Friday, September 27, 2013

Our first few days as a family of three

Needless to say, our lives have completely changed in an amazing way. I have heard that you will never know how much your parents love you until you become a parent yourself and I now understand what that means.

Her fist picture! She has been bright-eyed ever since!

My first picture with her. Although I still look drugged up, I was in complete heaven with her in my arms. 

She has completely stolen Adam's heart. 

When I was first able to meet Caroline, it was the most incredible feeling. The feeling was almost unreal. I think between my lack of sleep, the drugs I was on, the adrenaline from the experience, and her actually being here, I was kind of floating in this euphoria. I remember looking at her, and still do, thinking how amazing she was and I couldn't stop looking at her.

When we were finally able to come home is when it felt more real and not in a bad way. We were finally able to settle into our new life together without nurses and doctors around. We have been fortunate to have my mom with us for our first week back. I am especially thankful for this since having a c-section. She has helped us get up at night with Caroline, make us meals, and just simply enjoy being a grandma with her.

The lack of sleep has obviously been an adjustment. Between that and my hormones going crazy, I have been very emotional and at times questioning if I am doing everything I can to be a good mother. This feeling is especially strong when it comes to breastfeeding.

All of my friends who exclusively breastfeed have told me that the first two weeks are the most difficult but if you can push through, it will be a breeze. I am not sure what I was expecting from it and I went in knowing it wouldn't be easy right away. What I find most difficult is remaining calm and not letting my exhaustion take over when she is crying, I am trying to position myself, etc. Adam has really been incredible with me during this and does whatever he can to make it easier for me.

The other piece we have been struggling with is sleep. We knew we weren't going to get a lot of it but what has been difficult is she will fall asleep fairly easily but when we put her down, she wakes up and starts fussing and crying within about 10 minutes. I do not want her to get used to being held while she sleeps so I think this is going to be another phase that we have to push through with her.

Her first night home, I was paranoid about having her sleep on her own in her crib in a different room. The "what ifs" started flooding my mind. What if she chokes on her spit up? What if we don't hear her cry? Again, what made this worse was my lack of sleep. Her second night at home has been much easier for me and she is actually sleeping better in her crib.

Between the lack of sleep and the difficult time breastfeeding, I feel like I have had a fairly good attitude. There are times when I am holding her or when she nestles into her spot on my chest, that I am overwhelmed with how grateful to God I am for her and I still cannot believe she is mine. I will give up several sleepless nights to have that feeling with her.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Caroline Elizabeth...Her Birth Story

I want to get this down before I start losing the details. In fact, I started jotting some of it down while in the hospital. Bear with me as this is a really long post but that is what happens when you are in the hospital for two days before actually having the baby!

I was warned that being induced could mean a long day(s) and they were right.

At my 41 week appointment my doctor suggested induction because after 41 weeks, the placenta can start deteriorating and fluid levels can start getting low. Both of which can be harmful to the baby.

We moved forward with schedule the induction for September 19. The nice thing about having it scheduled is that I can prepare: Get caught up on laundry, do last minute cleaning, etc. The downside of having it scheduled is that it give me time to think and Google (which is not always my friend). The evening before getting induced, my mind was racing with thoughts of "Did I make the right decision for scheduling an induction? What if something goes wrong? What if I need a C-section?" Between my mind racing with these thoughts and the anxiousness of knowing that we could meet our baby girl very soon, I got about two hours of sleep before going to the hospital that morning.

We needed to be checked in by 6:30 so I set an alarm of 5:30. I did some last minute packing, ate a light breakfast, and we were off.

When I first checked in and was hooked up to everything, I was checked and was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. They started me on cervigel at 8:00 am which is supposed to soften the cervix and possibly help it dilate. Adam and I did a lot of walking around the birth center and I dosed in and out sleep. After about 30 minutes of receiving it, I was definitely starting to feel more lower back and abdomen pain which made me hopeful that it would work.

At 12:00, they checked me and I was dilated to 1.5 cm, still 50% effaced, but the baby's head was lower. My nurse said this was good news and for first time moms, the first five centimeters take the longest to get to.

At 12:30, I received my second dose of the cervigel in hopes it would help soften and ripen the cervix more before starting the pitocin. I was able to sleep for about another hour, walked a half an hour, Adam wanted to take a nap, and so I was left to watching HGTV, and scoping out Pinterest.

At 4:30, I was checked again and had dilated to 2 cm and my cervix had become "more favorable." I was then given Pitocin (which I was completely freaked out by) and away we went. I have read horror stories about how women will get Pitocin and have back to back contractions with no breather because it causes them to come on so strong. I talked with my nurse about this and she assured me that would not happen and that it would probably even be a few hours before I really felt anything.

It wasn't until about 8:00 after gradually increasing my dosage when I finally started to feel some contractions and they were like clock work. It is cool for me to feel them coming on and then looking at the monitor and seeing it adjust as well. These contractions were something I could definitely handle on my own through breathing.

Even though I was having contractions, I was hardly making any progress and at midnight it was decided to take me off of the Pitocin, let me rest, and they would start it back up again at 5:30 am. I really struggled with moving forward again with another round but ultimately decided to.

So 5:30 came, I was given more of the cervigel and we waited to see what would happen. The nurse thought that after that time my cervix had softened more and we proceeded with pitocin around 10:00 am.

Almost immediately, I could feel that this round of pitocin was different. My contractions were stronger and more regular. Every time I was checked, I was progressing as well.

That afternoon, my contractions were becoming stronger and almost unbearable. I asked what options there were for pain management and my doctor told me I could do an IV pain reliever until I reached 4 cm in which I could then do an epidural. The IV drugs I received were awesome! I could still feel the contractions but not nearly like before. The downside to these is that they wear off after about an hour.

Around 4:30 or so I was in the middle of breathing through a contraction and thought I felt my water break. I called my nurse and she checked me. Her first reaction was no, and then all of the sudden I felt a huge gush! As gross as it may sound, that was probably the most excited I have been because however it was going to happen, I was going to have this baby soon!

I eventually got an epidural which was AMAZING! I don't know if I could have done it (I guess I would have had to) without it. I was progressing and everything was smooth sailing. We were determined to have this baby!

And then I hit a wall. I was stuck at 8 cm for about 3 and a half hours and nothing was happening. It was time for my doctor to make a decision: Continue with pitocin or just get a c-section. As much as I didn't want a c-section, I had a few things to consider. During my labor, we actually had to take me off the pitocin because it was stressing Caroline out. Her oxygen levels would drop and she just needed a break. Also, when my water did break, there was merconium (baby poop) in the fluid. This is relatively common as a pregnancy progresses, but babies run the risk of inhaling it the further past term they go. Because I didn't want to put her under more stress and and risk her inhaling the merconium, we moved forward with the c-section.

From making that decision to her actually being delivered was a very quick turn around. She was born at 6:31 am (exactly 48 hours from when we first checked in) and she was, and still is, perfect.

I think the worst part about having the c-section was how doped up I was after but the anesthesiologist did a good job of making that feeling wear off rather quickly. Between such little sleep, the drugs, and being a new mom, it just felt like an out of body experience. Was this perfect angel really ours?

Both Adam and I are so lucky to have such a beautiful little girl. She has already made me experience a love like I have never felt before and I cannot believe we made her. She is simply amazing.

Stay tuned for pictures and what her first few days at home have been like.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I guess I will write one last one before Baby C arrives...Happy 41 Weeks (Almost)

She sure is taking her sweet time. I was almost positive that with how busy I was with work over the past two weeks, she would have been at least on time. No such luck!

To recap:

  • The semester started on August 26th and it has been a whirlwind since
  • Since I was so busy and not taking care of myself as well as I should have, I went to the hospital five days before my due date because I was super dizzy and nauseous. It was determined that my blood pressure was elevated (it usually on the low end of normal) and I was dehydrated. 
  • The following day was the kick off to sorority recruitment. Luckily one of my other colleagues was around to keep my relaxed and to help out in case I went in to labor early. She truly was a Godsend during that time. 
  • I then had my 40 week doctor's appointment in which I lost two pounds, progressed none, and she guessed that the baby was weighing right around 7 lbs. 
  • With my lack of sleep and rest during recruitment, my boss and I discussed me splitting up my work between the office and home. I am truly grateful for how flexible she is and I was actually more productive working from home. I will continue to split up my work until I go into labor. 
So this leads me to this weekend. As uncomfortable as I have been, I am truly grateful to have an unexpected last weekend alone with Adam. It has been filled with sleeping in, watching football, having breakfast and dinner dates, and doing some last minute picking up around the apartment. I am trying to cherish this while I can.

My next appointment is in two days. If I don't have her by then (I am doubtful), we will schedule an induction which I am hoping will be for Wednesday or Thursday.

  • How far along? 41 Weeks (never thought I would say that!)
  • Total weight gain/loss: Total weight gain: 20 lbs. I can't believe how much I gained in the last 10 weeks (I was at only 8 lbs during that appointment). 
  • Maternity clothes? Oh yes!
  • Stretch marks: Ugh....
  • Sleep: Earlier this week I slept completely through the night. I don't even know how that happened. It still is hit or miss. The past few nights I consistently wake up around 4:00 am really hungry!
  • Best moment this week: Adam and I had a great weekend together!
  • Miss Anything? Wearing my wedding ring.
  • Movement: Oh yes and sometimes it is to the point of being uncomfortable. 
  • Food cravings: Not really anything
  • Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope
  • Gender: GIRL!!!
  • Labor Signs: A couple weeks ago was having contractions-not really anything recently. I have been feeling a lot more pressure thought. 
  • Symptoms: Lots of acid reflux and I have been super swollen. Shoes and sandals that used to be a little loose are now tight! 
  • Belly Button in or out? Still in
  • Wedding rings on or off? Off :(
  • Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty happy most of the time! 
  • Looking forward to: Meeting our baby girl!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Baby-related, non-baby post...

Not sure if the title makes sense but I will give it a go.

I have mentioned previously that when I got pregnant, I wasn't satisfied with my body but it happened and we were happy regardless. Fast forward 9 months and I am terrified of what my body will look like after the baby is born. Fortunately, all of the weight I have gained (20 lbs) has just been in my mid section and hips but with that I have gotten A LOT of stretch marks (stop reading if this is bothering you because it bothers me having to write about it) on my stomach. This somewhat came as a surprise to me because of what I have read about them. Like most teenage girls, I got stretch marks on parts of my breasts going through puberty and my inner thighs and hips from growth spurts. They all have faded drastically and are hardly noticeable. So because of my "history" with stretch marks, I should have known there might be a possibility but, like most pregnant women, I started slathering my body with Bio-Oil and Cocoa Butter hoping this would prevent them. I have also managed my weight gain fairly well which I thought contribute to preventing them. However, regardless what measures I took, they still crept up and I still have them and they are BAD!

The light at the end of the tunnel with this is that the ones I have had in the past have faded so I am hoping for the same with these. I am also hoping that as I lose the weight gained, they won't be as noticeable...hopefully!

So this brings me to my next point. Since becoming pregnant, ironically, all I have wanted to do is start working out and losing weight. I think of the kind of mother I want to be and the kind of role-model I want to be and it isn't what I currently am. I want to have a ton of energy and lead a healthy example for my daughter.

Recently, I have been reading some really great blogs on weight loss, fitness, and nutrition. Reading about women who have lost as much weight or more than what my goal is has become inspirational and has given me motivation for once the baby is born.

I know working out will have to hold off until I get the go ahead from my doctor but I think I can at least start to walk regularly with the baby a couple weeks after I deliver. I also know breastfeeding, if eating right, can really aid in losing the weight as well.

Besides giving baby updates, I am going to use this blog as an update for weight loss to hold me accountable and I have outlined some pretty broad goals below that I think are fairly attainable.

By Christmas: Be back to pre-baby weight. I think this is very realistic and attainable through breast feeding, eating well, and moderate work outs.

By June 2014: My goal is to have lost an additional 60 lbs! EEK! I hope I am not setting myself up for failure with that one! I might have to see how working towards my first goal goes and then adjust that one!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hoping for a Labor Day Baby...Happy 39 Weeks

Well, I will be 39 Weeks tomorrow and tomorrow is Labor Day. I am sure I am just being hopeful but a girl can dream right?

This will be my last post until Baby C is born. The next week is going to be insanely busy for me as sorority recruitment is right around the corner. Honestly, if that whole process doesn't put me into labor, then call me Wonder Woman. I expect about 4 hours of sleep a night during that time, dealing with 160 emotional women going through recruitment, and an additional 250 moody current sorority women.

I have been trying everything I have heard of to get this labor going. Everything from eating spicy food to bouncing and rocking on an exercise ball to taking walks (either outside or in the mall) and the list goes on. So her not coming is by no means because I am not trying!

As uncomfortable I have been the past couple weeks, there are definitely things I am going to miss:

  • It just being Adam and I. It will never be just the two of us again. We have talked about being intentional in order to keep our marriage a priority but I know that is easier said than done. 
  • Being selfish. That sounds awful and, overall, I don't think I am a real selfish person but everyone has their moments. I know that everything will change when she arrives. From traveling to watching TV in the evenings to sleeping in until 11:00 (yes that happened this morning!), I no longer dictate those routines and probably won't for a while!
  • I am actually going to miss feeling her move. I won't miss her pushing up on my ribs or using my bladder as a trampoline but I will miss feeling her kicks and rolling around. It is something that, for the most part, the two of us share together and is a silent reminder that she is doing alright!
  • Adam being so attentive. Don't get me wrong, Adam is a very considerate person in general but really from the time I found out I was pregnant, Adam has been incredibly patient, attentive, and helpful. 
While I will miss those few things, there are more things I am looking forward to:

  • Obviously at the top of my list is meeting our baby girl! I think all expecting parents have thoughts and dreams about what their baby will be like: Who will she look like? Will she be care-free or high-maintenance? Will she have hair and what color will it be? 
  • I am looking forward to starting the process of having my body back to myself. For when I do get sleep (even though it might be minimal) it will be more comfortable. I will be able to walk with ease more. I can do the dishes without being a good 4-5 inches away from the sink since my belly gets in the way. 
  • I can't wait to be on maternity leave. This isn't because I hate my job or because I am lazy but I cannot wait to have the time to bond with Baby C!
  • I am excited to see Adam become the wonderful father I know he will be. He is already excited and talks to her multiple times a day but I know he will be completely obsessed with her when she is here!
  • Everyone says that the first time you meet your child it is a love like you have never experienced before and I cannot wait for that moment. I already love her so much now and I cannot imagine what that will be like when she decides to join us!
  • Remember what I said about being selfish, well here is a perfect example. I can't wait to go shopping for myself again. I really held off buying clothes and even shoes for myself while being pregnant. Adam said that after she is born and I am feeling up for it I can go shopping for myself again. Part of this will be out of necessity as I will be needing some "transitional" clothes from maternity wear to my old clothes. 
I can't believe we are nearing the end. This pregnancy really did fly by fast! The next time you will hear from me there will be some pictures of our sweet baby girl and our birth story! Wish us luck!