Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Week 2 Check In

So today was my due date!  Allie is now two weeks old!  It's cliche, but time is flying by already and the first two weeks have definitely been kind of a blur.  Some highlights...

In Allie's second week:

She met her Uncle Mark.  He flew down from NJ and hung out with her for a few days.  It was really fun having him here :)

She impressed the lactation consultant with her awesome feeding skills.  At my appointment they weighed her before and after feeding and she gained 2 1/2 oz after eating.  My biggest problem is over supply, but it seems to be stabilizing and I haven't pumped in a while so that my body would naturally regulate itself to Allie's feeding schedule.  It seems to have worked.

She tried out her Ergo and play mat.

She went on more walks.

She was held by her grandma and grandpa a million times.  They were here til Monday and then headed back to Hilton Head.  I was so glad to have them for Allie's first couple weeks and my first couple as a mother.  I definitely burst in to tears when they left on Monday, even though they'll be back in a couple weeks.  They were a huge help and I loved seeing them love on my daughter.

She had two baths and hated both of them.

Allie is doing great!
She sometimes gets a little fussy, but usually she has a reason and needs a diaper change or is hungry.
She is still doing pretty good at sleeping at night.  She can go pretty long stretches without waking up, it's usually just getting her to sleep in the first place that's tough.

During the day it's hit or miss whether she's awake or not.  Sometimes she's awake and has her eyes open and is looking around, other times she snoozes for a while.  Car rides always put her to sleep and she's usually asleep for a while after them.

She's still a pretty good eater.  I got into a habit of feeding her lying down side-by-side on the bed this week and we did most of our feedings that way.  Just to be sure, I tried feeding her with the My Brest Friend today though and she will still eat that way too.  I think lying down is actually the easiest way to feed her, but probably not the most practical.
I also think she smiled a bunch this week.  Once my mom was holding her and I came over and she looked up and smiled right at me.  Cool!

Knock on wood, but I think we got really lucky and have a really good baby.  I'm elated :)

Photo credit to my friend Cindi.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Week In

Hey all!  So I'm one week in to this parenthood thing now!  Allie is a week old.  I actually noticed the clock around 8:45am this morning and realized we had passed the one week milestone (she was born at 8:23 last Wednesday).  Time really has flown by!

Taken at the hospital on her birthday.
In the last week, we've gotten to know more about the tiny person we are now raising.
Some things we have discovered about Allie this week:

  • Clyde loves her and seems to want to protect her and is concerned any time she is upset.

When we brought her home he was very curious about her, and in the past week, he loves following whoever has her around the house to see what she is doing.  The other night we put her in her bassinet for bed and went into the bathroom to get ready for bed and she starting to cry and Clyde freaked out, barking and whining til we came in to get her.  There's been several moments like that in the past week.  It's pretty cute how concerned about her he is.

  • She likes it when people rub her feet- it helps calm her down when she's upset.  It's especially effective when Greg does it.  Bouncing and shhing also seem to help.
  • She loves waiting til you are either in the middle of changing her or right after you have changed her to poop or pee.  Especially if you try to sponge bathe her (we think it's the warm water), she will get you every time!  Nice right!?
  • With the exception of the first night at home, when none of us had any clue what we were doing, she is a pretty good sleeper.  The magic formula for us seems to be that she sleeps in the bassinet attachment on the Pack N Play, lower half of her body swaddled- WITHOUT her arms (they must be free or she freaks out), white noise, and belly full of milk.  If all these conditions are met, we can usually go like a four hour stretch of sleep at a time (the doctor said that's fine), at least we have the past three nights anyway.  I usually have to wake her up to eat, but it seems like she could almost go longer.

  • She is a pretty good eater- breast feeding is going pretty well.  I wondered for a while how breast feeding was going to go for me.  My mom had a pretty easy time with it and I hoped I would inherit that from her, and am happy to say that I think I'm one of the lucky ones that can breast feed without too many issues.  So far the biggest problem has been that I've been pretty engorged since my milk came in.  It's surreal how big my boobs are right now and they hurt!  I've had to pump slightly before most feedings in the past few days, just to get Allie to latch because otherwise she's trying to latch on to these giant hard bowling balls.  I already have a ton of frozen breast milk, even from just a little bit of pumping before feedings.  My colostrum supply was also pretty great, so I think I just got really lucky with my supply and how well Allie does with breast feeding.  I will say though, that it's not exactly like I imagined.  It's not like I just put her at my boob and she eats, I definitely have to trick her into it by using a pacifier and changing to the boob or calming her down for a while first if she's fussy.  Sometimes I can get her to latch immediately, and other times it almost doesn't happen and I'm trying to be patient as I run through lots of tactics trying to get her to latch.  I also sometimes can feed her in the glider using My Brest Friend (that thing is great), and other times, it works better to lie down in bed and do side-by-side.  I spend a lot of time just trying different things until she latches and eats.  I never knew that it was like that.
  • She loves Wubbanub pacifiers.  We have a bear and a monkey one and she LOVES them.  I was worried about her with a paci at first, but the doctor said it's fine as long as she is feeding well, and they work great to calm her down, so I'm ok with it.

  • She's not too crazy about hats (I think she gets that from me).  They usually either fall off or she looks kinda mad when they're on.

  • She falls asleep in the car whenever it's moving.

Allie had her first check up at the pediatrician on Monday and passed with flying colors.  Her birth weight was 7 lbs 13 oz, but she was down to 7 lbs 5 oz when we left the hospital Friday.  Her weight Monday was 7.65, so her doctor was happy with that.  We spent all weekend tracking feedings and diapers, so it was nice to know that I have successfully fed her enough to keep up her weight and keep her system moving the way it's supposed to.  Cool!  

As for me, well, recovering from having a baby has been interesting.  I mentioned I had a second degree tear and that's been about as pleasant as you might imagine (not at all).  In the hospital they gave me a routine to follow which was to rinse with a squeeze bottle, spray with a pain relieving aerosol spray, put a giant pad in my underwear, a padsicle (like a frozen diaper), and a couple Tucks pads on top of that.  I've basically followed that routine for the last week, without the padsicle (I just used those at the hospital for the first few days).  I also have a prescription for Midol and was advised to take Colace (stool softener).  Fun times.  I'm not gonna lie, I have been sore.  Every day it's gotten better though, and today I even decided I could do a walk around the neighborhood and it went pretty good.

My weight is down to 14 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight now, and every day my belly is getting smaller.   I think I gained between 30-35 lbs total during pregnancy depending on doctors vs. home scale, so I've lost about 15-20 lbs since last week, which is cool with me after barely moving all week.  Hopefully it'll only continue once I'm actually moving more.

I'm pretty much enamored with our baby girl...  Seriously, she is the cutest thing I've ever seen, and I can't believe how lucky I am.  It was worth all the heartache to get her.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Birth Story Part 2

Hi!  If you are catching up, here is Part 1 of Allie's Birth Story.

So, we left off that I was headed to the hospital around 8pm on Tuesday (2/12) and had some pretty strong contractions about 5 minutes apart on the way there.  We got there and I checked in.  I had pre-registered a while back so that made things pretty easy.  The only glitch was that I apparently WAS supposed to check in with my OBGYN office one more time before we actually went to the hospital, but I hadn't done that because it had been a little unclear to me from what the doctor had told me that morning at my appointment (we discussed me returning to their office for a recheck if I made it to 5 minute apart contractions before they closed, but not what to do if that didn't happen before then).  It was no big deal though. The nurse took me to a triage room to check me out.  I was about 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced, and the nurses and doctor I saw seemed surprised I had labored so far by myself at home!  I was glad I had, because one of my concerns all day had been going to the hospital and either being sent home for not being far enough along in labor or having to labor a long time there.

I was set up in my room, which in my hospital is where you pre-labor, give birth, and stay after the birth.  It's all inclusive.  I ended up getting my epidural right away, because I was already at 6 cm dilated.  At the epidural class I had attended they said that about 4-6 cm is a good time to get it, because you already have an established progression of labor and hopefully getting the epidural at that point won't slow things down.  The epidural went well, I had been a little afraid of the needle and everything but it was no big deal.  I did have some itchiness after (mostly around my shoulders and chest), and my feet and legs felt hot and very tingly, a lot like when your feet fall asleep, but it was well worth not feeling the pain of the contractions.  The doctor also decided to break my water (it was around 9:30pm at this point) and put in a catheter since you can't feel when you have to pee once the epidural is in.  Once all that stuff was set up, they put me kind at an upright angle in my bed hoping that my labor would continue to progress.  I think about 10-11pm the doctor checked me and I was then at 8cm.  The doctor gave me an eta of around 3am for when I'd have the baby.

In the meantime, my parents came back from getting food and everyone hung out in the room for a long time, while we waited.

My mom had brought a picture of Clyde for me, so he could be there in spirit :)

Clyde picture was affixed above the mini fridge in front of me.

A couple hours past and my progress was checked and I was still only at 8 cm.  I was frustrated I hadn't made more progress after so much in the first few hours I was there.  After a while, Pitocin was brought up, and although I'd hoped to labor without it, I also didn't want to be stuck getting no where all night, so around 2:30am they hooked up a bag to my IV and we waited to see if it would help things along.  It was kind of a long night.  I should mention that my labor and delivery nurse, Hope, was awesome.  I loved her and over the course of the next few days with nurses in and out of my room, I realized how lucky I was to have her as my nurse during the rough times.  We all really bonded with her.

Over the course of the night and through my labor I was nauseated and got sick about 4 times.  I have a known reaction to Codeine and I think the epidural had something similar in it that made me kind of sick.  The good news is the nausea would come on, I'd get sick, and then I'd feel fine, so it wasn't a constant thing.  Still, it was unpleasant, and I went through a lot of ice chips.

Finally, at close to 6am, I was checked and was 9 cm dilated with just a "lip" blocking me from 10 cm.  It was time to start pushing.  Pushing is a weird thing.  I didn't feel like it was intuitive at all, and often felt like I was just holding my breath and bearing down, but wasn't sure on what.  I had a really hard time feeling like I was making any progress.  My mom had pushed for 3 hours when she gave birth to me, and after an hour, and then two passed, I figured I was due the same fate.  Hope had to leave and my new nurse, who I was not that crazy about, took over.  She kept telling me she could see the head, but only like a quarter-sized portion of it, which really just made me frustrated and didn't help.  Also, I was extremely exhausted.  Three nights in a row I had only gotten a little bit of sleep and it was taking it's toll on me.  I actually started falling asleep in between contractions/pushing, and was given an oxygen mask to wear in between pushes.

Despite my feeling like I wasn't making progress, at 8am, things started getting crazy in my room.  My midwife was brought in along with a huge team of people ready to take action when the baby came out.  It was apparent I was close to having the baby.  In between my second to last and last set of pushes, I started to cry and got really emotional thinking about the journey I'd taken to get to this point.  All the months of trying to conceive, the positive and negative pregnancy tests, the doctors, the surgeries, and the last nine months of pregnancy kind of washed over me.  I was sobbing and looked over to see Greg was wiping away tears too.  Then I gave it everything I could to push our baby out and she came out at 8:23am, crying and thriving.  They wiped her down as she was placed on my chest and I realized I was finally a mother to a perfect little baby girl.  Wow.

We did skin to skin for quite a while and then I was asked if they could weigh, measure, and do some tests on her.  She was 7 lbs 13 oz, 19 inches long, and scored a 9 on her Apgar test.  Pretty good stats!

Meanwhile, I delivered the placenta (Greg thought that was the grossest moment of the whole experience)  and then got stitched up from my second degree tear.  I didn't feel any of it, because of the epidural.

Once they gave Allie back to me, I did do a little breastfeeding.  To be honest, I don't really even remember my first attempt.  I think she latched and ate a little.

As for me, after not having eaten anything, since about 5pm the night before, I was pretty famished and REALLY thirsty.  For about the last two hours of labor, I kept saying that all I could think about was a huge glass of apple juice and how bad I wanted one.  Greg got me a couple little apple juices when I was recovering, and we ordered breakfast from the hospital- pancakes, hash browns (carbs with carbs, yes please!), bacon.  I devoured it.

We spent the day getting to know our baby.

Seeing Greg with her was (still is) amazing.  Holy heart melt!

Allie also received her first non-family visitor late afternoon- Kelly!  Kelly was doing a little practice run, in case you haven't heard, she's pregnant too!

The next couple days and nights at the hospital are kind of a blur of nurses checking on me and Allie, lactation consultants, doctors, pediatricians, my parents coming back and forth from the hospital from my house, holding and feeding Allie, hospital food (which was actually pretty good), a million texts, emails, phone calls, etc...  Lots going on as we adjusted to life with a baby and I recovered from child birth.

By Friday morning we were all ready to go home.  We suited up Allie in her monkey onesie with one of four hats the hospital gave us over the course of our stay.

A nurse snapped our first family picture as we were heading out!

My birth experience was probably about as good as I could have hoped for.  I am sore and know that my physical recovery still has a ways to go, but mentally, I feel as prepared and happy about motherhood as I'd hoped and everything is going really well.  I will share more of this journey as we go!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birth Story Part 1

Well, pardon my absence and lack of 37 week recap, but as you might have guessed (or seen, if you follow me on Twitter), I had the baby this week!

37 1/2 weeks pregnant.
So as not to leave you all hanging til the end of the birth story, here is our little girl- Allison May!  Born February 13, 2013, 7 lbs 13 oz, 19 inches long.  We are so in love :)

Allie's birth story really began early Monday morning, around 2am.  I started getting contractions and had them up til when I got up to get ready for work.  I also lost my mucus plug (or sometimes called "bloody show")!  I wasn't sure what to do, so I got in the shower and proceeded with my normal routine.  Greg thought I should try going to work and didn't believe it was the real thing.  By the time I was leaving for work the contractions were pretty much gone and I worked all day.  I saw my chiropractor on Monday and he told me that if the contractions weren't the real thing that the a shower or bath kind of makes them stop- interesting.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning and the same thing basically happened AGAIN- around 2am I started having contractions again!  I dealt with them for a while and then around 3:30-4am, Greg suggested I try taking a shower like my chiro had mentioned to see if they went away again, but this time they didn't.  If anything they got more intense and closer together after I got out.  I used a contraction app on my phone to track them and and one point they were about 5 minutes apart and I could tell Greg was taking them seriously this time compared to yesterday and was frantically packing a bag, cleaning our bunny cages, and doing any last minute things he could think of in case we headed to the hospital.

I called my OBGYN's after hours line and explained what was happening, from the mucus plug yesterday to the frequency and duration of the contractions.  The nurse I talked to told me to hang out for another hour or so and call back and see where I was at.  In the meantime I called my parents, who want to be here for the birth and filled them in.  They decided to wait and see how things went as well.  When I called my office back the second time, I was still having the contractions regularly but at the same time, I didn't feel like it had progressed to a level of "GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW".  I feel like the second nurse picked up on this and advised me that she thought I should keep laboring at home and see how things went and go to my schedule OBGYN appointment at 11am to have my progress checked.

In the mean time, Greg and I finished packing, ate some breakfast, and decided to take Clyde for a walk around the neighborhood, because the second nurse mentioned walking and standing would help things progress.

Clyde was really worried about me all morning.

Finally 11am came and we were seen at my doctor's office.  I was 80% effaced and 3cm dilated.  My doc said I should probably head home for a while and see if the contractions picked up and if I made it to 5 minutes apart consistently, I could come back to the office for a recheck if it happened before the office closed.

We headed home and I was exhausted.  I have had two nights in a row with really interrupted sleep from the contractions.  I took a bath and then tried to take a nap, but again, that's hard when you're being woken up with contractions every 6-10 minutes.  It didn't really work out to get much sleep.

We thought about taking another neighborhood walk, but I honestly wasn't sure I could do it since the contractions were getting more difficult to get through.  We decided to run to the grocery store, because I got the idea in my head that Popsicles sounded good, and we were low on TP anyway.  I used a cart so I could bend over the handle and get through the contractions when I had them, even though we only got a couple items!

I got my Popsicles, and Greg and I went home and watched some Walking Dead on Netflix (we just finished Breaking Bad and have moved on to Walking Dead as our new series to watch together) while I talked with friends and family on and off throughout the afternoon.

I used a contraction timer app on my phone, but it relies on you to be really good about starting the timer when they start and stopping it when they stop to get your accurate average of how far apart the contractions are, which didn't always work out when I was on the phone or forgot to turn it on or off once in a while, so I never really could tell if I was really at 5 minutes apart for contractions or not, they would fluctuate anywhere between 4 1/2 minutes apart and sometimes closer to 10 minutes apart.  It was pretty confusing and I never ended up going back to the doctor for a recheck because I didn't know if the contractions were close enough together.

Finally around 3ish, I talked to my mom and we decided they should head up from Hilton Head because my contractions weren't going away, seemed as strong or stronger, and I just had a feeling that this was really it and then we'd be heading to the hospital that night.

My parents arrived around 8pm, and pretty much right when they arrived we decided to just head right to the hospital, which ended up being the right decision because in the 15-20 minute drive to the hospital I had about 4 pretty strong contractions.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Thirty-Sixth Week

I'm 37 weeks pregnant!  By all accounts I am considered full term now.  Wow!  I still have three weeks til my official due date, but I could go anytime and the baby would probably be pretty healthy.  I am a ticking time bomb now!

I have a cold right now, which is not great timing.  I somehow managed to avoid getting one most of the winter when everyone else around me was coughing and sneezing all over me, but now I have one out of nowhere.  Ick.  I have a sore throat, cough, and feel pretty wiped.  I really hope I kick it before going into labor, because I can't imagine the exhaustion of giving birth while sick, let alone the logistics of having a new born with a new immune system around a sick mama.  I'm home sick today to try and nurse myself back to health.

I'm definitely feeling all of 9 months pregnant now.  My standard responses when people ask how I'm feeling are, "Big!", and "Uncomfortable".  That pretty much sums up this stage.  I can see why pregnant women get antsy at the end.  It's definitely crossed my mind that it would be more comfortable for both me and the baby if she were outside my body soon.  I can't bend over without feeling like I'm squishing her and it's really tough to put socks and shoes on (especially sneakers).  Getting up from a chair or from bed is like an acrobatic feat now.  I'm also really sick of my maternity clothes and feel like a lot of them are tight and uncomfortable, which is funny because at one time, I was swimming in them!

I finally had my first "under the hood" appointment this week.  The baby's heart rate was 145.  My iron level was about 13 (I think you're supposed to be over 11, so that was good- must be the cheeseburgers!).  They had my weight at about 30 lbs gained (my scale still says it's higher, but I'll take it!).  As far as what's happening down under- I'm 75% effaced and my cervix is soft.  I don't think I'm dilated at all and she didn't say what station I was, but I know the baby is head down.  She wouldn't give me any predictions, but I'm guessing I still have some time til the baby is coming out.  I know that can change quickly though.  I think it would be good if she hangs out in there for a little longer based on our schedules and for her to get the benefit of being closer to 40 weeks.  Greg still has a bunch more flying scheduled this month, and if I go early, it'll push me back into July for when I have to go back to work, which isn't a huge deal, but wasn't really the original plan.  Anyway, I now get checked weekly, so I scheduled all my doctor appointments up til my due date.

Greg put the car seat in this week.  Well kind of.  Our car situation is not ideal for a baby.  Greg has a Honda Element, which I think it kind of a nightmare car for a baby because of the suicide doors and having to climb into the back seat.  I've been saying for a while that I didn't plan on using his car much with the baby because I have no desire to climb into the back every time I want to put the infant seat in, I want to just be able to open the back door and drop it in.  So, the plan has been that we'll primarily use my car for the car seat, which is an Acura TSX.  It turns out, the Acura isn't really ideal either.  It's slightly smaller for a sedan and Greg had a hard time getting the car seat to fit behind the front seats.  The only place it will fit is on the rear passenger side because we can move the front passenger seat up more.  I'm not even that tall (5' 3"), but my driver's seat is too far back to fit the car seat behind and it doesn't fit in the middle, which I know is supposed to be ideal.  We were both pretty frustrated about this.  I've been saying for a while that I think we're going to need a new car sooner than later, and the Element might become Greg's Houston car.  I think he's finally starting to agree with me and will see it even more once the baby is here and he sees the challenges that go with our cars and baby stuff.  I predict that my car will also be on the smaller side for hauling all the necessary baby gear around.  Once you put a stroller in the trunk, I don't think much else is going to fit in there.  I see an SUV in our future.

The Pack N Play and baby swing were also assembled by Greg this week and have taken up residence on our first floor.  The pack and play is Clyde approved.  He liked the cuddle cove/bassinet.

I also printed off and filled in most of the paperwork I need to add the baby to our health insurance.  I can't submit it til we know her birthdate and some last minute information, but I can leave it with our HR people and call with that when the baby comes so they can add her.

I had my second baby shower at work yesterday and was humbled and so grateful to everyone that came and all the stuff they got us.  My trunk was completely full of baby presents when I left work!

I'm still procrastinating a little on finishing packing for the hospital.  I have most of my stuff in or near the bag, but need to go through and make sure I have all the stuff I want to bring.  I will make myself do it this week! Greg needs to pack his bag too.

How far along? 37 Weeks
Maternity clothes? Yes, unfortunately.  I'm pretty much over all of them and looking forward to wearing more normal clothes again.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Symptoms: heartburn, movement, swelling in the feet/ankles, feeling huge, frequent urination, Braxton Hicks (hard belly).
Best moment this week:  Probably the doctor's appointment, hearing the heartbeat, and finally hearing what's going on down under.  Technically, the baby shower was in the 37th week and I'm late posting, but that was awesome too.
Miss Anything? Sleeping well, not having heartburn, running, having distinct ankles, having abs.
Movement: Yup, she is rolling around in there, but you can tell she has more limited room now.
Food cravings: Cheeseburgers (yup, the craving returned), then mostly sweets- cake, peanut butter brownies (I made some for a Super Bowl party and they were so good), fruit (my redeeming craving), animal crackers.

Pineapple coconut cake I got to go from Big View Diner on a date night with Greg.

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope
Have you started to show yet: Yes, duh. I feel extremely huge.
Gender: Girl
Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks, but it doesn't feel like labor or anything, just hard belly.  75% effaced, cervix is soft.
Belly Button in or out? It's out!
Mood: Good!
Looking forward to:  Meeting the baby of course!
What I am NOT looking forward to: Feeling heavier, more tired, and more uncomfortable in the coming weeks.  Kinda scared of labor, but I think I'll get through it.  I really hope Greg is home when I start labor too.
Weekly Wisdom: Um, hang in there?
Milestones: Weekly doctor's visits, "full-term" (37 weeks), counting days instead of weeks...

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