Thursday, July 26, 2012

Maternity Pictures

So, it may not be quite as exciting as baby pictures (what's more exciting than pictures of babies?!?!), but I was so excited to get our maternity pictures in the mail today!  As I've mentioned in the past, our awesome wedding photographers, Ashley and David Modern Photography, got some great shots!  We had so much fun catching up with them since they are living in North Carolina now.  

First, they got some super shots in the nursery

Then we grabbed dinner before heading out for the pictures.  They turned out great, but boy am I glad I'm not that puffy anymore!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cry Me a River

It's ironic that when your child is born, you just want to hear her cry so that you know she's ok.  From that moment on though, her cry is the most heartbreaking sound you've ever heard.  When she cries, you want to cry with her!

Week 2

We survived another week!  
I'm two weeks old and in no mood to pose!

Mommy caught a little smile and some great dimples!
Etta Mae is just as wonderful as she was a week ago.  She has definitely gotten much more wiggly this week (and a little fussier too, but she's still sweet).  She is still a great sleeper, and I have to wake her up to eat.  

I'm feeling much better, too.  I've been able to drive which is great!  I've made a few Wal-Mart trips.  Yesterday was the first day that I drove with Etta Mae in the car.  We picked up Jason and went to the pediatrician.  It was probably the most nervous I've ever been in the car!

Here are a few fun facts about Etta Mae and things that happened this week:

  • Her umbilical cord stump fell off so we've taken a couple of real baths!  She doesn't like those anymore than the sponge version.
  • Sometimes it seems like all she does is eat!  I know it's normal, but man is it challenging sometimes.  They say you're supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, but when all she does is eat and sleep, that doesn't seem possible.  I find that when she's sleeping, I'm running around like a crazy person trying to do as many things as I can before she wakes up!
  • She is definitely hot natured like her dad.  She spends most of the day hanging out in her diaper

  • Cloth diapering is going great - daddy is a pro!
  • I finally found a diaper bag that will fit all of our stuff (I don't pack light!).  Can't wait for it to come in!
The Weekender bag by Kalencom

  • I have also enjoyed having the Ergo carrier to tote Etta Mae around when she is awake and I need to do a few things.  I decided I needed something a little simpler though for around the house, so I found an awesome ring sling.  Should be here Friday!

Sakura Bloom ring sling
Hanging out in the Ergo newborn insert after a trip to the mailbox
  • Jason went back to work yesterday.  I was pretty bummed!  It's SO much harder without him here.  I miss his company and it's tough not having someone who can bring me a glass of water or a burp cloth or hold her when I need to go to the bathroom.  We're definitely missing having him around.
  • I ordered Etta Mae's birth certificate and a copy of the newspaper from the day she is born :)
  • We enjoy tummy time (well, sometimes)

  • Samson is worn out from "helping" me with Etta Mae.  He is always checking on her and follows us just about everywhere.

  • And some super exciting news!!!  Etta Mae's newborn pictures taken by Amber Lanning are ready.  They are all gorgeous!  She is such a beautiful baby and Amber is incredibly talented.  I'm so happy with them, but now I want to order tons of stuff!  Of course I need announcements and albums and EVERYTHING!  Can't wait to post them!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The First Week

I cannot believe that Etta Mae is 8 days old! While I can't even remember what life was like without her, it has been the fastest week of my life! I want her to stay this little and perfect forever.

I was so nervous during my pregnancy because I honestly hadn't spent much time around babies.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my own.  My friends reassured me that it would come naturally, and for the most part that was very true.  I have learned so much about diapers, poop color, gas drops and tummy time.  But mostly, I've found that there is nothing better than holding a little baby and watching her faces while she sleeps.

We came home on Wednesday, and I was so lucky to have my mom in town for a few days.  I was feeling pretty good, but still very sore and it was hard to get around.  I spent most of the time on the couch being waited on.  And she did it all - cleaned, cooked, did laundry.  She even brought me breakfast in bed one day!  I felt so bad ordering her around - "Can you get me some water?", "I left 'fill in the blank' upstairs, can you go get it?".

The first thing I wanted when I got home was Papa John's pizza.  I'd never tasted a better pizza in my life!  The first day, we just stared at her in awe of how stinking cute she is.
Since 1950, every little girl on my mom's side
of the family has had a picture in this dress.

That first night was not easy.  I didn't know what to expect, and she definitely had me scared of what I had gotten myself into. She cried.  Then she cried some more.  There was nothing we could do to make her stop except rocking her in the nursery.  So, the three of us took shifts in the chair to make sure she got some sleep.  Needless to say, we were all very tired the next day.

Day 2 at home, we continued with the baby staring (I have a feeling that will never stop!). She slept most of the day and got rocked and cuddled nonstop.  We had several visitors - Nicole, Rea and Gina, and Jessica.  Thanks for the food ladies :)

That night, Etta Mae got her first bath!  At first she screamed.  Once we got her hair washed and put a towel over her head, she seemed to really enjoy it.  She was alert and awake after and then took a nice long nap in her swing.  So content!

We all hoped that the bath would be the golden ticket to a good night's sleep.  Everything was great as we got ready for bed.  She slept peacefully in the Pack N Play by our bed.  Jason and I laid down about at 11, and just as I was pulling the covers up over me, the crying started!  And night 2 was a carbon copy of night 1.  I was convinced I'd never sleep again.

Friday was our busiest day, yet.  Etta Mae's newborn pictures were at 8:30 with Amber Lanning Photography.  She was fabulous, and I can't wait to see and share the pictures.  Jason and I had to leave halfway through the shoot to go to my doctor appointment, and my mom stayed to help.  It's so exciting that many of the pictures will be a surprise.

After my appointment, Jason and I went back to the studio to pick up mom and baby and headed to her first pediatrician appointment.  Everything checked out well.  As we knew, our little girl was perfect.  The only minor concern was that she was down to 9 lbs (small, right?) so they wanted us to come back in a few days for a weight check to make sure she was gaining it back.

That night, we did bath time again.  This time, she screamed the entire bath.  Guess bath one was a fluke!  As we got ready for bed, we prepared for our nightly shifts.  We swaddled her and put her in the Pack N Play and waited for her to wake up.  But, she never did!  I even had to wake her up to eat!  And when I put her back down, she slept again without waking up to cry.  The sleep was amazing!

Saturday morning, my mom left and my dad came by to visit for the day.  I was feeling so much better and even got out of the house.  I had Tyler take me to Terra Tots and Wal-Mart so I could get a few things done.  I picked up the house a little, too.  It was great to get a few things done.

I found out that evening, that my sweet grandma had gone to heaven, so it was such a bittersweet day.  It was Etta Mae's due date.  My grandma had been sick for awhile and we had a feeling it wouldn't be much longer, but that never makes it any easier.  Luckily, the entire family had gone to visit a couple of weeks ago, so I did get to see her before it got too bad.  I only wish she would have had the chance to meet her great-granddaughter.  She did at least get to see pictures, though, so that is very comforting.  I know Etta Mae will have an awesome guardian angel.

That night was our first night to ourselves.  I was so afraid that our crying baby would be back, but she was just perfect and slept again - only waking up when I got her up to eat.  I must say that I've never been so happy to be able to sleep on my back.  I missed it so much while I was pregnant.

We got up the next morning to get ready for Jason's mom to come to town.  When I let the dogs out, I noticed that the dining room table was wet.  And our camera and my purse were on it!  At first I was confused.  Then, I looked up.  There was water leaking down from the ceiling onto the table, chairs, and floor.  I freaked out a little.  Thank goodness for homeowner's insurance.  This is my dining room right now.

That evening, Jason's mom made a delicious roast for dinner and then watched Etta Mae while Jason and I went and got some ice cream (it was National Ice Cream Day!).  We got home and had baby bath time, and enjoyed night 3 with a sleeping baby - yay!

Monday, Etta Mae turned 1 week old.  It's so sad to see how quickly time flies!

My mom, aunt Margaret, cousin Melissa and her girls Sophie and Maya came to town.  It was great to see them.  I know that they had all been waiting not-so-patiently to meet the new baby!  Especially Maya who held her for hours.  She'll be such a great mommy someday!  It was awesome to see them.  

We had another perfect night last night night.  Etta Mae and I both had doctor appointments today, and both went wonderfully.  Etta's was mostly just a weight check, and they were pleased that she had started gaining back some weight.  Yay for 2 oz!!!  Dr. Collins said I was healing well, and I've lost 30 pounds since the week before she was born.  Can't complain about that! 

And I finally found a baby book I want from Ruby Love Designs on

And I am honestly feeling sooo much better. I was pleasantly surprised in the beginning that the recovery wasn't as bad as I had feared, but now I'm starting to feel almost normal.  I'm not quite 100%, but don't think it should be too much longer.

Jason and I have the rest of the week to relax together before he goes back to work on Monday.  I'm looking forward to spending some time with our perfect family.  As anyone who knows him can imagine, he is an AMAZING dad already.  He has been wonderful about helping me in every way as I recover.  And, he has so many sweet wonderful moments with his little girl.  He is definitely the one that is best at calming her when she cries and a much better diaper changer than I am!  Etta Mae is definitely going to be a daddy's girl and she has the perfect dad for that!  I can't imagine having a family with anyone else.

We are loving life and can't wait to find out what parenthood has in store for us!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men - Birth Story

Warning: This post is long contains information about labor.  If that freaks you out, stop reading now :)

When Jason and I wrote our birth plan, I knew that I had to keep an open mind.  But I never imagined just how flexible I would need to be.  I truly believed that we would have the opportunity to have a natural unmedicated childbirth experience.  That couldn't have been further from reality.

Friday, July 6th, I went to see Magic Mike with a couple of friends.  I blame that movie for my birth story!  I started feeling pretty yucky during the movie, but was better by the time I got home, so I didn't think much of it.  I woke up Saturday morning with a feeling similar to food poisoning.  Again, I wasn't too worried, but I did want to check my blood pressure since Dr. Collins wanted to keep an eye on it.  Jason and I went to Wal-Mart, and sure enough, it was pretty high.  I called the on call physician at Washington Regional Labor and Delivery and was advised to go ahead and come in to be monitored.

When I arrived, my blood pressure was taken again and it was still high.  They decided to take some blood to rule out pre-eclampsia.  The next time the blood pressure cuff went off was right in the middle of the blood draw, so of course it came back high as well.  The on call doctor came in and let me know that the blood work came back fine, but she was still concerned about my blood pressure.  She felt that since I was already 39 weeks along, it would be best to go ahead and induce my labor.  She did a cervical check and I was not dilated at all.  I knew that I really wanted to avoid an induction, but she let me know that she couldn't release me unless I left against medical advice.  She told me that they would give me a pill to help dilate my cervix and let that work overnight (It was probably about 3 pm when all of this occurred).  The next morning, they would start Pitocin to get contractions going.  I had heard some horror stories about the drug she wanted to use to dilate my cervix and let her know that I really did not want to take it.  She agreed to see if I could progress a little on my own before giving me the Cytotec.

I was admitted around 5 pm, and was hooked up to the monitors and allowed to hang out to basically see what happens.  I was able to progress to 3 cm overnight, so we went straight to Pitocin starting at about 5 am on Sunday morning.  The contractions were bearable and Jason and I were working through it quite well.  The doctors have a shift change, and Dr. Hardman came in around 9:30 to check me again.  I was still just a 3, so she recommended that she break my waters to see if that would speed things along.  I agreed since it did not look like I was progressing.

By 4 pm, my contractions were only about a minute apart and were starting to be pretty excruciating.  I had been rotating between standing, sitting on a birthing ball, and laying in bed on my side for several hours.  Dr. Hardman checked me again, and I was still a 3!  I thought for sure those killer contractions would be doing something, but no!  At this point I was so exhausted and tense. I couldn't relax between contractions because they were so close together.  I knew that it would be difficult for me to progress as long as I was that stressed.  If the pain would have been helping me move along, I think I would have wanted to continue, but I realized that it wasn't looking likely that anything was going to happen.  About the time I told Jason that I wanted an epidural, the doctor made the same recommendation thinking that I may be able to progress if I could only relax.  Jason tried to talk me out of it (I had ordered him to not let me get the epi!). He did a great job, and I know he felt terrible and was afraid I'd be mad at him if he let me give in.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained everything about how the epidural works.  He was amazing and helped me to relax.  Those big needles are scary! It went so smoothly that I almost fell asleep while he was putting it in my back.  Soon after, my legs felt like the were no longer attached to my body.  It was the strangest feeling to touch them - they felt like rubber.  And magically, the pain was gone!  Those epidurals aren't so bad after all!  I fell asleep almost instantly and was finally able to get some rest.  In the next two hours, I moved from a 3 to a 5!  Finally starting to get something done.  Or so I thought.  

At some point in the evening, I started getting a low grade fever.  My awesome nurse Joy let me know that Dr. Hardman wanted to see if I would continue to progress, but if I did not and the fever didn't go down, we may have to start considering a C-section.  This was my biggest fear.  They gave me some antibiotics and left me to see if I could get any closer.  Around 12, I was still a 5, and my fever wasn't letting up.  Dr. Hardman came in and prepped me as to what all was involved with the C-Section.  They had to call in the sugary team because they had all gone home already.  

Shortly after, I was wheeled into the OR.  It was a very odd feeling to be awake knowing that I was being cut open, and the whole thing felt very bizarre.  In the middle of the operation, Dr. Hardman yelled out, "Holy cow, this baby is huge!"  Before I knew it, she was out and crying.  All of the doctors and nurses were chatting about how they couldn't wait to find out what she weighed.  

Jason went with her to the nursery while I was closed up and then wheeled to the recovery room.  They let me know that she was 10 lbs 3 oz!!! No wonder my labor was so difficult!  An hour or so later, I was taken to my room and Jason and Etta Mae met us there.  She was so cute!  I thought when I saw her that she looked just like my brother.

After some nice bonding time, the grandmas came in to meet her.  The next few days were a whirlwind.  Etta Mae is perfect and healthy and I've been recovering better than I expected.  We couldn't be happier.  Our sweet girl is a week old today, and I have no idea where the time went.  We couldn't imagine life without her.

I was so afraid that I would be incredibly disappointed if things didn't go according to the plan.  I just knew I would forever beat myself up about it.  I'm happy to report that I still feel like we had an amazing birth experience.  There wasn't a step along the way that made me disappointed.  I'm just so thrilled that Etta Mae is healthy and happy (especially now that she has worked out her nights and days a little better!).  Our lives are more complete than ever and I wouldn't change a thing!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pregnancy in a Nutshell

When I got pregnant, I had this feeling that pregnancy would really agree with me.  That I would be one of those glowing women whose ailments magically disappear and who look completely not pregnant except for the perfectly round basketball stomach.  Boy was I wrong!  Seeing as I'm so close to the end, I thought this would be a good time to write about some of the things I've learned and that I'll remember most about my pregnancy - good, bad, and ugly.  

  • I have no clue why they call it morning sickness.  It would have been a dream come true if it were only in the mornings!  24/7 nausea for about 10 weeks sucks.  You feel like it will never end.  Thank heavens for Zofran and Kraft Spiral Mac & Cheese - the only things I could stomach for weeks.
  • When I first started to feel her move, I spent countless nights with my hands pressed on my stomach, barely breathing, just hoping to feel a little flutter.  It was so sweet.  Now I sometimes swear that she is trying to shove her way out with total disregard for the ribs that might be in her way.  There is something so incredible about feeling a baby move, and it is definitely something I will miss.  
  • I can't wait to regain feeling in my hands!!!! My fingers ache and tingle to the point that I can't feel things.  I drop everything and can't open stuff because I can't feel what I'm doing.  I will be so happy when this goes away!
  • 30% of pregnant women with asthma see their symptoms lessen while pregnant.  I am not one of those 30%.
  • This next one is a pro and a con.  People are really nice.  They open doors, offer to help and let you cut in line.  This is great.  Sometimes people are a little too nice.  They think that you may die from standing and always insist that you sit down.  This is mildly annoying.
  • It's amazing the number of strangers who care about when you are due and if it's a boy or a girl and if you have a name picked out.  I'm not sure if they just don't know what else to say or what, but they will likely never see me again.  Even if they do, I hope they don't recognize me because if they do it means I still look like a beached whale.  Oh, and quit staring.  I realize that I'm 9 months pregnant, it's over 100 degrees, and yes, I'm miserable.  But, I'm not a circus act so please divert your attention elsewhere.  Luckily, I haven't had many strangers who want to rub my belly.  I attribute this to the fact that I don't smile much and am generally unapproachable.
  • I will never again say any of the following to a pregnant woman: "You haven't had that baby yet?", "Aren't you so ready to be done?", "You are definitely going to have that baby early."  If you say these things, you are just rubbing it in.  She is probably incredibly uncomfortable, terrified, and so excited to meet her baby.  
  • I promise I'm not crazy or trying to be a hero by wanting an unmedicated childbirth and choosing to cloth diaper.  I've done lots of research.  Please do not try to convince me otherwise and definitely don't tell me about how I'm going to change my mind when the time comes.  
  • One of the greatest things about being pregnant is that it is the one time in your life that you don't have to feel like you should be on a diet.  I don't have to feel guilty about every little thing I eat.  In fact, people expect me to eat a lot and crave ice cream.  It's amazing what a relief that is.  Us ladies are trained to be constantly worried about our bodies, and it feels great to not have that kind of pressure.
  • Pregnancy brain aka Baby Brain is real.  Now, I'm not convinced that it actually affects brain cells, but being pregnant is enough to distract you from everything else that is happening around you.  It is so hard to concentrate on anything else.
  • It's impossible to not worry about your baby all of the time.  For me, the fact that I can't see her to know that she is ok and nothing is wrong is terrifying.  You just have to have faith that all is well, and that is really hard!  
  • I never knew it could be so hard to sleep.  It's painful to rollover.  When I wake up (5 times per night to go pee), I feel like I've been in a boxing match - everything hurts!  And don't lay in the middle of the bed unless there is someone to pull you out. You will get stuck there.
  • I get asked all of the time if I have any weird cravings.  Overall, I'd say no.  Most of the things I want to eat are things I liked and ate often before.  But, there are a few things that I couldn't have lived without over the last 9 months (some of them only lasted a few weeks): Popsicles, mac & cheese, all things lemon flavored, nachos, ice cream, Sprite, pizza, and peaches
  • Stretch Marks = :(
  • There is no shame in wearing your husband's tennis shoes every once in awhile (assuming his feet aren't significantly larger than yours, I guess).  None of my shoes fit - even the flip flops are starting to cut into my feet.
  • It does seem like it lasts forever.  I can't remember what it was like to not be pregnant. I have a feeling it will be really weird when it's over.
  • It's probably for the better, but there are A LOT of things that happen to your body during pregnancy (and after for that matter) that no one ever tells you about.  I'm assuming it's because they aren't the kinds of things that come up in normal conversation and because no one would want to have children if they knew about them!  Then you start reading "What to Expect" and your mind is blown.
Pregnancy is no cake walk (Yum, did someone say cake?), but I hear it's really worth it.  I'm so excited to find out!

Stubborn Cervix and a Full Moon

I had my 38 week appointment today (I am 38 weeks 3 days, but close enough).  It was definitely not my favorite of the appointments I've had.  I've had more frequent and slightly stronger contractions the past few days, so Dr. Collins was hopeful that I'd progressed, but it went more like this:

  1. My blood pressure was slightly elevated which is no good.  Luckily it is still within normal range so I it's nothing to worry too much about
  2. I gained 6 POUNDS in a week!  I'm not entirely sure how that's possible.  I haven't gained any weight in the last month so I was hoping it would stay that way.  Dr. Collins felt like a lot of it was probably water retention because I have been really swollen (my feet are a joke).
  3. She referred to my cervix as stubborn because I haven't made any progress.  While it is kind of a bummer, I know that it isn't at all indicative of when I will go into labor, so I'm not going to let it bother me.
  4. On the bright side, I had been feeling really guilty about not going on lots of walks.  It hurts and makes my feet the size of bricks.  Dr. Collins actually advised me to not walk too much due to the swelling, so it's nice to get off the hook for that!
Tomorrow at 3 pm is a full moon, and I'm secretly hopeful that the stories about full moons and labor are true.  I refuse to get my hopes up too much, but I certainly wouldn't complain!  Apparently many medical professionals see a correlation between full moons and crazy things happening, so who knows!