Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Working Mom

First of all. Every. Single. Person. told me it would be hard to get back to work. Many people laughed when I said I was only taking four weeks off before returning a few days a week. I listened to these people. I believed them. I shrugged it off and said it had to be done. I would make it work. I would be ok.

And let me tell you. Despite their persistent, unanimous caution, I had NO clue how hard it really would be. Absolutely no sense of what this would feel like.

It is so indescribably hard.

I've cried. I've gotten angry. I've questioned life. I've questioned everything I've ever thought about money, careers and motherhood. And then I started working. And it's gotten better. Not great. Not easy, but better.
And I have to say, I don't even have it that bad. I'm working 2-4 days a week. Most days I'm gone less than 6 hours. So I don't even know what it feels like to be a full time working mom. But this is enough for me to know that I don't want to know what 40 hours a week feels like.

The hardest part to comprehend is that in my mind I know my baby is fine while I'm gone. I know she is sleeping about 70 percent of the time I'm gone. I know she's eating a bottle of my milk with no problem and she is being left with people who love and adore her. But somehow it still breaks my heart and still causes incredible anxiousness.

I remember a friend describing her drive home to me once she'd returned to work after having her daughter (hi K!). She told me she would speed home, and even drive recklessly in an effort to shave off one minute of her commute. She needed to be with her daughter that badly. I remember reading this and truly feeling for her. But somehow it did not compute until I was there: speeding, hoping for green lights, racing to my (sleeping) daughter.

We don't have our child care completely ironed out. For the most part she is with B's mom who does travel a few times a year for long stretches of time. We have a couple of friends who are excited to have her, but since my work schedule is far from predictable, it's really hard to get everyone's schedules together each week. But so far it's working and we're just taking it day by day.

I know soon enough I'll probably feel the need for a break from my child, and will want to be more social as well. But for now, now matter how hard I try to relax, I still find myself rushing home to her each day that I'm gone. I just keep trying to convince myself it will get easier...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmastime is Here

I'm not shy about how excited I get for Christmas. This is an especially exciting year. Our first in this home and our first with our daughter.

E is my favorite new decoration! I just love all the Christmas outfits!

Monday, December 10, 2012


It finally happened. It was week three of E's life with us. I was riding in the back seat with her, B driving. One of our first errands out. As I gazed out the back seat window I realized. Bremy. I hadn't thought of Bremy. It had been a day. I knew it wasn't two days because there had been a conversation about her then. But one day. A whole day had passed where she did not enter my mind. I didn't see her as I drifted off to sleep. Didn't tighten at the thought of her. Didn't swallow and refuse the tears. I'll admit, I never thought this would happen.

I just sat there and stared at E, sleeping peacefully in her car seat. Riding in the car we had bought thinking we'd have a child in it one day. And instead of tears came a smile and a deep breath and a feeling of my heart literally filling. A warmness I'd been yearning for. I didn't feel the huge hole. I didn't feel the brokenness.  My heart was being pieced back together by this beautiful little girl.

There have been several times where we see Bremy in her face. Or stare at her footprints on E's nursery wall. But it's so much less painful now that E is here. Instead of raw pain, there's a certain allowance to the memory. I'm not so sure how to explain it. Almost a feeling of true acceptance of her loss. She's gone and it happened. And now E has happened and somehow that makes the story easier to tell and easier to accept. It also makes it easier to skip a day. To not be consumed by the trauma and sadness. B and I both had some tears a few days ago when we heard a story similar to ours. It was hard to hear of anyone else suffering the way we had. I did cry. But then I stopped. And I felt better. Skipping a day doesn't mean we will forget, or that it will stop hurting, it just means a scar has formed where a gaping hole once was. And that scar feels a lot better.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Two Months Old

It's been so busy around our home lately. I love it, but I'm glad to finally have a moment to sit down and reflect. B and I had a flu bug a couple weeks ago, and it knocked us out for 24 hours, respectively. Luckily E was such a cooperative baby. Not being able to care for her like I'm used to was worse than the flu itself.

 My mom was here for the week before Thanksgiving and then my Dad drove up and joined us for the holiday , along with my brother and his girlfriend. It was so nice having so much help and Ellie soaked up all of the constant attention.

Eloise is now two months old and is still changing so fast! She celebrated her first Halloween  and now first Thanksgiving and Baptism. We had a houseful for Thanksgiving and scheduled the baptism for Saturday to take advantage of my family all being in the same place at once!

Eloise at Two Months:

Weight: 11 pounds 8oz at 10 weeks
Height:   22 inches long
Head:   39 centimeters
Diaper size-We are using size one disposables and are fitting into the smallest setting on our Alva Baby Pockets, Bum Genius Elementals and Bum Genius 4.0s. They are fitting better now that her legs have some chub!

Clothing Size: Now 3-6 months. The 0-3 are very suddenly too short!

Milestones:  Lots of cooing and blabbering and expression. Smiling all the time. Sleeping 9 hours at night consistently! You love to look at yourself in the mirror and like your swing now where you can see yourself in the mirror and smile. 

Events to Remember:   

10/31- First Halloween- you were an Elephant! It was a rainy evening and we didn't get many trick or treaters. We hear this neighborhood doesn't get many. It was our first year in this house so I definitely over-bought in the candy department. You did meet some neighbors who came to the door, but it was a pretty quiet night. 

11/22- First Thanksgiving. We hosted both Grandmas and Grandpas, Uncle T and Auntie S. Lots of food and fun. The weather was perfection. Sunny and warm. We did our traditional 2 turkeys-one deep fried and one baked. Everything was perfectly delicious. You slept right through dinner which was rather nice for Daddy and me!

11/24- Baptism Day. We scheduled this pretty last minute. Your Great-Grandmom was able to get us in at her church for a private baptism. You woke up cranky that morning and were a little fussy through the baptism but we were able to get you calm for some pictures. It was lovely! Your Godmother, Auntie J and her parents were there along with Godfather Uncle T (of course) . We went out to brunch afterwards and had everyone back at the house to hang out and visit. It was a really great day. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

7 Weeks Old

Dear Eloise,

You are now 7 weeks and I'm savoring every moment of this newborn stage. You are changing right before our eyes, and while I cannot wait for your personality to come out, I'm already feeling like it's moving way too fast. You had your first smile a little over a week ago, and daddy and I couldn't have been more excited. We've seen a few more since then, but nothing too consistent. Daddy loves to try to get you to give him a big grin-I don't know how you resist since he's so goofy as he tries!

You are holding your head up really well. I forget that, until people mention it and then I realize that yes-you sure do hold that head up. You love to face us in a sitting up position and also love to lay in your newborn lounger and stare at us, the window and the TV. You seem mesmerized by the TV.

You absolute favorite time, is bath time. You take a bath every night as part of your bedtime routine. Since we realized you love it so much, we make it about 20 minutes long and just let you soak and splash and enjoy. You look so relaxed and peaceful, and you get pretty darn mad when we finally take you out!

I'm starting to read to you, even though you don't seem to notice. We read the whole Eloise book and I was highly amused. I had never read the original and it's pretty funny. I hope you have the same spirit as the character in the book!

Since day one you have been such a good baby. You haven't given me any trouble. From breastfeeding, to sleeping-I just can't complain. You are sleeping through the night thanks to Moms on Call.  You have definitely gotten more fussy during the day in the last three weeks, but are easily calmed. You love to nurse and love your pacifier. I was extremely hesitant to give you a pacifier, but it's worked wonders for the car and other situations where I really need a quiet baby. It hasn't affected our nursing, which is what I was worried about, so I've accepted it. I still don't' let you sleep with it at night, however.

From birth, you have loved your hands. Always flapping them around, touching your face and holding my fingers. Since you were born we've told you I think you are an orchestra director, because that's what it looks like when you are moving those arms back and forth. You still love them and they do find your mouth when you are hungry. No thumb sucking, but I would not be surprised if that happens. You have a strong grip at this point and you love to grab my hair already!   I love, love holding hands with you.
Death Grip on Mama's hair...

You've developed a little rash on your face and neck. I'm worried that you may have a milk allergy. The strange thing is it comes and goes. I've read that this can be common around 6 weeks and no treatment is necessary. I've cut back on dairy to see if that helps. You don't seem bothered by it, but you also don't poop very much so I'm hoping everything is ok. Again, I've read it can be normal for breastfed babies. We'll see what the Dr. says at our check up....I'm finishing this post up at 7 weeks, and your rash is now out of sight. I guess it really was a 6 week thing!

I worked a couple half days this week. The anticipation of working was much worse than actually doing so. Our really good friend S watched you and was so excited about it, that it made it  much easier to leave you with her. I don't think she even put you down while I was away. You took  your bottle like a champ which is another thing I've been worried about. But, in true good baby form, my worries are for naught.

Words cannot describe the joy you bring me each and every day. Even when you cry or fuss, I just think how lucky I am to hear those sounds. Sometimes I still just can't believe you are here. I catch myself stopping at every reflective surface when you are in my arms, because I can't believe that's actually me, holding my own baby.  I absolutely hate leaving you and I know work is going to get busier, but we've just got to take it one day at a time. Your Grandma is coming up this week to help me transition back to work. I know she can't wait to see you.

All my Love,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Newborn Photos

Here are some of my favorites from our session...

Mona Lisa Photography

Sunday, October 28, 2012

One Month Old!

I just have to say this-this month FLEW. I've seen moms write this before, but never, ever understood how fast time could go. I feel like we just left the hospital yesterday. I just can't believe it.

Today Ellie and I went to the Dr. for her one month well check. B is back to work so we were flying solo. I made sure we had plenty of time to get ready this morning, and also scheduled her appointment for a time were she was to be napping. Fully belly. Clean diaper, sleepy girl-it worked out very well. I brought her in her car seat and snapped it into our Maclaren easy traveller stroller  She was an angel for the Dr. and the Dr. agrees that she is a perfect baby.

She is now 9lbs 3oz, up from 7lb 8oz at birth and 7lb4oz at her two week check. She has grown to 21 3/4 inches. She is right around the 50th percentile for both height and weight. I kind of have to laugh because we really thought she'd be a big baby. I'm so glad she's growing and is considered "normal". It really is so fulfilling to know I have a healthy, growing baby!

We are just starting to move out of the newborn clothes. They still fit her around, but the sleepers and onesies are just too short. We've also moved into size one diapers. She's still too small for most of our cloth diapers, but we are making use of the prefolds/covers. I haven't been keeping up with the laundry like I should be, so we're using them about two days a week.

Eloise at One Month:

Weight: 9lbs 3oz
Height: 21.75 inches
Head:   14.29 inches
Diaper size-using up the newborns but mostly size 1 and newborn GMD Prefolds
Clothing Size-just moving out of newborn
Milestones: lots of kicking movements, strong grasp and good eye contact. Lifting head well. Sleeping about 4-6 hours a night and feeding every three hours during the day.
Events to Remember: 10/6/12-Auntie J's 30th birthday was your first trip to San Francisco.
                                     10/21/12-First bottle of mommy's milk fed by Grandma (you took it but were very

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Moms on Call

I'm not sure where I very first heard of the Moms on Call program--several bloggers have raved about it. I finally looked into the program and saw that you should/could start at 2 weeks old.

Eloise at two weeks. Photo by Mona Lisa Photography

For the first two weeks, E was sleeping ok. Some nights for four hours in a row, and some nights waking every hour, on the hour to feed. There was one night where I did feel at my wits end with her. She was so fussy and wanted to feed but was hysterical at the breast and I knew there was just nothing left in there for her. It was rough, but it was just one night. But it made me think to look into the program.

I started out watching their youtube videos, and reading information on blogs and other websites. I wanted to make sure this was something I would follow through and do. Something I believed would work. I was convinced and a few days later I purchased the Moms on Call online seminar. It is a very comprehensive program-and has you schedule your entire day and night, promoting good sleeping and eating habits. They, and the bloggers I've read, advocate that you must follow the program to the T in order for it to work. I was so hesitant. I did not want to let my baby cry at all and also did not want her in her own room. I'd been so paranoid since she was born that she would stop breathing, or spit up and choke. I couldn't imagine not having her bedside.

We finally bought a video monitor and were willing to give it a try. I will admit it has not been easy on me, or B. We felt really guilty for putting our 14 day old, precious baby on a "schedule". I wrestled with it for the first two days, even though it was clearly working. No more waking up every hour at night. She was napping very soundly during the day, and also very alert during the designated "awake" time.

But my mommy heart just felt bad. I wanted to be holding her all day. I wanted to rush to her side at night and feed her. Moms on call says to let them "cry it out" for 3-5 minutes. And those few minutes just felt like an eternity. B could barely stand it, which did not help me at all as I already felt so guilty. But, it worked. She stopped crying on several occasions and put herself back to sleep.

Now that it's been a week, I am feeling much better about it. I do hold her for a nap or two a day to get my snuggle fix in, but when she's in her own room sleeping peacefully for two hours, I am actually able to get things done. I don't feel like I'm just watching the days go by. We've also been able to go to lunch, run to home depot, etc during her nap times because we know she will sleep. (Now that it's been two weeks on the program-I highly recommend it and recommend the monitor we bought-it's been a lifesaver for me).

As for night time, she's improving but still not sleeping through the night. We are getting 5-6 hour stretches which is awesome. I want to buy their book soon to get even more information since I really like their style. I even got some tweets back and forth with Laura, one of the two pediatric nurses who started the program and wrote the book.

I can tell that some of my friends who are veteran moms are skeptical of this program and probably find it humorous, since it's pretty typical of my personality to think I can schedule my baby. But when I got together with the girls last night, and casually mentioned she'd slept 6 hours the night before, and then gone back down for 3, I could tell they couldn't believe it. B has come around and admits it must be good for her because she is getting really good sleep and so are we.

Mona Lisa Photography

I'm not sure how we will have to adjust once both B and I are back at work, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Now, I have to get to work on introducing a bottle to my baby so that I can leave for work in a couple weeks. Again, my mommy heart is so conflicted and sad. I don't want her to be bottle fed. I never, ever thought I would be so sensitive and hard on myself, but all I want is to be with her and not have to worry about real life. Thank goodness E is such a good baby, she hasn't added any degree of conflict, just me.

I started writing this post a week ago, and am just now finishing. E is still doing great on her schedule. We are able to tweak it here and there and she is pretty cooperative. Still not sleeping through the night at 4 weeks, but almost there! I'll update as we progress!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birth Story Continued

There I was, with my little baby girl in my arms, skin to skin on my chest. My OB asked for her name and we told her and she squealed. We'd really managed to keep it a secret!

B began texting everyone and called my parents who were still at our house, 40 minutes away. They could not believe it and were not prepared to drive out so soon. My mom had been a little sad that I didn't want her in the room for the birth. It wasn't that I didn't want her, it was more that I just wanted it to be B and me. She totally understood, as she had wanted and had the same thing with both me and my brother. But she couldn't help but want to be there. So when we called at 7:15 and said, "she's here!" my mom said she couldn't get to the hospital fast enough!

Side note-I'd seen other blogs say to make a call/text list and bring it to the hospital. We did not do that and I regret it. B sent out the majority of the texts, but didn't have everyone's number. I only texted my far away friends. We forgot a couple people and definitely hurt some feelings. Of course they understood that we were not exactly thinking clearly, but especially since SO many of our friends were very much there for us during this pregnancy, we felt so bad that we didn't think to let them know our girl was here safe and sound first thing.

They weighed my girl and I couldn't believe how tiny she was. 7lbs 8oz and 19 inches long. I was shocked. But I had to smile and tell my mom, " I got my 7 pound baby!". I'd said for a few weeks that I'd hoped she was a nice, normal 7lbs. I was over 10 pounds myself so my mom was amused at how excited I was. She replied, "Amy you just got everything you wanted. I can't believe you went into labor on your own".

I was having a hard time believing it myself. I had pretty much given up hope of laboring on my own.

The night before my parents had arrived and we'd gone out to dinner. I was not in the best mood. My parents always get so annoyed with me when I get like this, but I'd warned them before they arrived that I was super emotional and still frustrated with being induced- and did not need a pep talk from them or a reminder that I can't control everything. They were pretty good about it and just tried to keep my spirits up. We watched TV until about 11, I painted my nails with my mom and had gone to bed feeling better. As I crawled into bed that night, I talked to my Grams. I told her I wished she was here and also said, "help me out Grams". I suppose I still had some hope left...
Last Pregnant picture taken 9/21. We went and saw "Trouble with the Curve" that night-might be our last movie for a while!

Ellie instantly snoozed on my chest and my Dr. was still down there cleaning me up. She told me I had a really small tear that she needed to stitch. Despite my total elation, I was still feeling quite a bit of pain and my Dr. could see it in my face. I said, "isn't it supposed to stop hurting?" I was still having pretty bad cramps. She massaged my belly a little and I felt the placenta pass. It was a lot more painful and a lot larger than I'd anticipated. She told me everything looked great and got to stitching. The nurse mentioned my Dr. was the best "seamstress" of all the OBs--good to know!

That part didn't hurt a bit as she numbed me up before she got to sewing. At that point E took to my breast and I was so relieved. Her suckling wasn't very strong but it was nice to know we had made the first step towards breastfeeding.

I'm not sure how much time passed, but we were then sent to another room. I met my post partum nurse and she wheeled me into a room that was already occupied. My eyes got wide-I'd never even thought about the chance of having a roommate. I tried not to pitch a fit as she clunked me past this girl's personal items and showed me my bed. It was the smallest area ever and I was so uncomfortable. The nurse apologized and said they were very full. My OB said she would see what she could do. She kept telling the nurses, "this is my very special patient" I was so happy she was the one to deliver Eloise. My specialists were actually the ones who were very in tune with this pregnancy, but my regular OB has been with me for 7 years and she knew what this baby meant to us. Love her.

My parents and B's parents and Grandma arrived and visited for a couple hours. B left with them to get lunch and E and I drifted off to sleep. They told me not to sleep with her on my chest, but it happened anyway and it was heaven.

The charge nurse came in to introduce herself. She finished her talk with, "is there anything you need?" I looked at her with my best puppy dog eyes and said, "is every bed full? Any chance of my own room?" she didn't give me much hope but said she'd put me on "the list".

My nurse came in with my lunch and once my tray was cleared another nurse came in and said, "is now a good time to move you to your own room?" I could have kissed her.

I felt so good, I popped right out of bed and we gathered my things. I was so thrilled and felt so special. I don't know if it was my Ob's influence or my begging or some combo-but I don't care-there's no way I would have been comfortable in such tight quarters. Luckily I had come prepared with homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to give to my nurses. I handed her the basket and she seemed so surprised. My Grams had always told me you bring homemade treats when you're in the hospital. I'd never done it until now. It worked out perfectly as I knew I'd be there on Monday, and all the nurses seemed very grateful. Several asked me when on earth I'd baked them. Most of them didn't realize I was scheduled to be there. So I just accepted the compliments and was glad they liked them.

We had several visitors that afternoon and evening. E was awesome. So quiet and nursing like a champ. Her latch wasn't perfect, but she was getting something so I was willing to endure the pinch. My nurses helped and by nighttime she was doing a lot better. I developed a couple teeny blisters that looked like blood blisters on my nipples. My nurse told me to rub my own breast milk on them and also use the nipple cream. It helped....but I was still wincing a little bit with each latch. (by day 3-4 that was a thing of the past). Overall I felt amazing. I had zero soreness "down there" and was up walking around and enjoying our visitors. I thought for sure I would feel swollen and tender, but I never did. My recovery this time was so much easier than my recover with Bremy. It's still hard for me to believe that, but I'll take it!

Despite my own room there was no where for B to sleep. I sent him home which was something we didn't anticipate, but I just felt like I wouldn't relax watching him try to sleep in a chair. So it was just me and E for the night. I was extremely glad that the stand-in NFL Referees blew the call in the Green Bay Seattle game-because not only did I get a healthy beautiful daughter that day--but I also won our football pool! I think the nurses were very confused at my interest in the game. But hey, mama's making money over here!

I hardly slept a wink that night. The nurses came in every couple hours and I was instructed to wake up E to feed at those times. She was sleeping so peacefully, but they said it was important for my supply and for her health as she was likely to skip meals to sleep. This was something I hadn't read about and didn't know, so I was thankful for their guidance. They were all very "pro" breastfeeding and really helpful which made it easier.

Soon the sun came up. The nurses asked if I'd want to stay another night. I didn't, but I also didn't want to rush to leave at 11am (the discharge time) so I asked for a "late check out" and took my time before B and my parents arrived. I got a shower in, met the pediatrician who said E was "perfect", managed to put some makeup on and straighten my hair and get dressed into real clothes. I'm so glad I brought my hair dryer and lots of toiletries. It definitely made me feel human.

E passed her hearing test and got her pictures taken. By then my family was there, I ate lunch and then we started packing up my room.

Around 230, it was time to leave! I had anticipated being wheeled out in a wheelchair-but that didn't happen. We just walked out-and the nurse carried my baby? I was caught off guard but it all happened so quick and my nurse was kind of hard to understand, so I didn't ask a lot of questions. I'm so glad my parents were there because they made sure we got lots of leaving the hospital pictures!

Despite feeling like a car seat pro, I had a lot of trouble getting E in the car seat. I had it set way too small/tight and completely forgot how to adjust it in the moment. It was super hot out which added to my confusion and frustration. My dad helped me while B held E in the a/c and my mom took pictures. We finally got it together and we were on the road.

It was just me, E and B in our car and as we pulled out of the hospital parking lot, B reached his hand back for me to hold and said, "We finally have everything we wanted, but I can't help but think of Bremy" I was having the exact same thought and burst into tears for the first time since E was born. He seemed startled by my insta-tears and tried to calm me down. I looked down at E and felt such intense emotions. I'd been to the hospital twice weekly for testing, my specialists office was across the street--I'd driven out of this neighborhood many, many times-but suddenly it was like we were leaving without Bremy all over again. Luckily, my sadness dissipated by the time we hit the first stop light. E was sleeping so peacefully and even though that hole in my heart was still there, my heart was more full than it had ever, ever been. I put my chin down on her car seat and tried not to blink. I just could not take my eyes off of our precious girl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Eloise,

Dear Eloise,

At this moment you are laying on your tummy on the left side of my chest. I can hear your little breaths and every so often your tiny hands tug at my neck and melt my heart. When you are in this cozy position the top of your head gets covered in kisses and my nose seems to find your head every few minutes. Your smell is intoxicating and I can only take it in with eyes closed.

With the exception of two fussy days (where you didn't go poo) you have been such an easy going baby. No one can get enough of you and I don't think you've been anywhere but someone's arms for 90% of your life. But when we do put you down you are still happy as can be.

You are feeding well, sometimes too often for mama to keep up! Now that you are two weeks old we're going to put you on more of a schedule, so we will see how that works out. 

Last weekend was a busy one for you. We went to San Francisco to celebrate your Auntie J's 30th birthday. I was so nervous to take you anywhere so early. We went early to visit and left as soon as the party started. Mommy and Daddy were both unable to relax with you there, even though you slept the entire time and were on your best behavior. You are still so little! 

The next morning we had your first photo shoot. We were lucky enough to meet this photographer at a party and we just love her. Seeing her with you was magic. She was so good with you and you cooperated really well! The pictures look amazing. I was trying to hide my emotions at the shoot, I was just so overwhelmed with happiness. It still feels unreal. I can't' believe you are mine. Ours. 

After our shoot we went to your Nana's for a small family gathering with your Daddy's side of the family. It was very relaxed and you slept the entire time. We took lots of pictures and headed home to watch football just the three of us. We were surprised to have Daddy's best friend and wife come visit and watch with us. They are our great friends so we just completely lounged with them and ordered some pizza that night. It was lovely. 

You are still such a sleepy girl, but I love when you open your eyes and "dance" for us. You wiggle your arms and legs and coo a little bit and I can't take my eyes off of you. I just can't get enough of everything you do. 

Daddy loves you so much and has been home with us since you were born. He loves to hold you, sing to you and yesterday, as I came out from a shower and getting dressed I caught him dancing for you as you stared at him in your bouncy seat. He was making breakfast and apparently keeping you very entertained. Talk about melting my heart! 

Ellie, you are so wanted and so loved and so many are so happy you are here. I hope you continue to be a happy, healthy little girl. I hardly remember how we lived without you. 

All my love, 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Eloise's Birth Story

I lit up my phone to check the time. 4:08am. I nestled back into bed, thinking-ok two more hours til I have to get up to prepare to be induced. I had big plans of hair and makeup, lotion, shave and some pictures before we took off for the hospital. While I really didn't want to be induced, I was going to take advantage of the perks of knowing when my baby would be born.

As I found a comfortable position to sleep away the next two hours, I heard a pop. I froze. Was that my hip popping, or had my water broken? I got up and felt some fluid. Not a lot, but enough to hurry to the toilet. I took a deep breath and almost instantly felt a very sharp pain.

I could hear my mom had woken up and was letting her dog out (my parents were staying with us in anticipation of the induction), so I made my way to the family room where I felt another sharp pain. We both smiled--this is happening! I thought I had plenty of time, but the pain was pretty bad, so I got into the shower. I started timing the contractions on my phone. The shower really helped ease the pain-but the contractions were coming pretty quick and seemed to be picking up.

As I attempted to do my makeup, I saw that they were almost three minutes apart. I opened the bathroom door and woke up B. "It's happening. We have to go!" I told him. He popped out of bed SO quick and practically put his shoes on. I told him I thought he had time to take a shower.

Once he was out I was in severe pain. Moaning and groaning a lot. Contractions were now less than three minutes apart and  I wondered if we'd make it to the hospital.

I kept avoiding getting into the car. B had it running and had grabbed some water. Everything else was already packed and ready in the car thank goodness. I reluctantly climbed in, placing a folded beach towel over my seat--I had a feeling more fluid was coming (and I would be right).

At this point it was after 6am and we had a 40 minute ride to the hospital. We had moved at the beginning of my pregnancy but I wanted to continue seeing me Dr. and also wanted to deliver at the hospital with the best NICU available. By the time I made it to full term I didn't want to deal with switching.

At this moment I was regretting that decision. I was dreading this car ride and had no idea how I'd make it through.

B drove like a crazy person, and in between contractions I almost laughed thinking about the post I'd written in tears on Saturday night. I'd wanted this car ride. I'd wanted these feelings. Despite the pain, I kept saying out loud "this is a good thing". I quickly instructed B not to say one word. I've never liked being "encouraged" when struggling with something. I don't like being cheered on. I turned the radio completely off and the air conditioner all the way up. I almost broke the handle above the door I was pulling it so hard. I kept banging on the floorboards, the center console. They were so close. Almost two minutes now. The "relief" was hard to come by at this point.

Once on the freeway I rolled down the window. You know when people smack themselves in the face to avoid some other source of pain? This was my version.  The shock of the cool hard air distracted me just enough. I could barely breath and the forced air felt good. I'd roll it up and look at B. He just stared straight ahead with such focus.

Finally at the hospital, I insisted on parking and walking. Getting out of the car felt glorious. I moaned and groaned all the way down the hall, no one paying me much attention. Once at the labor and delivery desk ( I had manged to call and tell them I was coming and would NOT need my induction) I could not even give the nurse my name. They very quickly got me in a room.

I immediately didn't like my nurse. She seemed alarmed at my level of hysteria and was moving fast. All I wanted to do was sit on the toilet-so I did. She brought me a gown as I rocked back and forth, honestly wanting to pull out my hair. She asked me a bunch of questions and I shouted the answers back very quickly. She had the worst coffee breath and I wanted to tell her. Somehow I resisted.

 I was still about two minutes apart. She asked me to sit in the bed where she checked me and told me I was at a 6. Once she started on another task I got right back up. Lying down was the last position I wanted to be in. I went right back to the toilet.

They asked if I wanted to get an epidural and I hesitated  I was at a 6, this was more than half way over, but if it took much longer I felt like I was going to die. B stepped in and said, "Get it now!" he was in such agony watching me in so much pain. The nurse said if I wanted it, I needed to let her know right now. So I told her to get the anesthesiologist on stand by. I knew in my head it wouldn't be much longer until I was at 10cm, but I wasn't totally sure (after all, what do I know). What I did know is that it takes a minute, or 10 to get the Dr. in for the epidural.

I could tell B was getting flustered. We are both very big rule followers and normally follow instructions very well. I know he was shocked to see me doing whatever I wanted. The nurse asked me to come back, they needed to get a heartbeat on the baby and needed to start an IV for me. I went back but at this point there was zero relief between contractions. I was twisting and turning like a tied hog. She couldn't get the IV started (an issue I have every time) so they called another nurse in. I instantly liked her. She took total control of the room and was forceful enough to where I did listen to her. She checked me herself and told me I was at an 8. "I can't do this!" I pleaded, panting for air. She told me I could. She told me I was in transition, that this was the hardest part. That made me feel so much better. I knew it was almost over.

Just then, the anesthesiologist walked in. I was shocked. He was there quick. My head was saying no, but my body was saying yes. And so was B. The Dr. asked me a few questions and I was barely able to talk with him. I was practically climbing the walls at this point. The monitors were not staying put, my IV was barely hanging on and the nurses were getting pissed.

"Amy, if we cannot establish fetal heart tones, we will have to use an electrode and put it in your baby's head". I screamed back "noooo" I had just read about this and knew I didn't want it. I used every ounce of self control to stay still. B helped hold the monitor and we heard her heart.

Dr. Epidural was still standing in the wings waiting for my answer. I looked at my preferred nurse and said, "I'm pushing!" It was the craziest feeling in the entire world. I could feel her moving lower and felt this intense reflex. Not a feeling of needing to push, but a reflex to push. The only thing I can compare it to is throwing up. Yep, it was like barfing out of my lady parts. There was no stopping it. It was out of my control. My nurse managed to check me and confirmed I was at 10cm. They called my Dr. and pulled my legs up.

Understand that I was a loud, moaning, panting woman the entire time I was in the hospital  There was nothing ladylike about the first thirty minutes of my laboring there. But the next five minutes were a whole 'nother level. I closed my eyes and let out the worst screams I'd ever heard. They were half scream half groan and they were 100% primal.  I have no idea what happened in those next few minutes. All I know is I pushed, they told me they could see the head and I screamed back, "I knoooooow" (I could feel everything people!). Then they told me to slow down or I'd tear, and I did my best to do that. I know that when I opened my eyes I saw my OB, and then, I saw her holding my baby. I believe it was three pushes total, but I'm telling you I would have had her out in one if they'd let me. Trying to stop or slow down was completely unnatural.

And then, they handed me my daughter. My full sized, alive and well baby. And suddenly no one else was in the room but her. I didn't cry. I didn't say much. I just stared.

 Time elapsed since arriving at the hospital? Forty two minutes. I was in total shock my baby was here!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Three Years

Today is our 3rd Anniversary.  I spent it with my husband and my daughter. And I can't think of any better way!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our First Week with Eloise

This has been the fastest week of my life by far. So far E is a dream baby. Life feels so incredibly complete and I have to admit I get a little teary each day just thinking how lucky we are to have this beautiful life.

We are adjusting to life at home rather well. My mom just left today. Having her here was awesome. She took care of the house while I just stared at E and loved on her all day long. We will miss having that extra set of hands, but I think we're settling into some type of groove. Or at least getting used to all of the changes.

 Gifts from E's Great Grandparents. Love her first Eloise book!

 So far breastfeeding is going well. We see the Dr. in the morning to make sure she's gaining weight. It took about two days for her to really get the hang of latching on, but we're getting to be old pros now. The first three days I'd have to wake her every two to three hours to feed, but she's waking up on her own now to let me know she's hungry. Getting up every couple hours to nurse has taken some getting used to, but we're getting by with the help of a big afternoon nap each day.

On day four we noticed she was a little jaundiced. The Dr. ordered blood work and her levels were high enough to where we needed to go back the next day for more blood work. Watching your baby get pricked is not fun. The first day was much worse than the second, but thankfully we didn't need to go back--her levels were fine.

Her cord stump fell off just in time for Grandma to give E her first real bath. She wasn't too fond of it, but calmed down quick once wrapped in her cute little hooded towel.

So far we haven't needed much in the way of baby products. We're doing disposables for now, as we were gifted quite a few. I'm loving my comfy glider and also really love by Brest Friend nursing pillow. We're now using the boppy newborn lounger on our laps so we can look into E's beautiful eyes, but this child hasn't touched a "hard" surface other than her bed since she was born. I just can't seem to put her down. And there always seems to be a willing set of arms to take her when I have to be doing something else.

We also busted out the Moby wrap and we all love it. Even B put it on (with my help) for a walk around the block.

Our spoiled dog Maverick is having a pretty tough time adjusting. He will not leave my side and goes crazy any time the baby makes a peep. He kept me up the first night but has gotten better with each day. He just seems so confused and upset. No one in our family is surprised as he was the king of this household before Miss Eloise arrived. We just hope he comes around and loves her as much as we do!

Birth story coming soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Baby Girl is Here!

Miss Eloise arrived on September 24th, at 7:12am. She's 7lbs8oz over pure love! 19 inches long. I cannot wait to share our birth story, especially since I did NOT end up being induced and had this baby on my own, naturally. Still can't quite believe how it all turned out.  We are absolutely over the moon! Her nickname is Ellie. We've been calling her both...amongst other pet names, of course!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Controlling the Uncontrolable

On Thursday I saw my OB and learned that I'd made some slight progress since my last appointment with her. I was 2.5 cm (barely) and between 80-90 percent effaced. She "swept" my membranes in an effort to get labor going, and then asked me to whip out my calendar and schedule my induction.

She had told me about this possibility since day one. I have gestational diabetes and she would induce at 39 weeks. I'd heard it, but I'd never, ever really processed it, as in my mind, I would never see 39 weeks in this pregnancy.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to stomp my feet. But I didn't. I came in a little on the offensive that day. Ready to argue over the induction. Ready to refuse. I think my Dr. was startled at my defiance. She refuted the "information" I was presenting about increased c-section rates and harm to the baby and calmly explained how the induction works and why it's medically necessary.

I again argued that my gestational diabetes was completely in control and that the baby was not measuring large. She said her concern was my placenta. GD patient's placentas aren't as functioning as non GD moms and there is a higher risk of still birth beyond 39 weeks.

I argued that my non stress tests, meant to observe my placental efficiency were all passed in the minimum amount of time. Never once raising an eyebrow. She said that didn't really matter. The testing was only done to see if I needed to be induced sooner than later and was done twice a week because the passing of the tests "expired" after a few days.

I could tell she was getting a little defensive, I've been seeing this woman for 7 years, and I know she'd never seen me like this and she was surprised. I told her I trusted her and that after what I've gone through, with losing a baby, I didn't want to go against her advice. I leveled with her and explained that I just felt like this whole pregnancy was abnormal-and the one thing I wanted was a "normal" birth. I acknowledge there's no such thing-they are all different. But the whole-"it's time" moment, the laboring at home, the drive to the hospital-the will we make it? The craziness of it all was what I wanted. I wanted to feel like a normal pregannt woman.

I told her I was in no rush to have the baby. I'm not uncomfortable. I'm not tired of being pregnant. This last month has been the best month so far, as I feel like I can live a normal life and the worry and anxiety over a preemie has been lifted. I want my last week!

She said Monday. I twisted my head hastily and took a defiant breath. She just stared at me-right in the eye and said it was for the best. I begged for Wednesday-give me until then. But she repeated, Monday.

"I wouldnt' be surprised if you are in labor on your own by then. Don't stress". I realized she could be right. I still had a chance. A short window-but it was there. I hoped her "vigorous" exam was enough to get things going and I signed my induction papers for her.

I had my last non stress test right after that appointment and since I was early, I took the opportunity to "run" up 6 flights of stairs, in an effort to get things going. Unfortunately that created nothing more than a heaving chest and sweaty back. Almost every old wives tale has been attempted at this point.

Now it's Saturday night. Almost Sunday morning and I haven't a hint of labor. I made the mistake of reading more about inductions and more about the risks it brings to the baby, to me and more about the risk of cesarean. Now I can't sleep. Now I feel frustrated.

What a lesson this all has been for me. I don't entirely cast myself as "type A" but I do like order and I do like being in control. I've never felt more out of control as I have for the past year. I do know in my heart that the only thing that matters is a healthy baby in the end. I know that. But, man, it's hard not to want what you want.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gender Reveal Parties

I will admit that when I first heard of the gender reveal party-I thought it was the cutest idea ever. And then I watched one on video. And I thought, who in the hell would want to come to this party other than our parents and maybe like two curious friends? Do you bring a gift? Do you make your husband wear pink of blue? It all started to just seem strange and even a little narcissistic....

These parties now seem really popular, although I've never personally been invited to one.

I had a conversation about them with a friend and we were both laughing at how cute we initially thought they were, until we realized how odd it would be in reality. Then she sent me this article, and I laughed...a lot!

What do you think? Honestly, if you had one or have been to one and it was great more power to you. I think the idea is super cute. I just can't imagine it for myself.

On Becoming a Mom

No baby yet. I see the Dr. today to see where I'm at.

I'm starting to get a little anxious about being a mom. After what we've been through, this pregnancy was so incredibly wanted and this baby was prayed for so much, I never had a chance to worry about the whole "we're having a real life baby" thing. Now, as I'm nearing 39 weeks of pregnancy, I'm starting to realize this is actually happening and I have no idea what I'm doing. I realize I'm entering a new chapter of life that really has no end. It's intimidating and it's still shocking, even though it's been such a long road of anticipation.

These are the thoughts I have now: Will I be a good mom? Do I even realize what I'm getting myself into? Will I be a grumpy, mean mom? Will my daughter be a terror? Will we get along later in life? Will being a mom fulfill me?

The last question really had me thinking. I can remember being in college and meeting a girl on my dorm floor. She was severely anorexic and very unhappy at school. She was from a town not far from mine and we carpooled home once and spent a few times together before she dropped out of school. One evening we were on a walk around campus and she was contemplating leaving. I remember not being able to understand her at all. We were so different-- from our eating habits, to our goals. I kept questioning what she'd do if she left school. Where would she go? I was so goal orientated at that point in my life that I couldn't imagine giving up and just going home. She told me she didn't care about school. That all she wanted to be was a mom.

I cannot describe the level of surprise I felt when she said that. My forehead surely crinkled and my eyes probably rolled. What? A mom? We're 19, what are you talking about? She stood by her statement and said, she wasn't concerned about a job or a major but just wanted to meet someone, get married and become a mom. That was her life's goal.

I've never forgotten the conversation and as I grew older I met many more women who seemed to just be waiting out their early twenties in anticipation of a family life. Now I know and am good friends with many moms. I know a lot of stay at home moms. And they really are so fulfilled by motherhood. It's their life. I will admit I was slightly judgy of this when I first met them. I can remember thinking, "Don't they have a life?" I realize now it's just something you can't understand until you are there.  I started to understand it more as I fell in love with B, and wanted to spend all of my time with him. But, I still held on to other aspirations and saw having a family as a known "right" that I would get to eventually. It wasn't a goal, it wasn't an aspiration, it was just something I knew would happen and was waiting to want.

I'm glad that the time came where I did want it desperately, and as you know my sense of entitlement to a child was turned on it's head as I birthed a lifeless baby and saw all of my hopes and dreams crumble around  me. It wasn't until then that I saw what a privilege motherhood was and how scary it all really is. It wasn't until after Bremy left us that I realized how little my life felt in comparison to her. Having a baby may not be getting into a good school or doing well on exams, or landing a dream job, but it was a sense of accomplishment that was too unique to describe. And I felt it stolen from me. And now it seems I could want nothing more.

I'm glad I had time to write this post before our daughter is here, because I can't wait to see how I feel once I'm actually a mom. For all of the friends I have who are amazing moms and who feel such self fulfillment in their roles, I have a few who don't. Everyone struggles, being a mom is no joke, but I know a couple friends who don't seem to find the same level of joy in mothering as my other friends. It's a hard thing to write and I don't mean to judge-it's something we've talked about, but it's just reality. I'm curious to see where I fall in that spectrum. Right now I can't imagine my daughter not being the center of my universe and the biggest dream come true for me, but that's a big statement. And frankly, a lot of pressure.

This may be a whole different post, but there's also a certain pressure I feel to be so grateful for my daughter that I couldn't possibly complain about being a mom. People tell me that's silly, but it's the truth and I will admit to thinking that of others who struggled with infertility, etc. I guess I think that of a lot of moms. The complaining gets old (again, glad I'm writing this now so I can yell at myself later as I deal with all of the inconveniences of motherhood and need to vent).

I'll tell you that I am so incredibly glad that I feel so great right now and am not struggling with the last weeks of my pregnancy. I really didn't want to end up complaining about being "ready", when all I ever wanted was to be this pregnant. The truth is I feel amazing and at this point am in no rush whatsoever (other than to avoid inducement). I'm very thankful for this time. I'm on cloud nine right now and everyone around me can tell that I'm just in the best mood.

Luckily these motherhood fears aren't overwhelming me, they are just little thoughts that creep into my head as I see a mom wrestle her toddler out of a shopping cart, or stop and stare at the little girl screaming at a restaurant. That will be my child and I'll figure it out. I think it's only natural to have these thoughts. This post was hard to write, but I wanted to get it up before she's here. I cannot wait to hold my baby girl and I can't wait to be her mom.

Monday, September 17, 2012

37 Weeks!

How Far Along: 37 Weeks complete which means I turn 38 today. Is this reality?

Size of Baby as Relative to Common Household Fruit or Vegetable: Baby is the length of a swiss chard-about 19 inches and is about 6 1/3 pounds. 

Weight Gain:  30 lbs!----ugh!

Gender: Sweet little girl

Movement: lots of movement this weekend. Hiccups, little punches and kicks-but mostly little movements that I picture as nestling movements. 

Sleep:  Still sleeping well. Hard to believe but I'll take it!

What I miss: Nothing I can think of
Cravings: As always, sweets!

Symptoms: My swelling is down. Nothing new to report. 
Best moment of the week: My parents were here this weekend while B had to be away on a "business" trip. I use the term business lightly as it was really more of a fun trip. I was a nervous wreck-but we made it through and my parents were here to babysit me. My mom got to attend a Dr appointment and that was very special. She heard the heartbeat and stood by as my OB violated my cervix. It wasn't that bad, I just wasn't prepared for the vigorous check. Apparently she was trying to get things moving. She said I was "barely" 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Hoping that means she's coming soon. We are ready and holding on to hope that I wont be induced. 
Worst moment of the week: Nothing too bad. I guess you could say the cervical check was not pleasant!

Again, I cannot believe I am still pregnant. I am so grateful for this time and have been in the best mood. I love being able to run errands, make dinner and clean my house. I wasn't the best at "taking it easy" but always felt so much guilt for doing any of the above mentioned activities so being "allowed" is really refreshing. I feel absolutely amazing and if it weren't for the fear I have of being induced, I would be in no rush to have this baby. 

I've been walking and trying to get things moving a little bit. Lost my mucous plug last night. Thought about not sharing, but this is my pregnancy journal so documenting it is important to me. The Dr. had assumed I'd already lost it at my appointment, so it was a little bit of a surprise. I hear it doesn't mean much as far as when labor will start, but I like the idea that it's just another step closer!

So many friends are anxiously awaiting the word that baby girl is on her way. I don't think anyone can believe I'm still pregnant!