Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mom of the Week

Little Bit had her 1 month check up yesterday and we learned that the fussiness we've been dealing with in the afternoons is most likely colic. The good news is it's harmless, the bad news is there's nothing really to be done about it. She should grow out of it by 3 months of age at the latest though. So we'll raise a glass of red wine and toast to not losing our minds over the next couple of months!

When she gets really fussy the only thing that soothes her is to walk around. She can be dead asleep and she will still know the second I've sat down and start screaming again. So, not only do I have to hold her for hours but I also have to walk around. Well, it didn't take me long to decide that walking around my living room is for the birds. I told her that if she was going to make we walk around, we were at least going to go to the mall. (Thankfully, as long as she's either in her car seat or in a wrap of some kind she doesn't cry so I'm free to take her out without fear that she'll start screaming! I thank my lucky stars every day for this!)

Also at her appointment she got the second shot in her series of Hep B vaccinations. It was horrible! Mom went with me and they let her hold Lily while they gave it to her. She tensed up and screamed and I could tell it really hurt her. It broke my heart and I so wish they could have given it to me instead! I held off on feedings her a little so that she would be hungry by the end of her appointment. I made up a bottle while we were waiting for the nurse to come in with the shot so that as soon as they gave it to her I could feed her to comfort her. It worked like a charm.

So, over the past week I've taught my daughter two important things.

1) Food is comforting after a stressful event, just like her food addict mother.


2) If she fusses long enough, I'll take her shopping.

Awesome! I guess I won't be getting the mother of the week award this week!

Things We're Loving

Over the months, one of my favorite things to read was blogs by new mothers (or experienced moms) about the gear that they found to be most useful and the stuff that was best left on the shelves of Babies R Us. I figure it's my turn to contribute to the collective knowledge. We are only 5ish weeks into this thing called parenthood but I'll tell you what I've learned so far.

The Boppy and my favorite cover

We use this thing all the freaking time! From feeding, to cuddling, to propping little bit up to sleep or look around we use this multiple times per day and it's the only thing that has kept our arms from falling off. And I love, love, love the Pottery Barn Kids cover. It's super soft and feels so good!

Dr. Brown's Bottles

We tried Avent bottles first and found them to be a challenge to use without getting a lot of air. We've found these to be easier to use even though they have a couple of extra pieces to wash. I will say that bottles are really an individual baby thing though. Just because Lily liked  these doesn't necessarily mean that all babies will prefer them. So although I wish we'd had a bottle of two on hand when Lily came home from the hospital, I'm glad we didn't stock up on a bunch and then end up not liking them.

Bekaboo Wrap

I don't know what I'd do without this! We chose to get a convertible carseat instead of on infant seat so this is the way I carry Little Bit around. She loves it and pretty much falls right to sleep as soon as I put her in it. We've made multiple trips out with it and I can even eat with her in it.

My Vera Bradley diaper bag

This was my birthday present from September and I'm so glad I got it even though it was a splurge. You definitely don't need an expensive diaper bag but I've really enjoyed carrying this one. It's pretty but it's also very light weight so it's not too heavy even when full. A light weight bag is a huge deal as I've learned.

Puppy Pads

Yep, you heard me right. We use these things! They make anything into a changing table. One morning I was even changing her on our bed and she peed before I got the new diaper on her. It soaked the puppy pad but didn't get a drop on our bed! Woohoo! We have one over an ottoman in our living room and one over the nice changing pad cover in her room. It's much easier to just throw one away if there's a spill than it is to wash sheets or the changing pad cover. I even keep a couple in the diaper bag that way I can change her where ever I am without jeopardizing someone's couch cushions. This is one item that I recommend every new parents have on hand!

Our Upstairs Bottle Station

I was really looking forward to the ease and convenience of breastfeeding especially for night feedings, but when that didn't work out for us I knew that convenience was going to be the name of the game. So, one of the first things we did was create a bottle station in our upstairs guest bathroom. I have to say that this is one of the best things we've done. I bought a small bottle of dish washing soap to keep up there and the only thing that sink is used for is washing bottles so I feel very confident that it's clean. We also keep a jug of filtered water and the formula right there next to the bottle warmer so that everything we need to wash and make bottles is in one place. It really has made the whole bottle/formula thing easier to deal with.

Well, I think that's it for this installment of Things We're Loving. I'm sure it'll change with every new stage and I'll try to update as we find new things that help make our lives with a new addition easier and more enjoyable.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Cakes (Week 4)

I mean really... how flippin' cute is she? I really think he gets cuter every single week! Or maybe it's just because I'm coming out of the sleep deprivation fog. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm getting any more sleep. It's just that I'm starting to adjust to it. Hehe.  

This week was fun! Tuesday Lily and I went to see my Childhood BFF and her family. This was the first time her kids were meeting Lily. We all had such a good time although there is only so much gross post-partum stuff you can discuss with little kids running in and out of the room. 

The kids were all great with Lily and it was nice to pick the brain of such a veteran mom.

Tuesday was also Jay and my anniversary but with it being mid-week we decided to wait until the weekend to really celebrate. I did sneak a card into his work truck the night before so that he found it when he headed out to work that morning.

Thursday was St. Patrick's day and I had purchased a special onesie for Ms. Lily Lou. She has a lot of celtic blood so it was only fitting that she get decked out.

Unfortunately, since she's such a little bit the onesie was a little too big, but it was still worth it since we had to celebrate her first St. Patrick's day, even if we didn't have any where to go.

I'm becoming quite the domestic goddess as well. Not that my house is super clean, but it's more picked up then it's been in a really long time and it's getting cleaner. But mostly, I've been making sure that we eat dinner at home to save money during my maternity leave when I'm not making any income. It actually works out really well because Jay wants to cuddle with Lily when he gets home giving me the opportunity to make dinner. I usually hate making dinner at the end of the day but it's nice to have my hands free for a few minutes and I like feeling like I'm contributing in this way.

On Saturday, Grandma babysat the Little Bit so that we could go out for our anniversary. We decided to go to PF Changs which is where we ate the night of our wedding 3 years ago. Mom offered to watch the baby for the night, but we decided that would be too much so we compromised and went to a movie after dinner and then back home. It was nice to get some time just the two of us, but I really missed Lily and was so glad to get back to her when the night was over.

Here's us on our wedding day...

And here we are just 3 short years later...

A little older, a little heaver, and exponentially happier! I am the luckiest girl in the world and love this man more today then I did when I met him 14 years ago or when I married him 3 years ago. I can't wait to see how wonderful our life is this time next year.

I'll leave you with your weekly dose of cuteness. Have a great day everyone!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Lesson in Humility and Grace... (Week 3)

In the words of the ancient sage Justin Bieber... Never Say Never.

Before everyone gets all excited and starts sending me their breastfeeding tips and tricks, I'll let you know right up front that Lily is officially a formula fed baby. I completely stopped breastfeeding about the middle of the week, and I think it was the best decision we could have made. Now for the story...

This week has been one for learning lessons. I always knew that any phrase that starts with "When I'm a parent, I'll never _____" is a sure fire jinx! I've done my best to stay away from statements like this for a long time. Yeah, I'm a fan of the Attachment Parenting model but I also knew that I might end up with a baby that hated to be warn or hated the co-sleeper bassinet and wanted to sleep in her crib. Turns out Lily LOVES to be worn in my wrap and does hate her bassinet but that's because she wants to sleep on Mommy most nights.

But the one thing I really never thought I'd do was feed my child formula. I was that Judgey McJudgerson who side-eyed women who pulled out a tin of formula. I assumed they were lazy, selfish, or just uneducated... I mean didn't everyone know that Breast is Best.... Duh! Breastfeeding is convenient, free, and recommended by the American Pediatric Association for at least the first 6 months. Why would anyone CHOSE to formula feed??


My milk never fully came in. :-(

I had colostrum in the hospital and it changed over to milk in the first few days home from the hospital but I never felt engorged, never experienced let down, and never leaked. Since the supply was low Lily was latching on so strongly trying to get enough to eat that as soon as I would get my nipples healed up by pumping she'd bruise them again and they'd start cracking again.

After two and a half weeks of crying through feedings, being away from Lily while I pumped, talking to a lactation consultant and our pediatrician, trying an herbal supplement, and supplementing with more formula than breast milk, I was faced with a choice. It was a hard choice and one I didn't take lightly. I knew the advantages of breast milk. I knew that Breast was Best... but I also knew that breastfeeding was simply not working for us. Then one day I realized that I was actually facing a larger problem than whether we breastfed or formula fed, I was dealing with an inability to make the decision that was best for our family because I was paralyzed by the fear of the judgment of others.  What would our pediatrician say? What would my midwife say at my follow up appointment? What would my friends say? I knew at some point or another I would face judgment either spoke or unspoken for my decision and that was causing me to be unable to make the decision I knew was best for our family.

Once I realized that, thankfully I was able to face the fear and over come it. So what if people think I've made a bad decision. They didn't have to be there to hold my hand at 3 in the morning when I was crying uncontrollably trying to feed my daughter. And Motherhood is nothing if not filled with choices that can only be made by Jay and I. Sometimes we'll make the right one, sometimes we'll make the wrong ones, but we can only do what we think is best with the information we have at the time.

Do I feel like once again my body has failed me? Sometimes. Do I feel like I failed my daughter by not trying harder and sacrificing more to give her as much breast milk as possible? Sometimes. Do I still think we made the best decision for our family? Absolutely! So, what did I learn this week? I learned that humility is a tough lesson, that I need to think twice before I judge someone when I don't know the entirety of their situation, and that I need to extend more grace to myself and to others as well.

On another note... Jay went back to work the middle of this week. It was hard to see him go and we miss him so much during the day, but we (well.... I) are doing better than I expected. I kind of like having some time to myself during the day. I like taking care of the house and figuring out what we are having for dinner. I like have the energy to do laundry and keep the kitchen relatively clean. Lily and I are doing great on our own and we've even been out and about a few times. I went to see my psychiatrist on Friday and I took Lily with me. She was of course the hit of the office and my doctor really enjoyed meeting her, I think. He also said that he hardly recognized the woman who was sitting in front of him. :-) He even used the phrase "earth mother aura" and recommended against going back on my meds at the moment. He said that they treat depression and mood instability and he wasn't seeing signs of either at the moment. He also said that some women never have to go back on their meds after having children. Sometimes having a child shifts a person's priorities so much that they learn to not sweat the smalls stuff and they manage their stress differently. He's not saying I'm "cured" or anything, just that we shouldn't assume anything at this point. He is monitoring me closely and we'll see how things go.

So, it was a week of ups and downs but in the end I still have the most adorable baby in the history of babies and the following proves it. Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What's My Name Again... (Week 2)

  1. Bullet points are my friend...
  2. Still having problems with low supply
  3. Still trying to breastfeed/pump and supplement with formula
  4. Feeling very conflicted about continuing to breastfeed
  5. Was able to see my therapist and start processing the birthing experience
  6. Pediatrician appointment went well and Little Bit is gaining weight nicely. We were given the go ahead to make our one month appointment.
  7. Got to attend our friends' baby shower and Lily was the hit of the party.
  8. Getting some sleep but not much
  9. Little Bit doesn't really like to sleep in her co-sleeper so she ends up in our bed most nights
  10. Jay goes back to work next week. Trying not to think about it because I'll start crying.
  11. Really, really, really enjoyed having him home for the past couple of weeks. Loving lazy mornings spent snuggling in bed as a family.
And some more cuteness for the road.

Survival is the Name of the Game (Week 1)

I figured I'd start you out with some adorableness before I get all wordy! I mean, how flipping cute is she?!?!? I know I'm a little biased, but still...  The title says it all... the first week is all about survival. I know everyone told us this but you really just don't understand until you're there yourself.

Our time in the hospital was awesome. We had great nurses that helped us learn how to take care of Lily. She gave us a little bit of a scare in those first couple of days. She was coughing up left over stuff from being in the womb but didn't know how to spit it out when she got it up, so she was holding her breath. The first time she did it and turned purple we all freaked out! Thankfully the nurse came in quickly and showed us how to suction out her mouth with the sucky thing. The pediatrician commented on it that first morning. She said that it was fairly common but they would be keeping an eye on her and wouldn't send her home until she "knocked it off". :-) She also said that Ms. Lily was voted the most beautiful baby in the nursery that morning at rounds. Hehe! :-D But of course!

One of the best decisions we made while in the hospital was to send Little Miss to the nursery for a few hours each night. Between us being up for over 36 hours and her holding her breath we were afraid we wouldn't wake up if she started having problems breathing. It was awesome to get a couple of hours of uninterupted sleep! Although I love that babies are kept with the parents now and rooming in is awesome, this is one of the best decisions we made the whole time we were in the hospital and I highly recommend it to new parents.

The second day Dan and Shannon come over with Luke and brought us Olive Garden. Due to the indigestion in the 3rd trimester, I had to give up pretty much everything with tomatoes in it and since marinara sauce is one of my favorite things I had been saying for a long time that after I delivered I wanted Cheese Ravioli and marinara sauce as one of my first meals. We had such a good time sitting around eating and talking about how beautiful Lily is!

I'll admit though, when we were ready to leave the hospital I was a little apprehensive. I had been so thankful for all the nurses that I was a little scared to come home and be on our own. But we put on her "going home" outfit and strapped her into the carseat for the first time.

Mom met us at the house and whipped up a quick lunch so we could get settled in. But she stole some Lily cuddles while she was here.

By the end of the day I was in so much pain trying to breastfeed that I called and made an appointment with the Lactation Consultant for the next day. We loaded Little Bit up and took her for her first outing. She did great and looked so adorable in her outfit!

Unfortunately, the appointment wasn't that helpful except to say that it's gonna hurt like hell for a little while. One nipple was bruised and the other was starting to crack. I lasted until the weekend and then started to pump. The problem was when I started pumping I was only getting 1 oz to 1 1/2 oz per session. Because the pediatrician wanted to see her getting at least 2 oz per feeding it was recommended that we start supplementing with formula. :-( This was a difficult blow for me as breastfeeding was very important to me and I really wanted the experience. But the most important thing was that Lily get the nutrition that she needed.

So, that's the highlights of the first week. I promise I'm going to get all caught up here soon. But before I let you go... here's some more cuteness!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Ms. Lily

**** If you are following a natural childbirth method that emphasizes focusing on only positive stories about childbirth, then close this window and slowly back away from the computer. Things did not go as planned with Lily's birth, but we are working through it. ****

So, around 10:15pm on Sunday, February 20, 2011 (2 days before our due date), after taking a shower in preparation for work on Monday and while relaxing, waiting for my hair to dry I felt a gush and knew immediately that my water had broken. When I went to the bathroom, I realized that the amniotic fluid was tinged with brown. I knew immediately that if this was what I thought it was, meconium in the fluid, then the whole ball game had just changed.

I went down stairs and told Jay, "um... I think my water just broke!" We called the on call service and got a call back form the nurse. She said that it did in fact sound like my water had broken and she would have the midwife on call at the hospital give me a call. Within a few minutes Jan called. I told her what was going on and she said that meconium was actually more green than brown and that we had a couple of options. Because I wasn't feeling any contractions, I could either come into the hospital and we could try a small dose of pitocin and see what happened or I could wait a few hours and see if things got started on their own, but if we did that then we would have to start on a higher dose of pitocin if contractions didn't start.

Since I still wasn't sure if there was meconium in the water, I felt more comfortable going on into the hospital and given that my water was broken I knew that we were legitimately on the clock and only had a matter of hours before it would be imperative that Lily be out. One way or another we were going to have a baby very, very soon.

I tried to eat a little bit, finished up packing our hospital bad, and strung my labor beads so I could wear them as a necklace. We packed up and made our way to the hospital while I texted a few people to let them know what was going on.

Although it wasn't what I was hoping for, it was nice to be calm and relaxed when we checked into the hospital. They showed us to our room and I got changed into the hospital gown. I left my nursing bra and tank top on under the gown thinking it would make me feel better and less exposed given the slits in the nursing gown. Little did I know that all modesty would be completely gone in the hours that followed.

The nurse came in and we filled out all the paperwork and she got me hooked up to the fetal monitor to see what was going on. Lily's heartbeat was great and I was having some mild contractions but nothing I could feel. The nurse ran the swab test to see if the fluid I was leaking was in fact amniotic fluid. She didn't even have to wait for the test to register because she could tell from the volume that it was my water. She also confirmed that there was meconium in the fluid. Basically, meconium is the baby's first poop and shouldn't come out until after birth. If the baby has its first poop in the womb it could be because it's over due, because she was in distress at some point (maybe she grabbed the cord and cut off the blood flow temporarily), or maybe because she just felt like it. But the important part is that between the water breaking and the meconium in the water, it was going to be important that we get Lily out sooner rather than later. It wasn't an emergency situation where a c-section was going to be necessary, but I knew that we wouldn't have the luxury of waiting for nature to take over.

The midwife came in and checked my cervix and said that I was only 1 cm, high and posterior, and about 70% effaced. Basically, that means that my body was making very little progress towards birthing this baby. So after discussing our options with the midwife we made the decision to start on Pitocin to jump start labor. This was a difficult decision because I knew it would make my goal of going without an epidural more difficult. When one is on Pitocin it is necessary to have continuous fetal monitoring in order to guarantee that the baby is handling the contractions ok. This continuous monitoring means that I couldn't walk around. I would either have to labor in the bed or very close to it. Additionally, because Pitocin is a synthetic form of the Oxytocin your body naturally makes, Pitocin contractions tend to be stronger and more consistent then "natural" contractions. And finally, when one is on Pitocin, they also have to be hooked up to IV fluids which restricts movement even further.

So, with the deck stacked against us, we soldiered on towards our goal. They got me all hooked up and I laid down to hopefully get some sleep, but after only a few minutes I was getting hit with bad back pains. Now back pain isn't anything new to me. I've been getting splitting me in two type back aches every month since I was a teenager, but these rivaled even my worst and we were only getting started. Very soon, I was unable to lay on my side which is what I was hoping would work. I found that sitting up in the bed helped some. Jay would sit beside me and hold my hand. When a contraction would come, I'd squeeze his hand and lay back concentrating on relaxing my body fully and completely. The hypnosis didn't work quite like I expected it to, but it worked in that it allowed me to fully relax my body which is what it was meant to do. Jay would lightly stroke my hand and arm giving me something else to focus on and I'd remind myself to ride each contraction like a wave. The more I focused on "staying out in front" of the contraction the better I did.

We labored like this for about 4 hours and it was time for a shift change. The new midwife came in and checked me. After 4 hours of difficult contractions, I was a whole TWO centimeters! That's right! ONE WHOLE CENTIMETER IN FOUR WHOLE HOURS! But we kept soldiering on. They upped my Pitocin drip to a 4 (out of 20) and things got more difficult. The new nurse (Kathy) was amazing! She hovered in our room more than I thought I would be comfortable with, but she never bothered me other than to adjust the monitors. Looking back through, I realize that she was actively watching and listening to me. When I told Jay that I wasn't sure how much longer I could do this, she suggested that we try the rocking chair or the birthing ball. Both of these caused the monitors to move and therefore required her to be very close by to keep them adjusted. She could have just as easily encouraged me to stay in the bed so that she could hang out at the nurses station and monitor everything from there, but she was willing to really work hard those hours with me to try and help me attain my goal. I will be forever grateful to her for that.

By about 11:30 am (Monday, February 21), I was quickly approaching my limit. I knew if things didn't change pretty soon, I was going to need to ask for help. But true to my plan I asked the midwife to check my progress before asking for anything. I knew that often times when women hit transition (around 7 cm) things get really tough and they think they can't make it. But once you've hit that point, you are almost to the finish line. But when she checked me, I was only 3 cm. Yep... another 1 cm in 4 hours. I broke down into tears, and told the midwife that we needed to discuss our options. I explained my thinking to them... 1) It had now been 12 hours since my water had broken. 2) I knew they were trying their hardest to keep the Pitocin at a low level in order to give me the chance to go pain med free, however, I knew they wouldn't be able to do that much longer. 3) If I got an epidural, they would be able to crank up the Pitocin and get the show on the road.

The midwife said that was her assessment of the situation as well. So... with many tears and a heavy heart I asked for the epidural. Thankfully, I made the decision while I was still in control of the contractions because it took close to an hour before everything was ready for the anesthesiologist. The midwife and nurse were also great in helping me make the transition in my expectations for the experience. They were both so encouraging and understanding. When the anesthesiologist got there they told me that I could have one person in the room when they put it in, but I decided that I just wanted to do it by myself. I was truthfully TERRIFIED of the epi and didn't want the added stress of watching the reaction of Jay or my mom. My nurse stayed in with me and rubbed my shoulders but truthfully it was such a breeze, especially after dealing with the contractions for so many hours.

The epi was in before I knew it and within just a few minutes the pain was gone. I laid down and was able to get some sleep and Jay got some sleep too. Basically, the next few hours were pretty uneventful. I woke up feeling some pressure and they checked me but I was only at 6 cm, although that was a big improvement! So, I went back to sleep. The next time I woke up the pressure had gotten very, very intense which is something I wasn't really prepared for. I called my nurse who got the midwife. They didn't expect me to be as far along as I was, but when she checked I was 9 1/2- 9 3/4 cm and it was time to get stuff ready. They broke down the bed and alerted the baby nurse and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse that we were getting really close.

Because of the meconium it was important that they suction as much fluid out of her month and nose as possible because if she breathed it into her lungs after delivery she could get an infection and it could be very, very bad. So, that is why the NICU nurse was in the room. They let me know that if she didn't cry right away that they would take her to the warmer and do a deep suction, but if she cried right away they would put her on my chest and evaluate her from there.

Pushing was literally the most challenging thing I've ever done in my entire life. I hoped it wouldn't take too long since I knew I couldn't do hours and hours of it. It was like being at the gym, lifting weights, knowing you are completely out of steam, but having to keep going anyway! I was so exhausted. Other than a couple of naps, I'd been up for close to 36 hours. I hadn't had anything to eat in almost 24 hours and what I did have in my stomach had been vomited up hours before. So, I pushed and pushed and begged the Universe to make it quick. Unfortunately, I was flat on my back with my legs in stirrups which is exactly where I did NOT picture myself, but at that point I didn't even care. I was just ready to get some relief!

After only about 20-30 minutes the midwife told me to stop pushing with the contractions and start easing Lily's head out. I tried my hardest, but apparently she wasn't having it because I still ended up with a 3rd degree tear. Her body quickly followed after her head came out without any problems. And at 9:51pm (25 minutes shy of the 24 hours mark), Lillian Louise was born! They quickly suctioned her month and nose to remove as much meconium as possible and then laid her on my chest since she wasn't having any problems breathing. The midwife clamped off the cord and asked if Jay wanted to cut it, but he declined and she cut it. I don't remember much about those first few moments because I was still in a lot of discomfort but I remember looking down at her and saying, "Hello Sweetheart!" over and over again. Oh and she lifted her head up and looked me right in the eyes. I remember thinking, "I'm not sure you're supposed to do that yet!"

The placenta delivered fairly quickly there after and that's when I finally got some relief from the pressure! But then it was time to stitch me up. Seeing that I'd never had stitches before I was pretty scared of that part too, but it wasn't that bad in comparison to everything else I'd been through that day. Although the midwife kept asking for a tool that she couldn't remember the name of because she didn't have to use it that often. She kept saying, "It holds everything together so that I can stitch it up." That's not really something you want to hear! Hehe. Jay went outside to let everyone know that Lily was here and come to find out Mom, Luke, Dan and Shannon were all standing outside in the hallway since they knew they'd be able to hear the baby cry when she came out. I caught a glemps of Dan when he opened the door and I started yelling, "DON'T LET HIM IN HERE!!" since I was still lying there in the stirrups getting stitched up.

Our hospital has a no visitors for the first hour after delivery rule and that was awesome! The nurse (unfortunately Kathy had gone off shift just 3 hours shy of Lily's arrival, but we had gotten another wonderful nurse, Holly) gave me some snacks and got me some soda. The first thing I opened from her snack pack was some Oreos and let me tell you that was the single best thing I've ever eaten in my entire life! In fact I've eaten about 3 packages of Oreos since and I wasn't even a huge fan before. Thankfully by the time the hour was up they had gotten me some pain meds and I had some sugar in my system so when everyone came in to meet Lily I was feeling like a human being again. My mom says I was the hostess with the mostess but I'm not sure if I'd go that far.

So, it was far from what I had hoped for or expected, and I'm still processing everything. Do I feel like a  failure? Sometimes. Do I feel like my body failed me by allowing my water to break before I was ready to go into labor? Sometimes. Do I grieve the loss of a spiritual experience I have been looking forward to for years? Yes. Do I love my daughter more than life itself and am thankful to those who helped her get here safely? ABSOLUTELY!

Even though things didn't go as I had hoped, there are a few things I was very thankful for and proud of:

1) I'd heard that your nurse can really make or break you since they are the one that is really with you during the bulk of the labor process. I was really worried about getting nurses that would think I was being silly wanting to wait as long as possible without pain meds. I was afraid they would keep asking me if I wanted pain meds and giving me a hard time. But we ended up with three wonderful nurses during the labor process and another wonderful one after Lily got here. They were all very encouraging, understanding, and nurturing. I really couldn't have asked for better labor assistants.

2) I was worried that regardless of what everyone said, when we got to the hospital the midwives would try to pressure me into doing things I didn't want to do and consenting to interventions that I didn't want to have. But just like my favorite midwife, Tina Hayes, said at my first appointment, all decisions were made as a team. Me, Jay, and the midwife discussed the decisions that needed to be made and we came to a conclusion. I felt completely in control of the labor process and what happened to me, even though things didn't go as I would have planned.

3) I was very thankful to have done as much research as I did. Even though things didn't go as I had hoped, I knew enough to know that what we were dealing with was a different ball game. I knew that due to the water breaking and the meconium that this was a time that medical interventions were appropriate. I had thought a lot about under what circumstances I was comfortable accepting interventions, so when my water broke and there was meconium I already knew what was going to be necessary.

4) Even though we weren't able to go completely med-free and the hypnosis didn't work quite the way I expected it to, I am still very thankful that I took the Hypnobabies class and studied the program. I feel that it taught me how to relax which is something I never knew how to do. It allowed me to stay in control during the 9 hours that we were laboring without pain meds. I never yelled or screamed or told Jay he was never going to touch me again or that he had done this to me. I was able to keep my sense of humor and even laugh in between contractions. All the nurses and midwives commented on how well I handled the contractions. My mom said the same thing. The midwife even said the next day that given "normal" circumstances (i.e. contractions coming on before the water breaks, no Pitocin, etc) that she had no doubt that I'd have been able to make it without any interventions.

So, even though I didn't reach my goal of a pain-med-free birth, I was able to have a calm and peaceful birthing environment and I think that was actually more important to me in the long run. So, if you made it this far congratulations to you! And as your rewards I'd like to introduce for the first time, Ms. Lillian Louise.

She's so beautiful if I do say so myself!

Phew! It's over!!

Proud Papa!

Proud Uncle Luke

Uncle Dan

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week 39-40

Well, Weeks 39-40 were a little crazy to say the least. I'm going to do the best I can to remember how everything happened but the sleep deprivation makes college years look like a walk in the park.

I took a half day off on Wednesday of week 39 because I was feeling so exhausted. When I got home though, the puppy seemed to be doing worse then he had been. He was having diarrhea all over the house and seemed kind of lethargic. I decided it was now or never, so I took him to the vet. They determined that he had a stomach bug (duh!) and put him on a "bland" diet and some antibiotics. I was like, "What the heck is a bland diet to a puppy?!?!?" They gave me a recipe... yes... a recipe! Jay was working late that day so while my plan had been to pull through somewhere and get myself some food, instead I ended up going to the grocery at 38/39 weeks pregnant and getting rice, ground beef, and cottage cheese and cooking the princess puppy his dinner. It was comical.

Unfortunately, taking the half day off didn't help with the cold that was coming on since I was up taking care of the puppy the whole time. So, by Saturday I had a full on cold! I spent the entire weekend on the couch with my fingers crossed that Ms. Lily would stay put until I got better. Thankfully, she did and by the first of the week I was feeling better.

I had an appointment with my midwife on Tuesday and my blood pressure was a little high. They had me lay down on my left side and took it again. Of course, the more I worried about my BP being high the higher it went. It didn't go down. We finished the exam including an internal that showed that I was about 60% effaced and closed up tight. After the exam Tina said that she wanted to run some blood work to make sure that the high BP wasn't a sign of something bigger like pre-eclampsia.

Thankfully, the blood work came back normally, but we made an appointment for Friday afternoon. Tina said to come prepared to head to the hospital if the BP was still high. So, of course I stressed, and stressed, and stressed all week over the implications. Inductions... continuous fetal monitoring... epidurals... c-sections... etc. All of this I'm sure drove my blood pressure through the roof. By Friday I was so worked up that it was up even higher than it was on Tuesday so they sent us to the hospital to monitor it there.

Heading over to the hospital was scary but I did everything I could to stay as calm as I could. Everyone at the hospital was really awesome which really put my mind at ease for the birth. Once they found out that we were hoping not to be induced they were all routing for us to have low BP readings. In the midwife's office my reading was 160/84 by the time they took it at the hospital it was at 117/74. It stayed low for the following checks and we were sent home.

Thankfully, we were even able to finish up in time to meet Dan and Shannon for dinner that night. We'd made plans to go to PF Changs one last time before Lily got here. We had a great time and Shannon made a special request that Lily come before the next weekend since she was flying out to Portland. We laughed and said we'd do our best.

I had plans to finish up some things before the birth that weekend... hospital bag, pick up a few more things we needed, etc. But given the high blood pressure I spent most of the weekend on the couch watching tv and resting.

Sunday night I headed up stairs to get ready for the week. I got in the shower and was watching Friends while my hair dried. About 10:15pm I felt a gush. I just knew it was my water breaking. I ran to the bathroom and determined that yes it was definitely my water breaking...

And there begins the birth story. I'll finish that in another blog. Ah... so much to catch up on. Unfortunately, I didn't get a 39 week belly picture. I meant to get one before we headed into the hospital but it was a little hectic at that moment. Oh well...