the wee hours of the night. Johnny and I looked forward to getting a little shut-eye, knowing it might be awhile before we had a full night's sleep once we brought the baby home. This required the nursers to supplement with formula for at least 3 (if not 4) feedings during the night, and I was prepared for resistance to my request. However, the nurses I had welcomed Deirdre into the nursery for the night feedings. They seemed to understand that I needed my sleep (due to my condition), and reassured me that one or two nights of formula/bottle feeding wouldn't hinder my ability to breastfeed. From what I hear, I was lucky, as not all nurses encourage this practice.

2) Because we'd hired a babysitter to watch Deirdre every afternoon for four hours, I knew I needed to rent a breast pump so that Deirdre could be bottle fed once, if not twice during that time. Johnny also wanted a chance to feed the baby, so we planned on frequently interspersing bottle feeding with breast feeding. To our delight, no one in the hospital argued with our plan. They seemed to understand that if I was going to succeed at this motherhood thing - I needed rest. So I had their blessing to pump away. Again - my girlfriends tell me that renting a pump and suggesting a bottle/breast feeding combination isn't always well received by the lactation consultants/nurses/doctors of the world.

3) Before I left the hospital, my lactation consultant recommended I use a plastic shield to nurse, which is a small plastic device that eases the breastfeeding process and typically alleviates the pain associated with it. At first I wasn't too keen on the idea, but within a day or so, I realized how much easier it made things. She said that she didn't think I'd have much success without it, so she in fact gave me two shields and told me to use them as long as I needed to do so. I did away with them after about 3 weeks, but I never really experienced the excruciating pain and suffering that goes along with those first few weeks of nursing because of them. I understand that most baby books discourage any shield use at all, but lucky for me, I had an open-minded consultant. Don't know if she considered the fact that I was going to have to contend with Lupus as well as the newness of nursing, but whatever her reasoning, I'm glad she was understanding.

4) At Deirdre's two week doctor's appointment, I mentioned that she had slept 7 hours during the night on several occasions, and figured we'd get our hand slapped for not waking her up (per the recommendation to feed a newborn every 3-4 hours.) Much to our surprise, the doctor said that since Deirdre looked healthy, was gaining weight, and seemed perfectly happy, she encouraged us to let the little gal sleep through the night as often as possible. Well-rested parents make for happy, healthy parents, she said, so we ran with it. I hear through the grapevine that not all physicians are as supportive, so I'm glad I'd shared with her the fact that I had Lupus.


In addition, my doctors have called in prescriptions and made medication changes over the phone, saving me multiple trips to the doctor. They've been quick to see me when I did need to go in, and I've appreciated their attentiveness. Seems like everyone involved has the same goal in mind: keep that nasty Lupus quiet, and all will be well. So far so good!

2 comments:

  1. I have to say, reading your blog has definitely kept me doing the right things. I hate that I have to take medications 3 times a day (and with our crazy holiday hours that has been hard) but the fact that I feel better than I have in YEARS means something is working and if it is working, don't mess with it. I go in next week to have my blood checked since going on the Imuran and Plaquenil, I am a little anxious for the results but willing to take what comes. Thanks for your positive outlook, it helps me keep my chin up and YES, you are spoiled. Your husband is home everyday and you have a babysiter? Luckily my baby goes to school next year and my husband works from home as much as possible.

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  2. Thanks for the feedback! I'm so glad you enjoy the posts. Hope the blood tests came out okay. I'll be thinking of you.

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