Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hold your head high!

At 5 1/2 weeks, I think that she is doing pretty darn well!

As you can see, Finn is getting REALLY good at holding up her head.  She isn't quite there yet and almost!

Smiles are also abundant (definitely not ALL the time), but she now smiles when she sees E or I after not seeing us for a while (i.e. when E comes home from work or when she wakes up and see us).  That toothless grin totally makes my heart melt.

We are starting to breastfeed again.  She has been getting 90% breast milk since her arrival, but I was pumping due to some issues we had in the hospital with her latch and not being able to see a lactation consultant for the first 36 hours.  I quit nursing and starting pumping about 5-7 days after bringing her home.  We tried to nurse again at about 2 weeks with a nipple shield, but she was falling asleep while nursing even despite efforts to keep her awake and she was getting a majority of foremilk and not enough hindmilk (which I didn't know anything about), causing some bad reactions.  So at 5 weeks, we decided to try it again as feeding and pumping seemed to be twice the work and I was getting exhausted.  We started up again on Sunday and so far, so good.  We still have to use a nipple shield, being that she had been on the bottle for so long.  But it's not a problem for me and it doesn't seem to be a problem for her.

I'm also stepping out of my comfort zone and signed up for a new-mommy group in the area.  Finn and I have our first new-members meeting on Thursday morning.  With two of my closest friends out here both moving out of the state in early fall, E and I both decided that I need to get out and meet new people, especially moms to build up my support group while I'm still at home on maternity leave.  The group also has couples' nights and I'm going to sign us up for the next one, which is in three weeks at a local brewery that both of us like to frequent.  There are already 9 couples, so hopefully we'll come away with some new friends! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

My daughter looks like a teenager!

So poor little Finn has developed a pretty nice case of baby acne!  The poor girl looks like she is a 13 year old who doesn't know to wash their face every day.  It does bother her and I'm trying to NOT let it bother me.  I just miss my precious little girl's smooth skin...  It'll come back soon -- this I know.

Last night, we officially moved her into her crib at night.  AND we started to let her fall asleep by herself.  I rocked her until she was practically asleep and then placed her in her crib.  She woke up slightly and I tried to shush her to sleep.  It was SOOOO hard to not pick her up again.  She was super content, just laying there in her crib -- so we went into our room.  But we had the video monitor on and could hear her every peep, which made me feel better.  There were definitely a lot of tears shed (on my part -- not hers).  E kept telling me that she was doing wonderful -- being 5 weeks old and starting to soothe herself to sleep very successfully.  Just another instance in the last couple of days that my baby isn't tiny anymore.  God, I'm in for a LONG haul...

On my postpartum front, I've lost 28 pounds of the 45 that I gained during my pregnancy.  And I haven't started exercising again yet -- YEAH for breastfeeding!  I also realized that I shouldn't have washed my pre-pregnancy jeans before I put them away, as they are NOWHERE near close to fitting.  I've got at least two inches left to lose around my middle and I feel super flabby.  I can't wait for my 6 week checkup with Emery so he can release me to start some serious exercise regimen.  I need it -- I won't have anything to wear pretty soon.  I can only feel comfortable wearing yoga pants and my maternity shirts for so long!  17 pounds to lose!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bleh bleh bleh...

Yesterday I had mentioned that we use the Moby wrap and the sling.  I forgot to mention that we also have a Baby Bjorn.  You can use the Baby Bjorn with newborn as the flap in the front is very high and holds their head, but our little girl likes the ability to move her head around.  And being that she doesn't have complete head control, we have to tighten the straps on the flap to keep her head super close to my chest.  This means no moving her head from side to side or seeing anything, which does NOT make her happy!  I think the Bjorn is going to get its best use when she is big enough to be facing outward.

By far, the Moby is our best hands-free carrier right now.  In fact, it's our go-to when she is getting uber fussy and doesn't want to settle down.  The minute I put her in the Moby, she calms...  It's pretty amazing!

Below is just another video that I shot on my phone.  We DO have a camcorder, which I picked up yesterday and cried as I was looking through the photos/videos when I realized that E had shot video right after she was born, not just photos.  So I watched those videos, which I'll post later as I need to figure out how to transfer the videos to the computer.

I'm not sure what made me think to make that sound, but it appears that she was thoroughly enjoying it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Talking to herself

It's starting already!  She is picking up a habit that her mother has -- talking to herself.  I turn the camera on my iPhone around so she could see herself and interact with herself.  The clip below is her reaction to her own reflection!

One-month baby check-up

On Friday, Finn had her one-month well baby checkup.  It went great!

When we took her home from the hospital, she had lost 10% of her body weight (which is on the borderline of too much).  She weighed in at 7lb 5oz the day we left the hospital.  At her one-month check up, she weighed in at 9lb 3oz!  The doctor said that she is right at the 50th percentile for her weight as well as her head circumference.

And in one month, she has grown 1.5 inches!!!  She was 20.25 inches at birth and she measured in at 21.7 inches!  In fact, this morning when I was trying to put on one of her newborn sleepers, she couldn't stretch her legs all the way out!  She was too big for it.  (It made me cry that she was growing out of her newborn stuff -- I know... I'm going to be a wreck as a mother if I'm getting emotional about her moving up a size!)

 Waiting for her shot... (Thanks, Auntie Mandy, for the stylin' outfit that I wore to the doctor's office!)

       Believe me, she wasn't this calm after her vaccinations...
The doctor kept telling me how big she has gotten since her one week visit.  She also commented on how fair she is and how we really need to be careful this summer with her pale skin.  Hopefully she takes after her mother -- I get really pale during the winter time, but tan pretty easily during the summer months.  Guess we won't find out for another couple of years.  But hopefully she isn't like her father who gets a sunburn opening the refrigerator door too long!

The doctor also told me how beautiful her name was.  She said that it took her a little bit to get used to the name, but once she knew how to say it, she couldn't get over how beautiful it was!

We had E's folks over last weekend.  They thoroughly enjoyed Finn.  We just spent the weekend watching basketball (totally my call) and laying around the house snuggling with Finn.  On St. Patrick's Day, I added the mobile over the Pack-N-Play and we realized that she LOVED the mobile!

"Me first St. Patrick's Day!"  (Thanks Grandma P. for the onsies!)

 Happy baby!

We also tried out both the sling and the Moby Wrap.  Both were a huge success!  

The sling was wonderful.  She was already sleepy when I put her in there and she fell asleep.  She didn't stay in the sling long.  I think that she has to be just a little bit bigger for the sling to work effectively.  Even though she was secure in the sling, her neck was practically sitting on her chest.  Obviously, she didn't mind because she fell asleep, but I thought it looked uncomfortable.  So we'll put the sling to use in a month or so when she gains a little more control of her neck and packs on some more pounds.

Not bad for my first time! (Pay no attention to worn out mom with no makeup on behind the curtain!)

Completely asleep!

The minute that I put her in the Moby, she fell asleep!  I put the Moby on myself -- I think for doing it the first time and by myself, I did pretty well.  It's not as pretty as the instruction book, but she was super secure in there and loved being right up against my chest.  With the weather being wonderful, the next time we go out, I'm definitely going to think about bringing her around in the Moby!

And I'll leave you with a parting photo and completely makes my heart smile...

E & Finn, sleeping on the couch...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cats don't make good babysitters...

No babies were harmed in the making of this film...

When this video was shot, the weather was colder and although we had the heat cranked up in our house, with all the windows that we have, a chill is inevitable.  With that said, Finn didn't like having her diaper changed and would start to cry the minute we placed her on the changing table.

This time, Norm and Lucy had decided to snuggle in the exact place that we usually change her.  Before everyone gets all riled up, you can see me hovering right outside of the frame of the video, ready to swoop in a flash.

The two kittens have been wonderful with her.  Lucy will even snuggle up on our outstretched legs when we are trying to put Finn to sleep.  Lucy has a deafening purr and it helps calm Finn -- like our own little portable white noise machine.

The dogs have also been wonderful.  Bishop doesn't give a poo about her -- and couldn't be bothered.  Munk has started to "check" on her when she starts to cry too loud, sniffing her face.  He is going to be her best friend once she starts eating and throwing food on the floor.  :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The waiting list...

Last night, E and I were able to go out to our first dinner as a couple (only four weeks after having Finn -- I think that we are ahead of the game).  During dinner, it was mentioned that the Cleveland Clinic does, in fact, have a daycare affiliated with it and it is only three blocks away from my building at work.  One of the secretaries that I work with has her child enrolled there and is able to see him during lunch.  What would be more wonderful than having daily lunch dates with my daughter!

Sleeping beauty

The end of every nap is concluded with a series of stretches and faces (it's my favorite part of the day, if I can catch it)

With the arrival of the in-laws and them taking Finn out for a walk, I was able to put her on the waiting list.  Or so I thought...

I am going to stay home with Finn for 12 weeks.  I return to work on May 9th.  At that point, my really good friend SaraBeth is going to be watching her until she leaves for graduate school in September.  So I figured that being Finn won't be enrolled until September, it was a long enough time away to easily get into the daycare.  Apparently not.  The lady that I spoke with at the daycare stated that they are only telling new enrollees that it would be sometime in the fall that they would have a spot open up.  She couldn't guarantee our specific time because they were having an influx of new babies.  And apparently, she won't know what the date will be until the early summer time.  Great...  She did say that she would be able to place us in a KinderCare until the time a spot opens up for us.  Now to find the most convenient KinderCare.  And I have scheduled a tour of the daycare on Monday morning -- so hopefully I'll like it.

Finn is starting to become more alert and staring intently at objects

Also, yesterday, Finn developed a rash all over her trunk and I took her to the other doctor in my pediatrician's office.  Being that she was afebrile, nothing to be alarmed about according to the doctor, just a newborn rash or contact dermatitis.  But she said that it could possibly get worse before it gets better.  Well, it's getting worse -- the poor girl now has it spreading up her neck and onto her face!  I have her well-baby one-month visit on Friday and will be talking to her regular doctor then.

And we also have E's parents here until Monday morning.  It's so wonderful watching others love on your baby.  It makes me involuntarily smile.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The birth story -- Part III

E hung up the phone and told me that it’s time to get my ass in gear.  I started bawling and E immediately jumped to my side and asked what was going on with me, was I in pain?  And my response to him through snotty snobs was “I feel bad for the dogs.  I'm scaring the dogs.  They have no idea what’s going on with all my screaming and they are scared. I wish that they understood English and I could tell them what is going on.” And I started to cry some more.  E started trying to rush me, verbally pushing me, but I had to go to the bathroom first – when a contraction would hit, I would have to stop what I was doing and force myself to try to make it through the contraction with lots of vocalizations and curse words.  As I’m walking down our upstairs hall, E asked me to hurry up.  I stopped on the stairs to have a contraction.  I stopped in the kitchen, leaning on the counter to have another contraction.  I couldn't bend over to put on my boots because it was too painful, so E had to try to put on my boots while I was sagging onto my elbows on the counter during the contraction.  (Thanks to my trusty contraction app & the summary of contractions e-mailed to me after the fact -- the contractions were about 2 minutes apart and were lasting over a minute each.)  We finally get out the door and I stopped at the bottom of the first flight of stairs to have a contraction.  During this contraction outside, I'm shocked that our neighbors didn't hear me screaming obscenities as I had at least two other contractions on the way to the car.  E finally took my elbow and physically pushed me to the car, telling me “Jamie!  WE HAVE GOT TO GO!”  I was in no rush at all. (denial)

Once we got to the car, I started to dig through the middle console before getting in with E yelling at me to get into the car.  In my mind, I HAD to put down the “wee-wee” training pad we purchased, just in case my water broke in the car and then another contraction hit me.  E was mad-crazy to get to the hospital and forced me into the car.  Looking back, I'm certainly glad that someone was in a hurry to get me to the hospital.

E drove like the crazy man you see on the TV shows.  I was screaming the “F” word at the top of my lungs during the contractions.  But after the contraction was over, as he was tailgating the slow moving car in front of us, I’d calmly tell him that he really didn't need to drive that fast, that we weren't really in THAT much of a hurry.  We arrive to the hospital ER as we were instructed in our childbirth class and E went to get a wheelchair.

He wheeled the wheelchair out to me. I got in after some severe prompting for not moving fast enough during my contraction.  The security guard saw the severity of the situation, radioed ahead to L&D and decided to rush us to the “secret-hidden” service elevator that drop us off right in front of the L&D desk.  (Normally, laboring moms would have to be wheeled about ¼ of a mile through hallways and put a different elevator and have to be buzzed into L&D.)  I think the security guard took us this way, because he didn't want me scaring patients with my crazed vocalizations.  I had another contraction in the hallway while they were wheeling me to the elevator.  I forgot where I was and the pain of the contraction took over – I started screaming curse words in the hallway.  After the contraction was over, I apologized to the guard for losing my shit as well as apologizing to a night nurse in scrubs walking past us.

We got up to L&D, quickly checked in and they told us to go through the doors and go into L&D #14 where they were waiting for us.  We arrived in the room and I immediately asked for my drugs and told the nurses to call the anesthesiologist.  I wanted my drugs.  The nurses told me that I needed to be checked before the anesthesiologist would be called.  In the ideal situations, the laboring mom goes into the bathroom to change their clothes – I physically needed help getting out my clothes and into the gown, so the nurses stripped me down in the middle of the room with the door wide open.  I had absolutely no modesty left, I didn’t give a hoot -- if it meant my drugs were coming faster, I would have done naked sprints down the hallway.  I got onto the bed around 9:45pm and the nurse checked me.

"Well, it looks like you are 9cm and 100% effaced!  We are going to have this baby soon!  You have got a really good pelvis -- you aren't going to have ANY problems pushing this baby out”

Immediately, I started to panic.  I’m sure the look in my eyes was primal, that I was becoming a crazed woman.  I began looking from nurse to nurse to nurse (there seemed to be about five of them in the room).  I started saying over and over again – “But I want drugs!  I'm too far along and can’t have drugs now!”  The nurses all tried to calm me, telling me the doctor would be there shortly.  I had always said that I wanted to labor as long as I could without the drugs, but never expected to actually deliver this baby naturally.  At this point, E also asked the nurses if we should shut the door because he was afraid that I was scaring other laboring moms in the hallway.  It was also at this time that E mentioned our car was STILL RUNNING in front of the ER.  E asked if he should go down and move the car.  The nurses told him that he should stick around because this baby might be coming soon but they would call down to security and let them know that he would be in L&D for a while.

At 10:15pm -- under two hours from when the photo in the bar was taken & fully dilated

This is where things get blurry for about 20 minutes.  I don’t remember the order of some of the events, just know that they happened.  The other nurses started trying to put my IV in – they missed two of my veins in the first arm and one in the second as my veins were “rolling” and they also blew two of my veins.  They then decided to call the anesthesiologist to put in the IV needle. 

During this time, one of the nurses came over to my right side and took my hand.  She squeezed it really hard and told me to focus on her.  She said that I needed to breathe through the contractions.  I was panicked and told her I couldn’t and she very sternly told me that in fact, I could breathe through them.  She showed me how to breathe “hee-hee-hoo” and made me breathe with her.  She was my bitchy angel – once I had a breathing technique to focus on during my contractions, I was better able to handle them.  They still hurt like an SOB, but the breathing gave me something to focus on, instead of focusing on the pain. My vocalizations stopped all together as I put my focus in one breathing through each contraction.  I felt a little more in control and calmer -- but I was still scared shitless that I was going to have to do this old fashion way -- au naturale.

During this time, Dr. Emery (my doctor – HALLELUJAH!) also came in to see me shortly after 10pm and checked me again.  He said that I was 10cm and fully dilated.  I can’t remember much else about his visit.  I was still petrified that I was going to have to have her naturally and the pain was unbearable.

Also during this time, I had a contraction that I thought that I felt like I had the small urge to push.  The nurses told me that I should go ahead and push.  I refused, “But I don’t want to push!”  They told me to do the other Lamaze technique that we learned in class to keep me from pushing.  I can honestly say that I thought if I refused to push, that I could postpone her delivery long enough to get drugs.

Suddenly, the anesthesiologist was in the room and E put a shower cap on my head at the request of the nurses – very crooked and over one of my eyes, mind you.  They were going to try to administer my epidural!  Hallelujah!  I guess it was a race against the clock, as I had to finish my bag of fluids (which I honestly don't remember this chunk of time, how long it usually takes to administer a bag of fluids and where that time actually went).  When the anesthesiologist entered the room, I didn't know why it was happening, but knew that he was there and I couldn't have been more relieved.  E left the room and I was sitting up, leaning on the midwife. I felt bad for her later, because through each contraction while they were administering my epidural and spinal (and there were three big contractions), being that I couldn't move from my hunched over position, I squeezed her chicken wing (the underside of her upper arm) and I’m sure that I bruised her.

Within 10 minutes, the spinal had kicked in and I was feeling wonderful!  E went down to move the car.  He didn't come back for quite some time, so long in fact, that our L&D nurse Lisa had commented – wondering if he was going to come back.  Come to find out, that someone had locked the car doors with the car still running!  To this day, E thinks that I locked the doors as I was getting out while I think that it was security that locked them after L&D called down to them to explain the situation.  The security guards didn't have the tools to open the locks, so the local police had to come and unlock his doors!

I also found out why I was able to get the spinal/epidural being 10cm and 100% effaced.  The ONLY reason that I didn't have her naturally was because she was at a station -2 meaning she was sitting low in my uterus and her head was not quite at my pelvic bone.  Because she wasn't opening at the door, I was able to receive drugs and let my uterus work her down without draining my energy.  Looking back, I now realize how close I was to having her naturally.  With a couple of hours of pushing, she probably would have been born naturally. 

I was able to rest until about 1:00am – the only thing that disturbed me was Lisa coming in frequently to ask if I felt any pressure.  Then my spinal started wearing off. I started feeling some major back labor on the one side.  The pain was so severe that I had to focus & breathe through the contraction.  I asked Lisa to bring back the anesthesiologist to give me more meds.  She didn't want to do that as she wanted me to feel enough of my contractions to know when to push when it came time.  But I persisted and the anesthesiologist came back in and administered more drugs.  Pure bliss!

I was left alone for quite a long time.  About 4.5 hours with me being fully dilated and ready to have this baby, I thought it was a long time.  I couldn't feel anything below my belly button.  And the fact that I had read during my pregnancy about how even a woman in a coma could deliver a baby because the body naturally knows what to do kept ringing in my head.  So the only reassurance that I had that my baby's head wasn't coming out of my va-jay was the fetal monitor was still pumping away at a steady rhythm.  Later we found out that there with only one doctor on the floor, at least 2 emergency C-sections, and a completely full L&D were probably the reason that they let me be for so long.

At about 2:30am, Lisa came in asking about pressure.  I felt none.  She said that she was going to catheter me.  She said that I should start getting myself “amped up” because at 3:00am we were going to push.  She also mentioned that she was shocked that my waters hadn't broken by this point.  As she lifted the blankets to catheter me, she said “Oh my!  I've never seen anything like this before!”  I was thinking that my baby’s head about already coming out!  Come to find out, my bag of water was actually hanging outside of me, like a water balloon.  E took a photo of it, so that I could see it.  And I have to say that it was pretty amazing!  Lisa broke my water while trying to catheter me and then I knew that her arrival was imminent.  I don't remember what I thought during those 30 minutes, but I was still in denial that I was going to have a baby in my arms soon.

At 3:00am, Lisa came back in.  By this point, I could feel the top of my abdomen tightening with my contractions.  Lisa confirmed that my contraction was starting and we got in position to do a practice push.  With that practice push, her head was almost out!  Lisa told me to stop pushing and she was calling Emery!  He came into the room and prepped up.  We started pushing at about 3:15am.  In four pushes, little Finn was born!

Finn born 2.16.12 at 3:23am

I was amazed that she was here and the only thing I could say was "I just had a baby.  I just had a baby!"  They cleaned her a little and then placed her on my chest.  She proceeded to then empty her bowels all over my chest!  First thing she does to her mother?  She poops on her!

 Our first photo together (thank E for my hair, as he was in charge of putting in my ponytail when we got to L&D 
and I wasn't in any frame of mind to care what I looked like)

She was perfect and healthy!  And after it was all over, Dr.Emery sat down and joked for about 45 minutes while he was stitching me up.  Her apgars were perfect -- 9 & 9.  And her jaundice score was "0" -- the postpartum doctor and our peds doctor didn't believe us and she was tested multiple times.  Every time coming back "0".  It was an amazing experience, one made spectacular with my own doctor delivering her.  I couldn't have asked for a better story!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our first chat

How can you NOT love this little girl...

Make sure to turn up the volume -- she doesn't talk as loud as her mother yet.

The birth story -- Part II

After Emery walked out of the room, E and I started commenting about how we were both shocked at how far along I was.  Neither of us anticipated either of those numbers – 3cm dilated and 70% effaced!  I knew they were good numbers, but also thought in my head that women sit with these kind of numbers for days, if not weeks.  We got nothing to worry about.  We proceeded to drive to work separately.  I was actually even texting E when I would have a severe cramp that would make me catch my breath.  While walking to work, we ran into one of E’s colleagues in the hallway at work.  He congratulated us on the upcoming arrival of our girl when E & I told him that I was having contractions.  But it didn't even sink in with me how close she was to her arrival (denial).

While at work, I was curious and decided to start tracking my contractions on my phone.  I had downloaded a pregnancy app that also had a contraction counter.  They were still very minimal cramps, but I was curious.  No one could tell that I was having contractions all day, so I wasn't thinking that I would see any major developments.  By the end of the day, the contractions were about 8 minutes apart, lasting for about 40 seconds.  And as I was leaving work at 5pm, the minimal menstrual cramps turned into high-level moderate cramps -- the kind that I would have during the worst day of my period where I would want to lay on the couch all day with heating pads.  I was still able to do my job, which is to talk to patients on the phone through the contractions – so I didn't think that I was actually in labor (denial).

E had called in a couple of times to check on me.  “No change” was my response each time.  He called while I was walking to my car after 5pm.  He said that he was going to come home early.  I told him that he should stay late at work that day because nothing was going to happen fast and he should get everything wrapped up just in case she came later in the day tomorrow.

I arrived at home around 5:45pm.  I stopped tracking my contractions during the ride home, as it was difficult to drive and log them at the same time.  The rocking chair that my parents ordered for the baby had arrived that day and being it was sitting in front of my door, I took it upon myself to drag inside the house.  I also decided when I got home, that I would hold off on tracking contractions until I thought they were more severe as I had wasted (my word at the time) my entire day tracking them.  E arrived home about 6:15pm.  He said that I should start tracking them again – just to see how far apart they were.  So as he carried the rocking chair upstairs to her room, I followed along and sat in her room, tracking the contractions.  After he was finished, E asked if he should make some dinner for me or if I was feeling up to going out to get something to eat.  I felt great; the contractions still weren't that strong (i.e. I could continue doing whatever I was doing during them), so I told him that we should go out.  “It might be my last meal for a while.”

We ran into our neighbor in the driveway.  Updated him on the contractions and told him that we were hitting the local bar/restaurant.  He & his wife & daughter decided to join us there.  At 7pm, we sat at the bar, me eating my chicken noodle soup as I didn't really feel hungry and E drinking his Guinness.  While at the bar, I continued to track my contractions, still having the ability to talk through them.  Every time that a contraction would start, I would hit my phone and E would say “You’re having another one?”  I was in good spirits, even though E seemed concerned every time I would start up my phone again.  About an hour and half into the meal, the contractions seemed to intensify and come a little quicker.  Nothing overly painful, but they were definitely increasing in strength.  I wasn't able to speak during them or look at the people I was sitting with.  I had to pick a focus point on the wall and wait until they were over.  At this point, they were still menstrual cramps and weren't radiating across my stomach, so I thought we had plenty of time.  E started to get concerned with the frequency of them and the fact that I would have to distract myself during them.  He thought we should head home and so we did at about 8:30 -- 9:00pm.

Me, sitting at the bar at 8:30pm (and no, this isn't my beer)
When we got home, E wanted to pack up the car for the hospital.  He said that I should go upstairs and lay down as he got everything in the car – just in case, just in case we had to leave for the hospital in the middle of the night.  I still didn't think that I would progress that quickly, but I didn't want E sitting there looking at me and getting more nervous as each contraction would start.  Plus it was a good idea to have everything ready for whenever it was time to go.  So I went upstairs to lay down while E busied himself with packing up the car.

From the moment that I laid down, it seemed like the contractions starting coming quicker and stronger.  I continued to track them on my phone and E continued to pack downstairs.  I can't describe my state of mind during that time.  It was almost like I was just struggling to make it through each contraction.  Once the contraction would stop, I would mentally start dreading the next one.  I had no focus, no sense of time -- I just knew that even in the reprieve between each contraction, the pain was going to come again.  I couldn't think beyond each contraction.  It was very primal.

By the time that E came up to see how I was doing, I was becoming very vocal during each contraction, so vocal that the dogs wouldn't lay by me in bed anymore (at the time, it made me uber upset, as Munk is usually a big comfort to me).  E asked if it was time to go to the hospital – I checked my phone averages and they were only 6-7 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds (sidebar: to all you ladies -- piece of advice that I didn't know: check that app to make sure that the average you are looking at is for the last hour and not the average of the entire time that you had been tracking your contractions.  It's a golden nugget that I'll NEVER forget).  I told him that I didn't want to go to the hospital yet as I wasn't at 5-1-1 and the contractions were still all on the underside of my abdomen.  My doctor’s response that they would radiate across my entire stomach when it was time kept ringing in my ears.

I had put my foot down that I wasn't going to be one of those ladies that went to the hospital, only to be sent home.  I had two things listed in my mental birth plan:  1) Do whatever it takes for a healthy baby.  & 2) Labor as long as possible at home, then get to the hospital and get drugs.  E sat with me for another two contractions, during which my vocalizations got louder, almost becoming screams.  “That’s it!  I’m calling the doctor and we are going to the hospital!”  He eventually got on the phone with the doctor’s office (he had to leave a message and have a nurse return his call).  When the nurse called back, she asked to speak with me.  E said that I was starting another contraction, which I knew she heard through the phone.  The nurse said to E “How far away from the hospital are you?”  “10-15 minutes.”  “Well, get her here AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The birth story -- Part I

The due date was set.  February 16, 2012.  I gained 45 pounds.

She came at 3:23am on Thursday, February 16, 2012.  She weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and was 20.25 inches long.

Six months pregnant
I was pretty comfortable being pregnant.  I felt great – including the day I went into labor.  My only complaint in the last couple of weeks was that my pubic bone ligaments were STRETCHING beyond belief.  I wasn't sleeping well, because every time that I would try to roll over (and believe me, it took me at least 20 seconds and lots of groaning to roll over), I would wake myself up from the pain of having an unstable pelvic bone.  I really didn't gain weight anywhere but my stomach.  I felt so beautifully pregnant.  But I did have some major swelling the last week and half.  I had the textbook definition of "cankles".  I would put on a pair of socks and in less than 10 minutes, there would be an indent where the elastic of my socks sat.  Dr. Emery (my doctor) stated that although it was more than normal, he wasn't concerned as my blood pressure was also normal and there were no other signs of pre-eclampsia.

I had absolutely no early signs or symptoms of labor in the last weeks of my pregnancy.  During my weekly visits with him, Dr. Emery would ask me each week – “Do you want me to check you?  With you having no signs, I don’t have to.”  To which I would respond, “It won’t change anything, so no.”  I went in for my 39 week appointment and Emery told me that at my next appointment, my 40 week appointment (which was scheduled for the day before my due date – Wednesday, February 15th), he would definitely be checking me and we would talk about inducing, in case our baby girl decided to come after her due date.

The final weeks of my pregnancy

 On Tuesday, February 14th, I woke up in the morning & went to the bathroom with a small sign that we hadn't stalled out.  It could mean that she would be making her appearance within the next two days or next two weeks, but it was a sign that we were progressing to our end goal.  I wasn't that concerned – still thinking that she was going to arrive the following week – being late and making a grand entrance.  (Sidebar -- I was born an month and a day date via C-section.  So in the preparations for my labor, I had only planned for a long, slow labor that would start after my due date.  So I'll note to all you ladies out there reading this that haven't had a baby before -- prepare for everything!)

Tuesday afternoon, I developed some light cramping.  It felt just like normal menstrual cramps.  Nothing painful, nothing regular.  As E & I went to bed and I mentioned them to him, E asked if we should be timing them.  I said no.  Based on my unofficial timing, they were very irregular and didn't feel like "the real thing."  “This was just false labor,” I was thinking.  They kicked up a little bit at about 3:00am on Wednesday morning (the 15th).  I was having about 3-4 cramps every hour, but still nothing super regular and definitely not painful.

For my 40 week appointment, I had asked E to go to the doctor with me, because if we were going to be talking about a possible induction, I needed him there to hear the information as well.  Four ears are better than two.  I was still having “cramps” that morning.  They were very sporadic and more annoying than painful.  In fact, I drove to my appointment, E was driving separately as we were leaving for work directly after.  We arrived at the doctor's office at 8:00am and all vitals were fine.  Emery came in and we listened to the baby’s heart rate.  All good.  As we were getting down to the nitty gritty and getting set up to check me, he told me that on my way out, I would need to make three appointments for the following week (one for the biophysical profile on the baby to ensure there was enough amniotic fluid in there for her, one with him as our weekly appointment, and one to set up the induction the following Friday (the 24th) as that was the day he was on-call next week).  (Sidebar – the Clinic has two maternity wards; one of the Eastside where we live and one on the Westside.  All OBs in our system have on-call dates where they delivery babies in Labor & Delivery.  In order for you to have your own doctor deliver your baby, you have to go into labor during one of his on-call 12-hour shifts, which are once a week; a one in fourteen chance.)  He asked how I’ve been.  I told him about the light cramps that began yesterday afternoon and the discharge that I woke up with yesterday.  Then he went in for the check.   

“Well, you are 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced.”   

"WHAT!?!?  Hold up, there doc -- you said what?"  E & I exchanged glances.  We both didn't expect to hear those words.  I started questioning my doctor about labor.  Once labor kicked in, would my contractions were going to become full uteral contractions, as these were only lower cramps, exactly like menstrual cramps.  He confirmed that I would be able to feel them all the way across my stomach when labor had kicked in.  Emery said that I didn't need to make any appointments before I left – that if I didn't have the baby by Monday, to call the office and we would schedule all appointments then (should took that one as a sign).  He also said that I needed to go to the hospital if my water broke or if my contractions were “5-1-1”; (5 minutes apart lasting more than one minute over the duration of one hour).   

His parting remarks to me were “I am on-call tonight, so if you want to have her before 8:00am tomorrow, it would be great.”  I jokingly told him that I would have a talk with her and that I would see what we could do.  If I'm being honest with myself right now, I still didn't put it together that I was going to have a baby soon.  Maybe I was blocking it out -- maybe I was in denial (that's a recurring theme through this story).  Thoroughly thinking that I was going to have at least a 36-hour labor and lots of pushing, I didn't foresee the stroke of luck that it would take for my own doctor to delivery my baby or that my baby was going to come anytime soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The arrival of Finn

With a mere of four pushes, Finn arrived into this world on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 3:23am, weighing in at 8lb 4oz and 20.25 inches long.

Finn-- one week old

I am starting this blog with the intent of keeping family and friends posted on Finn through stories, videos, and lots of photos.  With all of our family living hours away, I figured this was the best solution to keep everyone up to date and give them their photo and video fix.

Well, Finn is 3 weeks old today.  So I'm a little late in starting this blog as I wanted to start it the day that she got home.  But my hands have been full literally.  She takes constant attention as I'm sure that all newborns do.  But in my naive experience, I thought that they were supposed to sleep A LOT.  No such luck here.

Finn -- one week old

At three weeks old, she is a great night sleeper for a wee one.  She will go to bed around 9:00pm and sleep until 1:00am.  She'll go back down around 2:00am and wake up again anywhere between 4:30am -- 6:00am.  And although I'm very grateful that she is a good night sleeper, she isn't a very good daytime napper, not when you consider that newborns (on average) sleep 16 hours a day.  We get in 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there.  She is starting to take a longer nap in the late afternoon into early evening.  I am definitely still trying to figure out her daytime schedule.

Finn -- one week old

Please bear with me in my learning curve.  I am new to this whole blog thing and though I read a lot of other mom's blogs, I'm sure they make it look too easy posting photos & videos and making their blogs look amazing.

I'm in the process of writing her birth story and hope to post it in parts soon.