Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our Holidays 2012


Grandma "Nana" Wooster and Uncle Howard came down to Austin for Thanksgiving to meet Elijah.  Elijah (and Nana) enjoyed great sleeping in grandma's arms and being spoiled with Christmas gifts and kisses.  I got a treat also, as I got to cook all day while Nana babysat.  We had a yummy Thanksgiving meal with all the fixin's!  My best dish and favorite of all the family is consistently Sweet Potato Casserole (Cooking Light, November 2008).   


 We braved the normally 6 hour (but 7-8 with a newborn) drive down to The Valley to spend Christmas with The Brown's.  They originally met Elijah when he was just 2 weeks old.  Now being 2 months old he had really changed - filled out face, smiles, and of course BIGGER.  We had fun taking Elijah for a walk in the state park, sitting around the fire, and getting a mini-date night as Andrew and I went to the hot tub while Grandma Brown babysat.  We ate very well during our trip and of course Elijah was again spoiled with more Christmas presents. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Birth Story

I got very busy with my work at the clinic the beginning of the last month of my pregnancy. My plan was to have a couple of weeks off from my PT job to do some needed last minute preparations for having a baby. However, this little baby was ready to come out 2 weeks before his due date - the day after I stopped working at the PT clinic!

Here's how the story goes:  I went to yoga on Saturday morning for some zen time for me and my baby and remedy a little back ache.  [Side note - at the yoga class I won a LuLuLemon tank top, whoo!]  After yoga I went to the grocery store to stock up on groceries to make some casseroles for a  stock pile. I was SO tired by the time I got home, I couldn't unload the car, so I went straight to bed. After half an hour passed, I came to the realization that this was not normal tiredness nor a normal returning back ache. I told Andrew that this could be "it," and "it" was!  I couldn't sleep Saturday night.  I couldn't stomach any foot.  Warm baths relieved my back ache.  I timed the contractions all night until my labor progressed to be able to head to the hospital at 2am Sunday early morning.

When you finally reach the benchmark of GOING to the hospital, AT the hospital they tell you "oh you might not be in labor so we'll "wait another hour and see"." I COULD NOT go home at this point. Even though I wouldn't say I was in pain now, I still wasn't able to sleep and I didn't feel like eating.  I guess we did good because I got to stay at the hospital. Now it's probably 4-5am. I was advised by our doula to take a medication which side effect is drowsiness so that I could get a nap (I had not slept since Friday).  That, my friends, was good advice. I got a short nap in which really helped.

My awesome OB, Dr. K, arrived to check on me at 6am, and I think I was 3cm dilated. He came back in a couple of hours, my membranes had not broken - so he broke them.  Immediately the dilation increased to 6cm.  From then on as my labor intensified, I spent a total of 4 hours in the shower where Andrew and Christine (our doula) would spray my back with warm water - oh so relaxing!  Elijah came on a Sunday, and we didn't make or to mass, so communion was brought to us at around noon on Sunday. This was very special and I definitely felt spiritually energized to continue the laborious task ahead of me.

From here on out was the most physically and mentally exhausting experience I've ever been through.  As many women describe the sensation of labor, it's not really pain.  I agree.  I felt intense pressure with each contraction as well as a back ache which was relieved by Andrew and Christine applying pressure to the outsides of my pelvic bones.  I continued to enjoy and get relief by being in the shower.  At this point, I couldn't really talk in sentences, so when a contraction came on I would yell to Andrew, "Go!" cuing him to press my pelvis, and then "stop" translated to "Quit touching me!"  Now, my baby and I needed monitoring, so we had to hop out of the sanctuary that was the shower every 30 minutes or so, which I was not happy about.  I needed to lie down in bed to be accurately monitored, which was oh so uncomfortable!  When I was probably 8cm dilated, my baby's heart rate was dipping lower than Dr. K was comfortable with so I needed to remain in bed.  We tried different positions of side lying, on my back, and kneeling in order to relieve the pressure on the umbilical cord that was possibly causing the heart rate fluctuations.  I was NOT COMFORTABLE.  Being confined to the bed, I feel like I didn't have the freedom to be in the position that I wanted to, to naturally get the baby moving down.  But after a little pitocin to stimulate the last little bit of dilation, it was time to push!!!  Well, up until this point the contractions were the most intense sensation that I have ever felt - pushing trumped contractions!  I was so tired and sweaty but the urge I felt made me so ready to push.  Because the baby's heart rate was dipping so low, the NICU was alerted to come to our room, just-in-case.  It was like the whole NICU team was transplated from their waiting post to our room - within seconds our room went in attendance from 5 people to about 15.  Our doula described this as our baby's birthday party complete with everybody wearing funny hats.  After about 20 minutes of bearing down with each contraction, and with the assistance of a vacuum (to keep the baby from moving back UP with each contraction) out popped a little baby!  I remember for about 10 seconds not knowing if we had a boy or girl and after what seemed like a long time Andrew told me it was a boy!  Andrew stood there, jaw dropped, in awe of how my body "did that."  He was dumbfounded and I remember a few people yelling at him, "dad, dad, cut the cord!" so that he would pay attention.

Andrew and I were overwhelmed with love for this tiny human being from the moment we laid eyes on him.  I got to hold his gooey, purple little body for some immediate skin to skin time after Andrew cut the umbilical cord.  After a few minutes he was taken to get washed off, weighed, tested and then returned to me.  We just couldn't stop looking at him!  Instinctively he found my nipple and nursed - the human body is simply amazing.

I am very proud of myself that I went through labor without pain medication.  Most of the challenge was mental, especially toward the end of labor when I did not have the freedom to move into the positions that were comfortable.  I was wearing an oxygen mask and was hooked up to an IV, which made me feel like a "patient in a hospital" rather than a mother able to naturally let her body know what it was made to do - give birth.  I wonder what the birth would have been like if we were at a birthing center or did a home birth, but I am thankful that we were in a hospital due to the baby's heart rate fluctuations.  We adore our OB, Dr. K and doula, Christine and thank them for the support and encouragement throughout my pregnancy.

photo credits to Christine Mesich

Friday, January 4, 2013

Boy versus Girl Predictions

When you're pregnant, you receive much unsolicited advice, comments, and opinions.  At least half of the time when I told a questioner that we were going to be surprised with the sex of our baby, he or she would give me his or her prediction as to whether we would have a boy or girl.  Most of the time (I would say 90% of the predictors), the predictor would state "boy."  It was either because my belly was high or because it was low (?), because my skin was clear or because I was active.  I was curious what the ACTUAL wive's tale was regarding how you are carrying the baby, and I found many other predictors. 

I was carrying low (versus high) which predicts BOY
I was craving sweets (versus salty) which predicts GIRL
Mother's age plus the year is odd (even predicts girl) which predicts BOY
I had clear skin (versus blemished skin) predicts BOY
I had little to no nausea (versus highly nauseous) predicts BOY

SOOO - according to most of these predictions I was to have a BOY, which I did!

Other quirky wive's tales that I didn't get to do:
Hang your wedding ring by a string over your belly and if it swings a girl and circles a boy is predicted.

Drop a key on the floor and if the person who picks it up for you picks it up by the round part a boy or narrow part a girl is predicted.

And I saved the weirdest for last...
Pee in a cup and to it add a tablespoon of Drano.  If it turns green a girl or blue a boy is predicted. 

I had a blast waiting til the birth to find out the sex of our little bun in the oven.  Each day closer to his or her birthday I anticipated meeting him or her even more than if I knew the sex.  It was the biggest "planned surprise" of my life.  I loved making my friends and family crazy with anticipation too ;)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolution

My new year's resolution is to take advantage of technology.  We have lots of fancy gadgets that we don't use to their full potential.  We could be communicating with friends and family better.  And I want to be a hip parent to Elijah! 

1.  Write a blog once a week.  I also have a lot of blog posts to write to catch up on with the end of my pregnancy and the birth of our baby - so stay tuned!

2.  Take more pictures with our digital camera.  I definitely take a picture a day of Elijah with my phone, but we have a nice camera that I should be using more.  I've already started reading up on how to operate it and reviewing the basics of photography - now I just gotta pratice.

3.  Make sure Andrew sets up the baby-cam and Skype to communicate with friends and family.

4.  Read from my Kindle during the day while breastfeeding.

5.  Learn about and use Apple TV. 

I these are definitely do-able!