Thursday, November 29, 2012

Labor, Delivery, and Newborn Surprises

As I've reflected on the birth of my baby and our first month together, there are a lot of things that have happened that I didn't expect. Here's my list of things I learned about labor, delivery, and those early days with a newborn that no one really warned me about....

1. If you have a c-section, be prepared to be covered in tape and sticky tape residue. I think I was about 3 weeks postpartum when I finally realized that I wasn't scrubbing tape residue off in the shower anymore. It didn't matter how hard I scrubbed, I kept finding more sticky stuff all over me.

2. It's normal to be REALLY hot after the baby is born. And there's a good chance that will continue for weeks after the baby is here. I am constantly sweating these days. Hormones + pain drugs can do some crazy things to you.

3. Those pain drugs they send you home with after a c-section aren't just for a c-section incision; you may end up taking them to relieve back and neck pain. The pain in my neck and back those first 3 weeks of nursing was awful. You may also need that heating pad that become so handy in the third trimester.

4. If you nurse, you might feel like you live in a swamp. I am always covered in milk. On more than one occasion, I've woken up just soaked. And disposable breast pads work way better than the reusable ones.

5. If you do any pushing at all in labor, even if you end up having a c-section, ask for ice when you're in recovery. Trust me on this one. No one offered me ice since my chart said "c-section," so I didn't get any until 48 hours after her birth when a friend told me I needed to ask for it. What a difference that made. It would have been nice if I had gotten it earlier.

6. The hospital is a funny place. So many people come in to see and check on you, and they all represent a different "camp." The OB is looking out for you and your health. The pediatrician is there for baby. The lactation consultant only cares about successful breast feeding. The nurses all vary. This makes it hard because you can ask them all the same question and get completely different answers from each person. I guess what I learned was I need to go with my gut.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

his birthday

Happy Birthday to our favorite guy...

We are pretty lucky ladies to have you in our life!
This next year will have a hard time topping the past one,
but I hope it's another great one for you.
We love you!

Your Girls

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Month

Little girl, you turned one month old on Sunday. My mommy heart cannot believe that you are now a month old. I don't know how a full month has passed since you entered our lives. So much has changed, but it also feels like you've always been a part of our family. The tiny little chicken legged baby I brought home from the hospital last month is filling out and getting chubby cheeks and legs. You change so much from week to week.

This past month has been the greatest month of my life. You bring your daddy and me so much joy. It's indescribable. I knew I would like being a mommy, but I had no clue just how much I'd love being your mommy! It's the greatest job I've ever had. But then again, you make it fairly easy!

You are a mostly happy girl! You have a good stretch of awake time each morning where you are wide eyed and so happy. You love sitting in your bouncy seat and looking at the animals hanging above you. You especially like the monkey! If you're not in there, you like to be in my arms looking at my face or on my shoulder where you hold your head up and look around (you have excellent neck control!). You spend most of the late morning and afternoon napping with a few awake periods, and then we usually get another big awake stretch in the evening. However, you're generally fussier at this time. We've started giving you a bath each night to help you fall into a bit of a bedtime routine, and while bath time started out as something awful, you're slowly learning to like it and it calms you down when we put you in. You still hate being removed from the bathtub, but there's less and less crying each night.

In your first month, you have met many of mommy's friends around Charlotte, and you've gone to visit daddy and his coworkers. You've met all four of your grandparents and your aunt Lindsay and Uncle Jason. You are already so loved by so many. We've also facetimed and skyped with many of our far away friends family. Hopefully you'll get to meet some of them in December when we visit Virginia for the holidays.

You sleep fairly well, only waking up once or twice at night, and you typically go right back to bed after you eat. Speaking of eating, you're a super nurser and have been since day one. We've got a few little hurdles to overcome with nursing, but overall, it's going really well.

We discovered very early that you like to have something to suck on. You try so hard to suck on your hands all the time, but you have a hard time keeping them by your face since you don't have great control over them. I gave in around two and half weeks and gave you a pacifier. I am so glad I did. It's definitely something that soothes you when you're restless or tired.

The two big sisters in our home (the ones with four legs) absolutely love you. When we lay you on the floor for tummy time or on your play mat, we can always count on them to be right by your side. They love to kiss and look after you!

You are growing so fast, and while I love the changes each day brings, I want to soak up all this time with you while you're still so tiny! Don't grow up too fast!

We love you sweet girl! Happy 1st month!

Weight: 10lbs 15oz (90th percentile)
Height: 22 1/8 inches (90th percentile)
Nicknames: Piglet, Mags, Magster, Pumpkinhead 
Diaper Size: Newborn
Clothes: A few newborn things still fit, but we're mostly in 0-3 month now

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A little holiday cheer...

(if you're reading in google reader, click on through to watch the video on my blog)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

First Thanksgiving

We had a great first Thanksgiving with Maggie! 

 It was fun celebrating our first big holiday with her. It was also fun getting to host for the first time!

I am not one to go all out on holiday decor or tablescapes, so you won't see any fancy place settings or centerpieces, but I won't menu was pretty fantastic. I think J and I did a great job for our first Thanksgiving. We kept it relatively simple since we only had four of us at the table, but it was a lot of fun picking out recipes to serve. I think I enjoy this sort of thing more than most!

Turkey Breast (in a crock pot!)
My mom's recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe below)
Sister Schubert Rolls
Pumpkin Pie and Carrot Cake by my MIL

 There was also a little of this...only my favorite pumpkin ale!

Some football watching after the meal...

And then me and my little sleepy head. 
All that turkey, parade watching, and family time wore her out!

Sweet Potato Casserole:
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (canned is fine)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut (OPTIONAL)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

Combine all above ingredients until smooth. Pour into 2 qt. casserole dish. Mix all topping ingredients and spread over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350°F. for 35 to 40 minutes. Note: This can easily be made ahead of time! Just prep the casserole and put in fridge, then put together the topping and add before baking.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ten things

Ten things I'm feeling extra thankful for this year....

1. A healthy and relatively easy pregnancy, and for modern medicine that helped me deliver my baby.

2. My beautiful baby girl. My heart has never been more thankful than it is this year.

3. My parents. Now that "mom" has been added my list of titles, I have a newfound gratitude for my own parents and all they've done for me.

4. Our home that keeps us warm, safe, and healthy.

5. Traveling. And having the means to travel and explore new places.

6. Being able to stay home with my baby.

7. Two dogs who make me laugh and smile on a daily basis. So many people told me things would change when our baby arrived, but I still love those dogs like they're my babies. I am also thankful that they love M as much as we do.

8. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, my favorite part of this holiday...that and pecan pie!

9. Other moms who have been so helpful and supportive during my first four weeks of motherhood. They're wisdom and listening ears have been so helpful, and just what I needed some days.

10. My husband. Having a baby has only made me love him more.

Monday, November 19, 2012

life right now

Right now we are....

...busy dirtying diapers and changing diapers.

...prepping for our first Thanksgiving with little M. It's also our first Thanksgiving that we are hosting. J's parents are coming to join us later in the week, and I've been busy picking out recipes for sides while J has taken charge of the turkey. Hopefully it'll be a success.

...enjoying all the wonderful food that so many friends have been bringing us. And on nights when we don't have meals brought to us, we're enjoying one of the many meals my mom left for us in our freezer.

...learning the ins and out of this little person who has been added to our family. Some things we know about her after 3 weeks: she doesn't like being cold and naked, she loves her pacifier, and she can't keep socks on her feet to save her life. wearing; we love our Ergo and K'tan. K'tan seems to be perfect for around the house, Ergo is awesome for running errands. Still need to try out our Moby.

...attempting to start our Christmas shopping. Sort of wishing I had started this before M arrived. This might be the year of gift cards.

...preparing for birthday week! J and I both celebrate birthdays at the end of the month. However, this year's celebrations will likely be very low key. Our celebrating will probably include some take out and a couple of bottles of beer.

Treat Promo

Just a little head's up about a great promotion from Treat!

This promo is good only today and tomorrow, so act fast!

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Make one for Thanksgiving, a thank you card, birthday, encouragement....lots of options!
All you need is this promo code: TREATBLOGR

Have fun!

[Treat has compensated me for writing this post, but as always, I only promote companies with products I love!]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

M's Birth Story: Part 2

This is a continuation from yesterday's post!

Somewhere around 5pm, my doctor came in to check on me, and he immediately said I wasn't going to push this baby out without any help. My pubic bone wasn't wide enough for her to fit through. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was induced, my bone structure just wasn't accommodating to pushing her out. I had two choices. I could try pushing with help of a vacuum or we could go straight to the OR for a c-section. He said he didn't feel completely confident that the vacuum would work, but it might have a chance. I told him I wanted to try the vacuum before resorting to surgery. Since I had pushed for so long, I wasn't ready to give up yet. Also, I wanted to avoid surgery, if possible. 

So....we tried the vacuum. I pushed through two contractions while he used the vacuum, feeling a lot of pain, but my baby wasn't budging. After the second try I think I remember my doctor saying to a nurse to get my OR booked. I think I sort of felt a sense of relief here because it had been about 2.5 hours of pushing and not only was I exhausted, but I was in some serious pain. My epidural just wasn't cutting it.  (One thing I should note is that M's heart rate never dropped through out this whole process; she was doing great! We were never concerned about her and her health. Because of this, I would say that our situation was never considered an emergency.)

Things started to get a little rough at this point for me. They had to make sure there was an available OR and that there was an anesthesiologist who could be there. From the time my doctor said let's do the CS to the time we got into the OR, it was probably twenty minutes. And in that twenty minutes I probably had ten contractions and I felt each one. Longest twenty minutes of my life. I was trying so hard to breathe and just get through it, but the tears started flowing at this point. I was just ready to meet my baby and be done. 

They eventually wheeled me into the OR by myself (J couldn't come in until it was time to start the procedure), where I was a mess, but I was greeted by the nicest staff in here. The anesthesiologist nurse immediately calmed me down. She gave me some oxygen, put her hands on my head, and in about 5 minutes, they had more drugs in me and I was feeling completely numb from my chest down. From this point on, everything was fine, but for that hour where my drugs just weren't working, I was miserable. 

Once my drugs were working here, things were great! They got me ready for surgery, brought my sweet husband in (it was so good to see his face again), and before I knew it, it was go time! When my doctor began the procedure, I did feel stinging, so I immediately spoke up. They stopped the procedure and we waited a few minutes. Once they started again, I felt no pain. I guess my drugs hadn't fully kicked in yet? Who knows. From here I felt a lot of strong pushes and tugs (which is a crazy feeling, by the way!). My doctor talked us through every step, and before we knew it, at 6:33 PM he said, "Here comes your baby..." and I heard her sweet cry. Greatest moment ever.

Within seconds I saw her being lifted above the sheet, and taken to get cleaned up. A group of nurses were talking to me from her bassinet telling me she looked perfect, and all my fears and pain and worries from the day disappeared. My baby girl was here! J left my side after I told him to go look at her. I remember asking if she had hair, how much did she weigh....I was itching to get my hands on her, but knew I had to get put back together first.

Once they were all done cleaning her up and doing all of her tests, the nurses brought her to me so I could just stare at her sweet face and give her kisses. They then handed her to J, and we both just sat there in silence looking at this beautiful baby girl. She was ours!

I got "put back together"(which, husband got a nice little show of my reproductive organs at this time....he and the doctor were chatting it up as the doctor showed him my uterus and other internal organs. WEIRD), and eventually J and the baby left to go to recovery. They moved me from the table to a bed, and I was wheeled to recovery where we spent the next 3 hours just falling in love with our sweet girl. We couldn't leave the recovery room until I could lift my leg and I wasn't nauseous. This part of the evening was killing me because our phones were dying, we didn't have outlets to charge them in, and all I wanted to do was text and email everyone we know and share pictures of our baby! Also, the recovery room was a million degrees to this hormonal mom who was draped in blankets, so I was anxious to get out and into our own room.

Finally around 9:30, I was good to go and they wheeled us down the hall, and we were taken to our own room where our moms finally got to come in and meet M. They were itching to meet this little lady who had been born three hours prior! Another neat memory, the hospital plays a lullaby a baby is born, but we learned that the dad is the one who gets to play the lullaby. It was at 9:30 when we were walking to our room that they let J turn a key that played the lullaby. I was holding M and just beaming as they played it!

My birth story definitely took an unexpected turn with the c-section. My doctor and I did not anticipate her birth being a c-section, but again, you can't plan the details of your baby's birth! I didn't go into her birthday with expectations, so I wasn't "let down" or upset that we had to have c-section to get her here safely. The only hope I had for my baby's birth was for it to end with a healthy mom and baby, and we got both of those. Would I have preferred to deliver vaginally? Maybe; it would have been nice to avoid the surgery and all the restraints that come along with it post delivery. But the c-section wasn't that bad, and my recovery has been going really well with the help of J and my mom. The first few days after the birth were really tough because not only did I have a giant incision in my abdomen, but I also was dealing with swelling and other problems associated with a vaginal birth since I had pushed for almost two and half hours. This was less than ideal, but baby girl was here and healthy. I would do it all over again for her.

Because really....isn't she perfect?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

M's Birth Story: Part 1

My baby girl's birthday was, hands down, the best day of my life. People told me I'd feel this way. But I didn't really believe them. I thought it would be a long, exhausting, painful day. And although it was all of those things, it really was the greatest day in my 28 years and 11 months of life. Easily.

Maggie's birth story begins on Wednesday, October 24. I was 39 weeks and 6 days. I went to see my OB that morning. I was 4cm dilated at this appointment, but still not having regular or painful contractions. My doctor told me he'd be on call the next day, and if I had any contractions through out the night, I could come in the next morning. He didn't want to schedule an induction because he was afraid the hospital would be busy and we'd get bumped from the schedule. He said it would be easier to have us show up on our own, so...we did as he said! I had been having contractions off and on for weeks leading up to the birth, so I knew we'd have reason to go to the hospital the next morning. 

Sure enough, I felt some contractions through out the night (again, nothing regular or painful, but they were there). So we got up, ate a big breakfast prepared by J, and headed to the hospital around 7AM.

My last pregnant photo before putting on my hospital gown. 
I can't believe my baby girl was in there.

Once we had checked in, they took us to Triage where I was given a very sweet nurse who measured me and said I was at a 5. She had me hooked up to the machine that measures my contractions, and I think she was a little weary at the fact that I wasn't having regular contractions, but since I was so far dilated, she knew I had to stay. She got another nurse to check me since dilation can be subjective. The second nurse assured me that I was at a 5 and I'd be having my baby on that day. This was just what I wanted to hear!

They took me down to a delivery room where we got settled. My doctor came in to see me, we talked about the plan for the day, and he broke my water. He told my nurse to give me a little Pitocin to get those contractions started, and not long after this the contractions started to pick up some. Since I started the day at 5, my nurse told me I could go ahead and request my epidural. I'm so glad I got on the "list" early, because it ended up being a busy day at the hospital, but I was able to get mine quickly!

Not long after my water was broken, our moms came up to my room. I'm really glad they were able to be there on our big day. That was one plus to M's birth being planned. They were able to drive down the day before so they could be there for her arrival.

Around maybe 10 or 11, my anesthesiologist got there and I got my epidural. My contractions at this point just felt like a lot of pressure (mostly on my bladder...I felt like I had to pee every time I had a contraction). Nothing was painful, just uncomfortable. This was the best part about being so dilated before coming in. No waiting for the drugs! The epidural itself wasn't all that bad. My anesthesiologist talked me through the whole thing, and my nurse was so sweet as she reminded me to breathe. 

After this, things were smooth sailing! I felt the drugs starting to work within about 10 minutes. I expected to feel totally numb down there, but it was more tingly than numb. I could still lift and move my legs, they just felt funny. Our moms came back and we all hung out for a few hours. I was really feeling great and by about 1pm, I was at 8cm, never feeling any pain. I told my nurse that this was all going too easily, and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. She laughed and said I was just lucky! She even said I'd have friends who were jealous of my labor. Looking back, this conversation is kind of funny!

I guess it was around 2/2:30 when my nurse noticed I was sort of stuck at 9cm. She used a foley catheter to help get things moving, and a little after 3:00, I was at a 10 and ready to push. I was confident my baby would be here within the next hour! Oh silly naive me! You can't predict anything about labor!

I began pushing around 3:15. It was just J and my nurse in the room, and they were both great. Pushing was a lot of hard, exhausting work, but my drugs were working, so I wasn't feeling strong pain, just strong pressure with each contraction. 

I had my eye on the clock that whole time I was pushing, and I eventually noticed that an hour had passed. I was feeling tired, but kept up the hard work. I was so ready to meet my baby, and I knew that first babies could cause mom to labor for awhile. My nurse had me try pushing on my back, my sides, she even had me get on my hands and knees since I had good control over my legs. Around 4:30/4:45, I began to feel some pain with each contraction, and as each contraction came on, I knew the pain was getting stronger. I still don't know if the drugs weren't working effectively, or if the baby had just moved somewhere that was causing more pressure, but whatever it was, it was starting to hurt. Badly. My nurse and J could sense this, but continued to just encourage and walk me through each contraction as I pushed. 

.....this is starting to get really long winded....I will be back tomorrow to finish!

Monday, November 12, 2012

on our own

Maggie's face pretty much says it all. 
This is how we felt most of the weekend after my mom left us to go back to Virginia.

A lot of tears were shed when she left.


Today is my first day on my own with her. 
We're going to go by her dad's office to show her off to his coworkers,
and maybe a trip to Starbucks together for a drink in the famous red cup.

Here's hoping our first day on our own is a successful one!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From the outside...

I couldn't resist taking this photo!

After almost 30 weeks of pregnancy updates, on the blog, I feel like we had to get a picture of me and Miss Maggie in our usual "spot." She's 2 weeks and 2 days in this picture.

I still can't believe she's actually here! 
I love having her in my arms much more than I enjoyed having her in my belly!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Supporting Our Troops

I've blogged before about how much I love Shutterfly, and once again, they're doing great things!

Today, tomorrow, and Monday, Shutterfly is running a promotion where you can create a card to send to our troops overseas. 

Over 1.5 million troops serve our great nation. Many of them will be overseas, in harm’s way, and away from their families over this holiday season. Our mission is simple—to send a thank you card to every American hero. To succeed we need your support. Just select a card from our 4 different designs, add a personal message (or photo) and click send.  Shutterfly will print and ship your card to the troops at no cost to you.

After you've created your card, please share this with your Facebook family and friends (There is a share option when you complete your card). 

Here's the link to create your card:

Veteran's Day isn't just a day off work or school, it's a day to stop and think about all of those who do so much for our country. It's a day to say thank you to those who protect our rights and freedoms. Take a few minutes out of your weekend to say thank you. 

*Shutterfly has compensated me for this post, but I would likely be blogging about this without any form of compensation since I think it's a great way to say thank you!*

Friday, November 9, 2012

still here!

We're still here and doing well!
My mom is here this week and Maggie is loving time with here Gigi and I'm loving the help.
My mom has not just helped with the baby, but she has cooked and cleaned and our freezer is FULL of food for the coming weeks.
We'll be sad to see her go back to Virginia tomorrow.

I promise to be back next week with more pictures. And maybe a birth story if I can get it finished!

Friday, November 2, 2012

a couple of questions

Is it really November?

How is my baby already a week old?

Do I really get to wake up to this cute sleepy head every morning?

Does J really have to go back to work on Monday? We have loved having him home all day, every day.

How is it possible to be so sleep deprived but so happy?

Will I ever be able to wear real shoes again? Or will my swollen feet be stuck in flip flops and Ugg boots for the rest of my life?

Who loves Maggie more? Me, J, or Layla? With the amount of kisses Layla attempts to give this baby, I might have to say Layla.

Why didn't anyone warn me that my baby would be the sweetest, most precious little person that I've ever laid eyes on?