Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much thanks

What a difference a few years can make! Instead of going out and getting schnockered on Thanksgiving Eve, I am sitting on the recliner, watching Planet Earth, and trying to pre-make as much of the dishes for tomorrow as possible. The teething baby is asleep an hour early, the dogs are curled up around me, and I am going to pour a glass of wine. I know my friends are all out, and I may be a teensy bit jealous, but life is good. :)

In that spirit, I wanted to do my "30 Days of Thankful" (or whatever they call it) that others have been posting on Facebook all month. Except that's way too much to remember for me every day, so I'm going to do it all at once.

I know no one really reads this blog, but maybe one day April will read these and know how much her mama loves her. Enough to miss Thanksgiving Eve, dammit!!

1) I am so thankful for my husband Rob. Saying he's my best friend and better half are both cliches, but so true. He rounds me out and has a way of making me calm down and not take things (quite as) seriously. I'm so happy we're in this together.

2) I am obviously ridiculously thankful for my beautiful daughter April. She is getting so bit and it is absolutely a blast to watch her learn and grow. I was so blessed to have her at all, it seems almost an embarassment of riches to have gotten such a sweet, easy-going baby. I love her so much and am amazed at the joy and love she has brought us in a few short months. I can't wait to watch her grow.

3) I am thankful to have had such wonderful, supportive parents. I'm so glad we're so close (in both relationship and distance!). And they provided such a great example of a lasting relationship, that when I found one myself, it felt familiar. They do so much for us and I know I'm so lucky!

4) I'm thankful for my sister and best friend. Funny how much we fought as kids and how different we were until a few years ago. The obvious fancy-pants cheerleader vs. nerdy alterna-teen stuff was certainly there, but we were oil-and-water in a lot of other ways, too. It's pretty amazing how close we are now.

5) I feel so lucky to have a few friends that have been in my life for the majority of it! I don't easily make new friends, and these girls know me. Like, no bullshit know me. :) I love that we can go a while without talking but pick right back up.

6) I'm also so lucky to have such a strong, loving, amazing woman in my life as my Memere. 92 years young! Such a role model for me. One of the many reasons I felt such pressure to have a baby was so that she could meet my Mem. And it warms my heart to see how close they are.

7) I'm grateful for my huge extended family. I have a billion cousins, and even though I don't always get to see them, we have such a blast when there's a big group of us.

8) I love my house and know how important it is to have a home. This place rocks and I love it. Even all those weird old-house things, like the metal cabinets and slanted bathroom. The huge windows and porch make it more than worth the quirks.

9) My first babies - my dogs. They keep me company under the covers when Rob works nights. And they're so good with the baby, surprisingly taking it well.

10) I love my career, and even if my job hasn't been all I'd hoped so far, I'm very thankful to have it!

11) I'm thankful to be able to rock my beautiful daughter back to sleep in a rocking chair that belonged to my Pepere. You just can't buy moments like that. (I just had to do that, hence the timing of that item!)

12) I'm thankful for the way babies smell. For the most part, if you catch my drift. ;)

13) I appreciate Rob's job, even though they work him too hard. He has a job, which is obviously huge right now, but they're also flexible when it comes down to it. Like letting him work remotely so he could fly out to Kansas City with April to meet me on a work trip.

14) I love living in a place with four seasons. Even though I'm not a fan of winter. The spring, summer, and fall are so perfect that the cold weather is worth it. Thinking of that first perfect spring day...

15) I'm thankful for the technology that helps me record memories, like this blog; keep in touch with far-flung family, like Skype and digital photos; connect with old friends, like Facebook; or be supported by people I've never met in person, like chat boards.

16) I am grateful to Rob's family, although we get to see them too rarely.

17) Food. I'm making cranberry bread pudding, brussel sprouts with pancetta, and carmelized onion dip for tomorrow. Not in one dish, heh. But I know how lucky I am to have such a bounty. And I love cooking, I appreciate being able to do that and share with people I love.

18) Isn't DVR friggin' awesome? Thanks for that!

19) Thanks to whoever controls these things for the health and happiness of my family and friends.

20) Neil Patrick Harris. (watching How I Met Your Mother on DVR, can you tell?)

21) All the things that make having a baby easier, like the Bumbo, jumparoo, Ergo carrier, that little seahorse thing that lights up and plays lullabies, baby monitor...

22) The medical technology that allowed me to be a mother.

23) Wine.

24) All the women I "met" on the infertility chat boards. I don't know how I could've gone through it all without them. And I cry every time one of them gets pregnant or has a baby. I can't think of a more deserving group of women. One of my biggest wishes is for all of them to get the child they want so badly.

25) That my body allowed me to breastfeed April. I was worried about it letting me down, as past experiences had dictacted. But it's still going well! April isn't really cuddly, so it gives us time to take a minute together. I love doing this for her right now.

26) Spending time together as a threesome. With our opposite shifts, it doesn't happen enough. It's my favorite! We don't even have to do anything really, but I love playing with April together, or taking the dogs and baby for a walk, anything. I hope I never take that for granted.

27) Little holiday dresses and tiny Mary Janes.

28) Finding the cord to plug in a baby monitor base after having to constantly rotate and recharge batteries for a few months.

29) Books. Both the paper kind and the e-kind. I love to read. I am also thankful for magazines. I know so much random stuff!

30) Thanksgiving! A holiday to spend with family, chow down, and reflect on how awesome life can be. Perfect.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheers! Happy 1/2 Birthday!

So my baby is more than halfway to one! It is truly amazing how quickly these six months have flown. I love looking at the newborn pictures - how she has grown and changed so much, but she still looks like herself. Before I had a baby, I kind of thought newborns were like aliens that morph into humans that look 100% different. I guess I never paid attention to every little detail of a newborn's features before. :)

It becomes apparent to me that I have a giant baby. I heard the 70% percentile numbers from the pedi without actually processing the reality that this number means she is larger than 69% of other babies. And in some cases, WAY larger. Everywhere we go now I see babies her age, or older, who make her look like the Jolly Green Giant. Seems like even more to me, actually! Add in the fact that her pointy little butt (just like I had as a kid - confirmed through embarassing nudie kiddie photos, not in a gross way - but no longer visible under my trunk junk) ends up looking a bit Kardashian-esque under cloth diapers, and whoa. Hulk Smash! Someone actually told Rob that she was the biggest 6-month old she'd ever seen, which I think is a bit of hyperbole!

I faced my first true working mom conundrum last week. On a Thursday afternoon, I was told they really, really wanted me to attend a training for a new contract we're starting any minute now. I've been excited about this contract, it actually will involve me using my degree and experience!! I had been really worried I made the wrong professional decision, as nothing I've worked on here has played to my strengths or interests...so me being involved, and hopefully running, this project is huge for me. So of course, I said "Oh, sure! Travel is a little hard for me right now, with Rob on nights and April being still young, but I'd really love to go..." And then the details were laid out - it started the next Tuesday, ran for 4 days, and was in Kansas City, Kansas.

Wow, thanks for the notice! They also said they understood if I couldn't go...but reading between the lines, I knew saying no would be a huge issue. Plus I wanted to go! But it meant scrambling to work something out overnight for April, and dealing with pumping on the road, etc. My employers apparently felt bad for the short notice and asking me to leave the baby, so they offered to fly someone out to stay with me and watch her during the day so I could be with her at night!

I was able to cobble something together for April and the dogs, and Rob was able to compromise with his job to be able to come for two nights. So April had her first plane trip! I flew out Monday night (missing her first Halloween. Big giant tears for this mom fail), had two nights without her (one she stayed at my parents', the next my sister stayed at our house), then Rob flew with her Wednesday. We all flew home together that Friday. Logistically challenging to pack and check her gear and book the right flights, but we prevailed!

Sure, I almost exploded my business boobs (not "fun boobs" per Rob, all business) drinking Mothers' Milk Tea, and had to run out of the class the first day to pump, but we did it! And my husband is an amazing man for flying alone with her (and getting delayed on the way). I love him so much for making it happen. The two nights without her were tough, but I am so grateful to have only had to have two nights away!

Kansas City, Kansas is super lame, by the way! We went out one night in the Missouri side, which was somewhat better, but jeez. My training was great and interesting (dork alert!), and I know it was the right thing for me professionally. I have some residual guilt. I mean, how much does it suck to feel pulled in the two directions? Work vs. family. I feel like family should always win, but reality doesn't always allow that. Plus I love what I do professionally. It's a career, not just a job. And I'm there over 40 hours a week - so I have to have some satisfaction there, too. I know this won't be the last time I have to make this decision.

So here's a picture of my baby having some barbecue with us in KC. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's a miracle my ancient fingers can type this

So, I'm old. I celebrated my 32nd birthday last weekend. Why is it I still think of myself as a ripe 24-ish? Oh, well! My age doesn't bother me, it just sounds so ancient when I put it out there like that. Thirty-two. At any rate, it was an absolutely lovely weekend! It was a great mix of adult-time and time with April, as well as fun in a big group vs. fun with our little family! On Friday night, my brother-in-law and his wife watched April while I went to go see a band from waaaaaay back in the day - The Lemonheads. I had been before with my best friend, who I've been friends with now for 18 (!@$^!) years, back in high school and it was fabulous to go and be all 90's blissed out. I got home late!!! This is a picture of our daughters together - future BFFs, just like their mamas!
And by some miracle, April slept solid that night. Hooray! Saturday she helped me make butternut squash and apple soup for a party that afternoon. We went over our family friends' house to see other friends who were visiting from Israel and carve pumpkins! As much as Fall makes me sad for the short days and cold weather coming, I do love all the traditions and flavors! It was so much fun. My sister made me an epic cake, too. :)
On Sunday we did the usual visit to my Memere's (another cake! So spoiled!) then went to a local zoo. I had never been there before, despite it being pretty close to our house. It was a great time with my husband and sister. April was pretty amazed by the animals, especially the giraffe! It made me wonder if she recognized it from Sophie, her teething toy? It really was just an awesome weekend. We had so much fun. April was a joy! She really is a good-natured and sweet baby. I am so, so lucky to have her and my wonderful friends and family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The chompers are coming!

EEK! Teeth!!!

I came home from work on Friday to my husband excitedly telling me to wash my hands because he had a surprise. Interesting request. :) I stuck my finger in her mouth and couldn't help but notice her chewing actually hurt a bit. Sho nuff, two sharp little teeth points were digging into my knuckle. I'd love to back this up with a picture, but every time you try to check them out, she covers them with her tongue and tries to bite you.

Every day there is something else to remind me how big she's getting!

I was relieved when the teeth poked out, thinking - oh great, it must not have bothered her too much. But then came that night, and the three nights since. Poor poodle. I think it's worse than when she was a newborn! I've been really blessed with a good sleeper, and I know how lucky I am, but it makes it that much harder when she's up. It's been every two hours for the past few nights, and I'm afraid I'm messing her up. I don't want to start bad habits when it comes to sleep, but feeding her is what makes her feel better. (ha - an emotional eater like mommy already?!) She wakes up so upset and I just want to help! If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them!

We had a stupendous weekend, though! The weather was crazy - in the 80's in RI in October! We went apple picking and got some family photographs taken at a local farm. We hung out with great people (Rob's brother and his wife, my sister and her boyfriend) and had an outdoor fire - actually 2, one on each night. We also got to see one of Rob's cousins who was unexpectedly in town from Seattle, which was nice! Despite very little sleep, it was a really lovely time all around.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Frets

I think I'm a bit odd, in that I am both laid-back about some things but excessively torqued-up about others. The same would of course apply to April! Dog hair in her mouth? It happens! Skipped that bath for a few days? Oh well! Or maybe it's that I worry about being too worried, so I go out of my way to not be too "helicopter-y." Yes, that's the word I was looking for and I'm sticking with it! My new fear that I'm ready to put out there comes from something I've been noticing for the past few weeks. April just doesn't seem as happy as she was. She doesn't really babble much anymore, and her smiles are few and far between as of late. She's so serious.

Now, that isn't to say that she seems actively unhappy, because she doesn't fuss much at all. She mainly just sucks on her fingers and takes it all in. She still plays with toys, but it seems more of a compulsion to get it in her mouth. She cuddles occasionally, but more often wants to use me as a jungle gym. She is close to crawling. Physically, she seems fine. She seems interested in us and what we're doing, and makes eye contact...

I do acknowledge how silly and worried and first-time-mom-y I must sound. I've thought about calling the doctor, but I would definitely be embarassed, because I'm not even sure what I'd be asking. I'm just concerned. Probably for no reason.

And I am sure this will continue for the rest of my life. I just wish I could feel like I'm doing a good job and not second-guess myself so much.
On a happier and less neurotic note, we took April to her first big fair last weekend, The Big E in Springfield, MA. It was such a flippin' blast, I can't even tell you! And she was such a trooper. An hour-and-a-half car ride each way, and then almost SIX HOURS at the fair. :) It was awesome to spend such a great day with my family - including my sister and her boyfriend. April was totally mesmerized by all the lights. Great memories. ...including me playing whack-a-mole with her sleeping in her carrier. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bittersweet times

This past week has been full of joy and sadness. Such is life, I suppose. My aunt passed away last week. Although it is truly tragic to think of my family without her, there are so many good memories. The funeral was today. We dressed April up and took her to say goodbye to the great-aunt she was only able to meet twice. I wish she would've been able to know her. My aunt babysat me when I was little and it was amazing to have her. She was such a character. Looking back, she was pretty strict but loving and funny and giving. Just a wonderful person.

She was in hospice before she died, so we were able to say goodbye - I am thankful for that. Her daughter found a poem that she had written to me but never given me. She gave it to me at the cookout we had on Saturday night (which was such a great time, I adore my family). I read it Sunday morning. By the date and the content, it seems like it was from when I graduated from high school. I wonder why she never gave it to me?

"To Jill with love from Jackie 6/20/97
I remember the day you were born
the image of your Dad.
A baby couldn't have been more loved.
A dream your parents had.
It's hard to believe you've come so far
Your childhood at an end:
Off you go...but not too far
It's just around the bend.
You worked so hard and it was so hard
Now you travel to a higher place
But you can go on with pride
And a smile upon your face
But in your heart there's a spot for me
I knew it was always mine
You'll always be a part of me
For in my eyes you shine"

I love you, Ma Tante Jackie!

Added to the emotional roller coaster of this week was the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01. It's amazing to think back on these 10 years. Rob and I watched some of the memorial coverage. My gosh, it was rough. It was especially heart-wrenching to see Rob break down as a teenager read the names of the fallen and, when she got to her dad, said "Butterfly kisses from your Peanut Girl." Sometimes things really take on a different light being a parent. (not to bust out the dreaded "You don't understand because you don't have kids..." that's not what I'm saying, I swear! But some things hit a little deeper now.)

On the joyous front, April is growing so fast and is so amazing. We started solid foods and it is the cutest thing ever. Man, that girl loves to eat! I was talking to family this weekend, and noted how different it can be for men and women. I am so thrilled to see her grow up, but there is the slimmest bit of pain seeing her start to need me less, knowing what's to come over her lifetime as far as pulling away from me. But Rob just seems plainly excited to look ahead at all the things she'll be able to do as she grows.

Having her has been an extra blessing during tough times. I am happy to see her bring joy to my family as we mourn our loss. Babies are true miracles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Randoms


I am trying to be better about updating! I guess I just feel a little silly when there isn't anything super-exciting to report! Things here have been really good lately. April is growing so fast and doing so well! We're just coming off such an awesome weekend. Lots of time with friends outside, which is perfect for late-August. The mornings have been so dark and have a bit of a chill, which spurs me to want to enjoy every minute we have left of summer. It's cooled off enough that I'm able to take some long walks with the stroller. We can add a rock at Lincoln Woods (a local state park where there is a very hilly, paved, 2.5-mile path around a big lake) to the places I've breastfed April!

I just dribbled coffee milk on my shirt and tried to wipe it with a tissue. It left fuzzy streaks on my boob, as if I was mauled by dryer lint.

One of the dogs (I would suspect Mini) peed on April's playmat sometime between 10:30 last night and 5:30 this morning. I smelled it when I was pumping. Not happy.

Speaking of the dogs, April is in love with them! I feel like she might smile more for them than me. :) We took a video of her laughing at them playing the other day. I however can not figure out how to open the videos I download? Incidentally, on that video Rob says how "f@#!ing cute" April is. Way to document a parenting fail, hun! :)

She's starting to go to bed earlier and I'm getting jealous of all the time Rob gets to spend with her during the day. I feel like the time I get with her is mostly cranky-time.

I don't know why I enjoy washing cloth diapers so much. It makes me a little ashamed.

Speaking of cloth diapers, there is a giveaway on a baby deals site I love. They really run some awesome specials! http://www.ecobabybuys.com/blog/?p=303

I would think it very interesting socialogically to look at the pages I've "liked" on Facebook and the people/places I'm following on Twitter in the past almost-four months as compared to my entire time on them prior. Baby blogs, mom groups, diaper shops...

Monday, August 8, 2011

We have a roller!




April rolled over this weekend! Friday night to be exact. I was at my parents' house for our weekly fish-and-chips ritual. I was letting April air her little butt out, because we're finally back to cloth diapers after the yeast debacle and I had her in a small sized BumGenius. Lo and behold, she does not fit in a small size! EEEEK. So big! Hence the red marks in the photos.

Anyway, she's been teasing us with almost-rolling or rolling while we're on the bed with her (and the blanket or pillow makes a little ramp to help her). But this was the complete unaided roll! I didn't have my video camera (ironically, since I have several minutes of her almost-rolling!)

I'm sorry Rob was at work, but I'm glad I was around to see it. So as of August 5, 2011, April will not necessarily stay where I put her. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Catching up on progress pictures





As seems to be a trend right now, we've been taking pictures of April for each month with cute little stickers on her onesie. I thought I'd post the ones we've done so far to catch up!

This week, April is a massive crankpot! I'm not sure if it's teething or if she's catching something - but holy moly is she unpleasant. :) Last night was the first night since I've been back to work that she hasn't slept well. I'm a bit of a zombie, but it makes me realize how lucky I've been to have such a good sleeper.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Changes


There's a lot about April's newborn phase that I'm ashamed to admit. I am not sure if it was post-partum depression, but I definitely suspected it. My midwife suggested therapy but I didn't want to share my feelings with anyone. I had so much trouble admitting things weren't the fairy tale you start to believe they will be. I suspect it has something to do with infertility and our struggles to get here. There is for sure a "survivor's guilt" associated with finally getting pregnant and having a baby. The last thing I wanted was to seem ungrateful for my miracle.

But anyway, things were definitely not easy for a while. April had reflux and a really hard time with gas. I had some difficulty recovering from the c-section (and subsequent d&c after 8 weeks of bleeding). And with the shift Rob was working, I felt like I was alone most of the time. Some people reached out to spend time with us, but I hid what I was feeling. Honestly, I didn't feel as connected to her as I knew I should. Which created a guilt spiral where I just felt worse and worse.

I wanted to say all this not to be a bummer, but to reflect on how I am still in amazement over how things have changed in the past maybe four weeks. I'm sure part of it is me getting used to the new normal and feeling better physically. I started to learn what she liked, too. I would think April is the real reason, though. I absolutely adore this baby. In her third month, she started responding to us and the world in general. I could sit and watch her smile for hours (and do, it seems). My favorite thing in the whole world right now is when she "talks" to me. I never imagined loving a sound so much.

I don't really have a reference point with which to judge, but she seems like such a sweet and happy baby! We've been toting her around all kinds of places, and she is (for the most part) easy! She's been to all kinds of restaurants and parties in her three months. I am so grateful to have such an awesome girl. I'm truly lucky in countless ways these days.

She'll be three months old tomorrow. Happy quarter-birthday, April. I'm sorry for our rough start but can't wait to see how you continue to grow!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nothing much!


(This picture is also from July 4th, but it's a rare one of April and me together!)
Be impressed I'm remembering to update! It's a Thursday night and April has been asleep for a bit. Rob's at work. And it's a million degrees! I'd still rather this than a foot of snow or freezing temperatures, but DAMN. My thermostat says 85 degrees in my living room at 10:30 at night!

This is the last week of my modified back-to-work schedule. I worked three days in the office and today from home, with tomorrow off. Next week, it's the real deal. It's been much smoother than I expected on the home front - thank goodness! So far, so good. Let me outline my new morning routine, because I'm proud of my organization!

I wake up at 5 AM. The first thing I do is take Layla and Mini (the dogs!) to the park. Then I feed them and take Spanky (the decrepit old dog) outside. I pack my lunch up and get washed and dressed. Then I pump to make a bottle for Rob to give April while I watch the news. I go in and feed her after that, super quietly and carefully so she stays asleep! I pack up my pump and head out by 6:15! I've been pumping three times a day in my office, something else that makes me feel really lucky. I have a door to shut and an understanding company!

I feel so much better of a mom with this time away, honestly. It was a little difficult to be April's pretty-much-sole caregiver 24/7. I know Rob is struggling a bit with sleep, since he gets home around 3:30 AM and April generally gets up around 9 AM. But I'm hopeful it will work out for a bit, at least until I feel more comfortable finding her a daycare or caregiver. I really miss Rob, though. He leaves for work 15-20 minutes after I get home. I am thankful to have him home for April during the day...but I do miss spending time with him.

April is doing great, though! She's going through some early teething, I think. She seems to be sitting up better and better each day. I just love her to pieces.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back on the wagon!




I would love to get back into blogging and turn this into a "mommy" blog so I can look back on April's developments. The perfect time would be now, as I am going back to work! I have more time to sit and type this way, even if I leave the screen open and update a bit as I finish things here. So, here's an update!

Tomorrow April will be 11 weeks old. She's doing so great! I had a tough time adjusting with the physical issues I had and she developed (reflux and gas), but things are so, so much better. She is a joy. She's smiling like crazy! I can't get enough of those huge, toothless grins and laughs. She will chatter at us a bit and I love having a "conversation." Right now she's putting everything in her mouth and it's amazing to see how quickly her coordination develops. She also loves staring at her feet.

She's a great sleeper for the most part! Not much of a napper during the day but sleeps for a good 6-hour stretch and then will usually go back down for another 2-3 hours. Right now this is awesome, as Rob is on second shift and has her during the day. Since he gets home around 3-3:30, if she can sleep until 9, it's doable. I generally feed her while she sleeps before I leave for work at 6:15.

Mornings are a little hectic for me right now, but I'm learning! I take the dogs for a walk, feed them all, get myself ready, pump to make her morning bottle to leave for Rob, feed April, and pack the pump and my lunch. Whew! It means getting up at 5, but if I can get her in bed by midnight, I manage! That hasn't been a problem in the past few weeks,so fingers crossed it stays that way.

She's growing fantastically! At her one month appointment, she was 9 lbs, 12.5 oz. At her two month appointment, she was 11 lbs, 14 oz. She's in the 70% percentile for height and weight and was for both appointments. We also had SHOTS this appointment, which is heartbreaking for mama! Boy did she scream - the kind where they take a while to take a breath. But I stuck a boob in her mouth right after, and she was fine. She was kind of "off" for a few days, but we're back to normal!

Breastfeeding is going awesome, although I'm a little neurotic about the effects of going back to work. Hopefully the supply will keep up. I try to pump every 3 hours, so it's 3 times during the work day if I can. It's awkward, as my door is plywood and my pump sounds like a sick goose...but oh well! I need to get over sitting at my desk topless with the pump bottles stuck to me with this elastic band around my boobs (so I have my hands free).

We also had a wonderful 4th of July! April was such a good sport, since we dragged her to two parties on Saturday then two parties on Monday (plus the parade). She is such a good baby and handles being ported around and passed to different people really well. And she went in the pool!

I have 50 million pictures, but the ones here are her on the 4th. I promise to be better about keeping this blog up!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Never how I planned



I am still learning the lessons in humility and acceptance that have come with infertility and pregnancy complications. It's been difficult. I had a plan. We'd get pregnant after a month or two (see? I wasn't being unreasonable - I didn't expect it on the first try or anything! Ha!). I'd have an easy pregnancy. I would give birth unmedicated and on the baby's schedule. Not so much, as I should've learned by now! When I talk about the birth, people say to focus on the fact that we're both here and healthy. I know that's the important thing, I truly do, but I have mourned for the birth experience I wanted. But hey, I didn't have the conception experience I wanted, so maybe I should've known! :)

On April 26th, I had my 39 week appointment with the obstetrician. No more midwives for me with the hypertension! I had some mild contractions on a timeable basis during the weekend, but by that Tuesday they had stopped. I had previously measured at 1.5 cm dialation but didn't feel like the baby was in any hurry. It turns out, it wasn't, but my body wasn't handling the late stages of pregnancy well.

My blood pressure was higher than it had been even when I was hospitalized earlier in the month. Ironically, the doctor who saw me was the one who I hated as my gynecologist and caused me to leave the practice. I only went back because I wanted the Alternative Birthing Center, requiring a practice with several midwives. She had the same shitty bedside manner I remembered. :) I was told to get my ass immediately to the hospital. I even was told to bypass triage and tell them I was to get a labor room immediately.

So I ended up in Labor Room 5, the exact kind of impersonal, uncomfortable, highly "medical" labor room I had wanted to avoid. I was told I was to be confined to bed but could go to the bathroom myself if my blood pressure stabilized a bit. They started me on magnesium citrate, which is an awful, awful medication. I also started another medication to bring the blood pressure down, and pitocin to get the show on the road.

It really took a while to start feeling the contractions from the pitocin. I had probably been in the labor room for 5-6 hours at that time. The doctor broke my water that night and things started moving from there. So I learned that labor hurts! I was unable to do any of the positions I had studied to help with labor and powered through it confined to bed. One nice thing that happened was one of the midwives spent most of the night with us, helping me through the contractions. I felt like I could handle the pain enough to make this happen.

Until I made no progress in dialation after the entire night of contractions. It was the first time labor would make me feel more hopeless and inadequate than I ever had before. I broke and asked for the epidural at the advice of the nurse.

The relief was welcome! I was able to send Rob home to shower and take care of the dogs, since I was only at 3 cm and he had come to the doctor appointment right from a 12 hour shift. Poor guy was sleeping between my contractions all night. :)

When I was checked again after the morning, I was shocked to learn I was 9 cm and close to pushing time! My spirits lifted. Finally - to meet this baby! Rob wasn't back but was close, so at least I wasn't alone! My family were waiting downstairs and I felt like it couldn't be long!

Wrong again! I pushed for 3 hours. It turns out the baby wasn't quite in the right position - it was face-up (or, more pleasantly, "sunnyside up") and slightly askew. Although I was pushing well and apparently you could see the top of the crown, I wasn't making progress. I could see the nurses and doctors whispering and exchanging looks, so I knew it wasn't going well.

The doctor then gave me a choice: I could keep pushing, and maybe the baby would break free. But I would have to accept the possibility of an emergency c-section. In an emeregency section, the incision is vertical, causing all kinds of recovery problems and ruling out future vaginal deliveries. Or I could opt for a non-emergency c-section. This would give them time to prepare and do the bikini cut, a more forgiving incision and leaving open the possibility of avoiding a section with future children. The baby had never shown signs of distress, so I still had the choice.

What a choice. The thing I didn't want most out of this delivery was on the table...but was obviously the better choice for me and the baby.

So I ended up on the operating table in the most surreal experience, splayed out like on the cross on the other side of a big curtain. There were probably 10 people in the operating room (all very nice and comforting, at least). I was so exhausted and feeling the effects of the magnesium, which was trippy and caused eye issues.

But a happy ending! They asked Rob to tell us all what the baby was. I'll never forget his reaction: happy crying as he said "It's a beautiful baby girl."

April Lynn was born at 5:02 PM on April 27, 2011. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 21 inches long. Her cry was strong and beautiful. The only ill effects of the ordeal were a serious friction burn on her forehead (which is still healing) and a low body temperature due to the magnesium.

It's torture to not be able to see her as they checked her out and Rob cut the cord. It's so strange to feel them pulling and tugging behind the curtain. But she was here! I was able to talk to everyone and get the updates. She then went upstairs with Rob while I was stitched up.

So that was it, really! We were able to both do skin-to-skin with her in the recovery room, and I was able to try nursing for the first time. They extended visiting time a bit for my family to be able to visit in our new room upstairs for a bit. It was magical to see everyone's reactions. :)

We spent 4 days in the hospital before heading on on May 1st. The next chapter of our lives had started!

So what's new?


I am an awful blogger. I was pouting about the issues I had in my previously easy pregnancy and didn't feel like talking about it, honestly. What a brat. :) But you might be able to imagine that things are completely different from my last post!

The picture is my last official bump picture of being pregnant! We took it the weekend before I had the baby - I was 39 weeks in the picture. At that time, I had been on modified bedrest for almost 3 weeks. At my 36 week appointment, my blood pressure went above the borderline level where it had been and went into the danger zone. I was told to go right to the triage unit of the hospital.

Thankfully, it was the first appointment in a while that Rob attended with me. I was so happy to not be alone. We were scared, that's for sure. My blood pressure went up and down a bit in triage and there was a trace of protein in my urine (a sign of pre-eclampsia), so I was admitted.

I spent two nights in the hospital under observation. There was talk of putting me on medication and hints of inducing me then, at 36 weeks and 3-4 days, but in the end the doctors decided I could go home. However, my working days were over for a while! It was quite a surprise but a relief in the end.

It was wonderful and amazing how my husband, family, and friends rallied to take care of me! Rob was so great in picking up the slack around the house. My parents came by every weekend to clean and do the little projects it seemed as if we had plenty of time to do before the baby until the scare. And we got lovely home-cooked meals from several generous and talented people. :) My blood pressure was down a bit in my 37 and 38 week appointments. So I waited...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The glamour of pregnancy

I feel like it's been forever since I posted yet again! Time continues to move at a warp speed as we count down the weeks - soon to be the days - until my due date! Every day I am reminded by both the calendar and my ginormous belly that I AM SO FRIGGIN' PREGNANT.

We have been so busy around the house it's amazing! Well, I throw the "we" around a bit loosely, since I mostly do a short burst of organization or cleaning followed by a bit of time with my feet up. :) Rob has been great in general, and my parents have been coming by on the weekends to whip the place into shape. I am such a horrible housekeeper. Truly. But the house is looking great and I'm feeling less panicked about everything, at least.

Unfortunately, my blood pressure was high at my midwife appointment last week. Well, not exactly high - but "borderline," and only the top number. I had a follow up yesterday where the levels were just about the same. This sucks. It puts into doubt being able to deliver the way we had hoped. I hate that there's nothing I can do to fix it. I also really hate that my stupid body didn't want to get pregnant, and now it can't be pregnant correctly.

So the glamourous part of this whole equation is the screening for pre-eclampsia I am enjoying today: the 24-hour urine collection. Just as fabulous as it sounds, especially when you're at work! I have a nice cooler for my bottle of pee that I bring to the bathroom with me each time. It's very subtle.

I am mad at my body today. I really hope my urine is clear of protein and we can roll through the rest of this pregnancy without having to plan inductions or c-sections, etc. I'm not even in the mood to post pictures, so there. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The little stinker

I am not generally a nervous person. I worry a bit but am usually able to shake things off before dwelling too long. But of course, being someone's mom means worrying, so I had to come up with something to freak out about this pregnancy. And that came to a head this week in my worries about how often the baby is moving.

It seems like most people I hear from had very active babies. This one has been a lot more on the laid-back end of things (not that I have anything to directly compare it to, of course). But towards the end of last week and into the weekend, I noticed the baby was really quiet. I wasn't actively panicking, but it was something at the back of my mind. When I went in for a midwife appointment on Tuesday afternoon, I was asked how things were going, and I mentioned I was a little concerned. And kind of...cried. In a very dignified way, of course. Just the merest whisper of little tears leaking out. (you see, I am a crier. I have a way of tearing up when people look at me the way she was, all concerned.) So it was suggested that I go across the hall to the OB's office for a NST and an ultrasound. To which I replied, "Well...I feel silly...do you think I'm being silly?" More leakage. She wrote the paperwork out and away I went.

I have since found out a NST is a non-stress fetal test. You sit in a dentist-like chair with two probes on your belly: one where the baby's heartbeat can be read, and another right in the middle that apparently measures contractions. I had to look this up afterwards. :) You're instructed to push a button when the baby moves. And they leave you to obsess about movement, mine lasted 20 minutes. You could be like me and my little stinker - and not get to push the button at all, because the baby doesn't move. Which prompts a lady to come in and look all concerned and say "No movement at all?"

So I was taken to the ultrasound room in my trying-not-to-cry state. I was given a little chocolate bar to spur the baby along. Bribery starts early in these parts! Of course, the baby again was just chilling but not really moving. S/he was apparently "practice breathing," though, which is a good sign we're getting ready to go! After a few tense moments, the baby flexed and moved its hand and did a little jiggy movement.

WHEW. I then went back to the midwife for a wrap-up and found out things looked good, despite the reactions of the tech.

And I feel extra silly for worrying. :) But I got to see the baby, who is head down and measuring on track! I guess there's a pretty nice upside.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's in there?



So as I get closer to the end, I find myself pondering whether we'll be having a son or daughter. I'm still glad we didn't find out - particularly that I received lots of yellow and green at the shower, ha! - I'm starting to get a little impatient. Everyone has an opinion! As I write this, the poll here on the blog is 10:9 for girl. The baby pool my mom and sister organized say 32:20 boy. But in the interest of science, I looked up some of the wives' tales on gender prediction so I can share with you all!

Q: Carrying high or low?
A: Oh my gosh, if this were true this would be the girliest girl ever, because the baby is high!

Q: Heartrate - above or below 140 beats per minute?
A: I think almost every time it's checked we're right around 140! Maybe a bit higher, which supposedly means a girl.

Q: Cravings - sweet or salty?
A: Another that would mean a girly-girl, because it's been sweets all the way!

Q: Chinese Birth Chart - age of mother and month of conception.
A: 30 at conception, and I guess technically conceived in August? (These are always odd, I mean, with the IVF the egg was fertilized in May, actually, but then frozen and implanted in August...) If I use May, it's a girl. If I use August, it's a boy. :)

Q: Mayan Sex Predictor - age of mother and year of conception, odd or even?
A: Both are even, so that means girl. (apparently if it's one of each, it's a boy)

Q: If you put a key in front of me, do I pick up the big part or the thin part?
A: We did this at a party a few months ago, actually. I picked up the round part, so that is supposed to mean a boy. (some of these are so scientific!) Which is kind of the opposite of what you'd think. Or maybe that's just me...but I would think the long, thin part would be a boy. :)

Q: Breaking out, swollen nose, etc.
A: I don't think I look much different than before I got pregnant (my skin actually cleared up!), so that is another indication of a boy, because girls "steal their mothers beauty!" Ha, awesome. Mom, you're still beautiful and you had two girls. :)

Q: Morning sickness?
A: Wow, these predictors really think carrying a girl is a bitch! But since I had smooth sailing the whole time, that's a boy indicator.

Q: Where's the weight going - all over or just in front?
A: This one makes me happy, and it is probably the wives' tale I hear the most from people. I haven't put on much weight except the belly, so that is supposed to indicate a boy.

Q: Leg hair growth - faster or the same as before pregnancy?
A: The same, if not slower. Thank goodness, because it's hard to reach! Girl.

Q: Cold feet? (literally)
A: Nope, no difference. Theoretically a girl.

Okay, last one! There are a million out there! Here's a nice off-the-wall one.
Q: Do you eat the heel of the bread?
A: No, I have always hated the heel of the bread. So must be a girl!


Our grand total for this little exercise is 7:4 for a girl. :) I suspect the more you answer, the closer it gets to 50%, of course, with my vast knowledge of statistics. (um, total joke)

I also get asked a lot what I think. For some reason, I have always thought of this baby as a girl. It's not a preference or anything I can point to as having a logical base or even a moment I began thinking so - it's just what I think. Maybe because it's funny to think of having a penis inside me for 9 months. HA, I'm a riot. I was so sure it was a girl for a while I actually sat up in bed one morning and said to myself "Self, this could just as easily be a boy!" which was kind of a shocker. So now I have to keep reminding myself of that. I honestly don't have a preference, though!

Anyway, back to work. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Showered!


I had my shower this weekend! I am a very spoiled girl. :) It was such a lovely event. I walked in and teared up - it was amazing how many people were there. My mom, sister, and friends Kyla and Angela made the room look absolutely beautiful! Sometimes I am totally overwhelmed with how my people "get" me. It was all done with yellow and green (my top two colors), the hanging onesies featured a few of my favorites (frogs! turtles!), and the centerpieces had rocks in them. Um...perfect! The whole thing made me feel so special and loved. Not to mention the gifts! I am bowled over by how generous everyone was. This baby is set!

So the two showers definitely spurred a panic attack in me that we NEED to get the house squared away! It has been so busy since, getting the gear assembled and the nursery organized. I guess I'm nesting! :) Everyone has been so wonderful to help, too. My parents and my sister and her boyfriend have been over every day for a week helping with the furniture, cleaning, organizing, etc. I feel so lucky to have this baby be so loved already!

I am 32 weeks pregnant. I am huge. I feel pretty good, but this baby is riding so high that I feel a little squished in there! But I'm moving around well and just trying to slow time a bit before the big event. I can't even fathom how things will be changing. In less than 2 months time.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Cakewrecks.com is the best, isn't it? I am sad to report this was NOT my shower cake. I had a boring old ice cream cake for my work shower this week. If you know me, this would be obvious as sarcasm, because ice cream cakes are my favorite! (Gosh, can a pregnant lady pick a favorite cake? I kind of feel bad saying that, because I am an equal-opportunity cake lover!) So I had a work shower this week and it was so sweet! I was really touched by the effort everyone put in and how they took time out of their days to celebrate. People were very generous - I got most of the accessories that match the crib bedding, which is cuter than I remember! It was funny to have guys there watching me open gifts. :)

What else is new this week? Rob was away last weekend and I spent the nights at my parents' house. It was a nice break - I was pampered. I also used the gift certificate from Rob for a prenatal massage, which was wonderful! What a thoughtful husband (and I only had to hint one time!). It was funny when he got back - he said that, when he left, I certainly looked pregnant. But when he got back, he said it was unbelievable, or some such adjective you don't generally hope to hear applied to your belly. I got a good laugh over that one!

I had my first appointment with the midwife in the new practice this week, and that went well! I have gained another pound, putting me at 18. I have enjoyed the comments from people that it's all belly, though. :) I do fit into pre-pregnancy clothes with the exception of this beachball in front!

I've been reading lots of books and blogs on natural birth, etc. Although I know there is a line of where I have too much information and psych myself out, I feel better being prepared. And I love reading birth stories - the good and the bad.

So that's about it! I'm feeling good and the baby has been active this week. Time is flying by! I am starting to get pretty frantic about fixing up the nursery and getting the house all set (I am an absolutely terribly housekeeper). I just know April will be here before we know it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This pregnancy has been brought to you by...



...the makers of Nilla Wafers and Peanut Butter Snickers. Oh, and clementines. Seriously, this baby appears to love sweets because these are my staples. Anyway - hello! Greetings from THIRTY WEEKS PREGNANT. Damn. I feel like every post is me freaking out about how pregnant I am, but I am continually shocked by how quickly time is passing.

I also like my face in this picture. I think I look very proud of my enormity. Somewhat funny note, on Sunday when we took the picture, I wore a pair of my regular, non-maternity jeans (with an elastic band on the snap). I was very impressed with myself, and said the only way you'd know I was pregnant is because of the horizontal stripes on the shirt adding girth. ;) This is VERY funny to me, because I am huge!

So, what's new here? I'm doing pretty good and seem to have made it over the hump of a few weeks ago. Giant thanks go to my sister for lending me her body pillow - it has made such a difference in my sleep. Less thanks to my bladder for negating the comfort of the body pillow, though! I feel like a typically pregnant person with the bladder. And when I do go, I literally have to do a big circle with my upper body. I think the baby weight must be pinching my bladder in spots, because if I don't make sure to move I stand up and find that extra little pocket of pee that didn't make it out. :) Yes, TMI. But way milder than some of the other joys of pregnancy I could detail, so be thankful!

Rob and I toured the ABC as I mentioned in the last post and were blown away. It just felt...right. I mean, it stinks that the hospital only has one room (shouldn't it be "Alternative Birthing ROOM," instead of "Center," then?), but it's worth a try. I think even more than just the room, it really clicked that having a midwife is the right thing for us. The practice I was going to only has one, so trying the ABC isn't an option. So next week I am going to another practice, one with several midwives. I really hope it's a good fit! I've been reading up on what your body goes through in childbirth, and how things progress without medical intervention. (DISCLAIMER: I know this is all ideal, and things go wrong, I might not be able to handle it, etc. I am not against drugs or inductions or c-sections, but I'd like to give my body a chance to make this happen. You know, since it really dropped the ball at getting pregnant. Maybe it will be better at getting un-pregnant.) It's fascinating and I really want to try. Rob was also into it and incredibly supportive, which is awesome because I know for this to work I'll really need to rely on him during labor.

And basically, I'm a lot more scared of being someone's mother than going through labor. Gosh, it's not like I didn't want this! But whoa nellie is it scary sometimes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What right do I have?

I know one of the things I keep mentioning here and in person is how lucky I've been through this entire pregnancy. But I feel like I've been twice as lucky, since I have not only not had anything to complain about but also because, even if I did, I'd be very hesitant to say anything.

Such is another awkward situation on the pregnant-after-infertility tip: the reluctance to complain about something you've wished and struggled for. I've been very, very hesitant to say anything negative this whole time. I guess for a few reasons. Kind of a "beggars can't be choosers" mentality - if you're starving, do you have the right to complain about the food you're given? But also that, through the magic of the internet, I "know" a lot of strong, supportive, kind, and deserving women who haven't had this miracle happen yet. If your friends are also starving, when you get a meal you can't very well turn to them and say "Don't worry, it was way too salty." I feel a lot of guilt for any fleeting "wow, it would be awesome to not be pregnant for, like, a day" thought I have.

Now that I've hit the third trimester, things haven't gotten awful - don't worry! But I do feel a few things that make me say "Oh, that's what those women were talking about!" I still feel good, the baby is still by all accounts doing well, but I am starting to feel...unwieldy. Big and awkward and a little sore where things come together! Lots of having to get up to pee, and a whole lot of feeling like a turtle on its back when I try to get up. :) I have a bit of a waddle going on. Ask my husband to do his impression of me running last weekend for you sometime if you need a laugh! I went to see The Lion King as a Christmas gift from my mom with my mother, sister, and some awesome ladies. It was such a blast - but my feet got so swollen watching the show that I was completely taken aback. I wanted nothing more than to kick off my shoes and put my barking dogs up - but it wasn't a possibility in a theater (and I don't think the shoes would've gone back on easily if I tried!).

Oh, and I've gained 17 pounds total. Hmph.

This week my husband and I are visiting the earthy-crunchy birthing center at our local Baby Factory Hospital. Time to get serious about the actual labor preparations! Wish me luck.

And speaking of internet friends, I just heard today that one lost her twins at 18 weeks. My heart is breaking for her. Life is so unfair.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2/3 down...



I've crossed over - I am now in my Third Trimester! Kind of unbelievable! I just can't seem to wrap my head around how pregnant I am. Like, super-pregnant. Pregnant enough that I can see the baby move! Just last weekend I was sitting in the living room, watching a part of my body move without any input from me. Rob saw it, too! I feel like the baby might be head-down, since the movement up by my right ribs had to be legs. I am pretty fascinated by my belly in general. It's rock hard and sometimes looks lopsided, like the baby is hanging out on one side. We also perform daily belly button checks. Still an innie - but not by much! It's so strange how some days it's shallower than others.

I've heard a lot of pregnant women complain about people touching their bellies. Surprisingly (since I am a firm advocate of "this is my dance space, this is your dance space") I love when people touch my belly. It's just so cool! And I have absolutely no problem sharing the intimate details of my pregnancy with people. I love it. I think there was so much I didn't know before getting pregnant, and so much I'm fascinated with now that I'm here, that I don't mind being a source of uncomfortable TMI. So, hey, let any questions rip! It was a lot of fun to go to a party this weekend and get all the rubs and the comments on how I'm "all belly" (yay!) and the guesses on what we're having. Please vote if you haven't!

Interesting pregnancy development: I feel like I have on a pair of those underwear advertised in the back of magazines where there's a remote controlling the "magic" vibrations. Weirdest damn thing to be sitting at work and feel like you're getting intimate with a joy buzzer.

So the struggle to keep active with the 4 ft of snow on the ground continues! We bought snowshoes, which was awesome! It's such hard work, though. Even with Rob going first and tramping down a trail, especially because his gait is way longer than mine, so I have to take 2 steps for every one of his. We tried this weekend and I was pretty tired after! As we get closer, I am just so afraid of having a hard labor that ends in a C-section that I am trying to stay in some kind of shape. Not sure it will help, but it makes me less nervous.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Plugging along!



Greetings from the Arctic Tundra! My car thermometer said "-7" this morning. It is COLD. And more snow is expected tomorrow. We've been whalloped this winter and it's only January! This weather blows for all of us. But since this is my blog and it's all about me, let me say it is pretty rotten to be pregnant now! I want to get outside SO BAD. I feel totally cabin-crazed and shuttered up inside and I want to go do something! I have been craving walking with the little aches and pains I have, but everything is so icy and there are no sidewalks. The dogs have already pulled me down once with the ice and my not-so-stellar balance.

We have been going to Lincoln Woods on the weekends to get out, though. It helps! They plow the big paved road around the lake and it's so nice to get some exercise in. It gets dark too early to do that during the week now, though. I hate winter!

Everything else is going well! I had a doctor appointment two weeks ago and things are looking fine! I passed my gestational diabetes test - yay me! With the PCOS and weight I am at a higher risk, so making it through without GD is an accomplishment! Yay me. :) Less impressive is my total weight gain...11 pounds. Now, I KNOW I'm pregnant and I'm supposed to gain weight. I am actually not a person who freaks out about weight. I guess I was just really hoping to gain as little as possible. They say when you're overweight before you get pregnant, to try to keep weight gain between 15-20 lbs. Gaining 11 by 24 weeks does not seem very on-track. But oh well. I'm trying!

Speaking of food, no weird cravings or anything. I like to eat but there hasn't been anything I MUST HAVE. :) I'm sure Rob is thankful to not have to run out at all hours to buy me pickles, etc.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Already taking over!





We've been lucky enough to receive a few presents from our registry - thanks to Mom and Dad (I can't pin them down on what they want the baby to call them, so we'll stick with what I call them) and my good friend Jon! As a result, our not-terribly-large downstairs dining room is being taken over by baby stuff.

If you were to figure out the footprint of all the items on my registry, how much living area would be left for Rob, myself, and three dogs?

This post doesn't really have much of a point besides to present some cute photos of Rob the Assembler and Mini the Pack-and-Play Poacher.

Also, a random thought: it's awesome when you're the only one in the office so you can listen to Pandora Radio kinda loud (Oh! You Pretty Things is on right now) and allow for pregnancy-related gaseous emissions to flow as nature intended.

And one more thing! Prenatal yoga is the best thing ever. I still feel really good but was feeling kind of stretched-out and a bit off-balance this week. Well, good timing for some yoga! Once you get over the hippie-dippy parts, like "Breathe into your baby" and "Caress your baby through your belly" (um, the word "caress" is so bawdy romance novel to me for some reason - a little too reminiscent of loins and smoldering passion to be baby-related), it is glorious.

Okay, that's it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!!



Happy 2011 to all my friends and family!! Gosh, I can't believe the new year is here already. THE year. Stuff just got very real, peeps. I know how silly it sounds (it makes more sense in my head!), but I was putting off a lot of serious decisions and planning until "after the holidays." We need to figure out so many details - particularly how my company will allow me to handle leave and scheduling after the baby. And what we'll do with the baby while working.

I really have no idea what we're going to do.

But, on the less stressful front, it was a wonderful holiday! The picture is me on Christmas Day, so at 22 weeks. Of course, I'm behind on pictures but this weekend will be 24 weeks. That sounds momentous to me for some reason, so I will really try to remember!

New Year's was nice, despite a different vibe from previous years! We went out to dinner with some wonderful friends, then spent a bit at a local bar with friends, and were home for the ball drop at midnight. To see out the last year we'll be a family of two. Whoa. That's deep.

I posted my photo and was puzzling over how huge my feet look. I just remembered that's because I am wearing Rob's slippers. :)