Dear Pregnant Self

Last year, during Christmas, we announced to our families that we were expecting a baby.  I had just taken a pregnancy test a few days before and was shocked with the results.  It was a little earlier than planned and I was nervous/scared that we weren’t ready for this and all the changes that come along with a baby.  I realize now that it was silly to feel that way.  My pregnancy went by so quickly (even though at the end I thought it was never going to end) and looking back there are some things that I wish someone would’ve told me.
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Dear Pregnant Self-
I know this isn’t in the intial life plans right now, but remember that God’s plans are always greater than our own.  As you go about the next 9 months try to always keep these things in the back of your head:
It is totally normal to feel scared, freaked out etc…This is all brand new to you and it’s the fear of the unknown.  You can read as many baby books as you want (or don’t read them at all), nothing will prepare you for motherhood the way having a newborn will…and guess what? You’ll know exactly what to do.
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When pregnant and given the option, always choose sleep.  The dog can wait to be walked, the gym workout can be done at a later time, the laundry can wait to be folded.  Sleep is your friend in the early months of pregnancy.  You’re tired all the time anyway…go with it.  Your body is truly telling you to rest before you can’t anymore.  When you’re at your biggest and sleeping on your stomach is no longer an option and that little baby decides she wants to put her feet in your ribcage at 1am, you will have wished you chose sleep.  Not to mention all the late night visits to the bathroom.
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You’re going to gain weight.  There’s no way around this.  This is actually a GOOD thing.  It means that your little baby is getting healthier and stronger.  You can continue to remain as active as you want-this will actually help offset the fatigue.  The number on the scale doesn’t define who you are and your baby isn’t going to care how much you weigh.  And the good news?  You will lose a lot of this weight shortly after delivery.
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You’re not a celebrity so don’t hold yourself to such standards.  The “baby weight” will not fall off overnight And THAT’S OKAY.  In real life, there are no nannies, personal chefs or trainers.  It’s just you, that baby and your husband.
Labor.  It will be intense.  It will be fast.  Physically, it will be the hardest thing you ever do.  But it will be worth 110% worth it.

before things really started to kick offYou think you love that baby now?  Oh man just you wait.  Words can’t even describe-so I’m not going to try.  There is no love like the love you have for your child.  Once that baby is born, you will finally understand the true meaning of “unconditional love”.  It’s a different kind of love than what you have for anyone else-even your husband…

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 Speaking of the love for your husband.  It will triple once you see him become a father to your baby girl.  You will see a whole new side of him and it will make you fall in love all over again.
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Remember that these next 9 months go by fast so cherish every single moment.  Both the good and the bad.  Remember at the end when all you wanted is for the baby to just come out?  After the baby has arrived, you will be in the grocery store, see a pregnant lady and say to yourself, “I miss that.”  Just you wait.

A Fast & Furious Birth Story {Part 2}

Missed part 1? Catch up *here*!

I stood there for a minute. I wasn’t sure if the pop I felt was gas, the baby moving, or my water breaking, until I felt and saw the water start to pour out of me. I took a deep breath and said, “Okay, this is really happening.” I grabbed a towel from our hallway closet, put it between my legs and started walking around the house getting stuff ready to go. LC called into work and then called my mom. I called our doctor’s office which directed me the 24 hour line. In about a half hour, we were out the door and on our way to the hospital.

While we were in the car, my doctor called us back and asked what was going on. I told her that my water had broken about 9 p.m. and that we were now on our way to the hospital. She asked if I was having contractions yet at this point and I said no. She told me that once I got to the hospital and they started antibiotics (because I tested pos. for Strep B at a previous appointment), she wanted me to get some rest because I had a “long night ahead of me.”

After I hung up with her I had my first contraction. Nothing unbearable, it felt like strong period cramps. I got on my phone and started timing them with an app. This one had lasted about 30 seconds…and four minutes later I had another one lasting about 30 seconds. It took us about a half hour total to get to the hospital in which I was able to time 6 contractions.

I told hubs to just drop me off at the door and meet me in the room. I got out of the car and a huge gush of water came pour out. My mom and my sister were already at the hospital waiting for us. As I came through the door with now a soak towel between my legs, water dripping down me, I see my mom start to raise her phone to take a picture. I said to her, “Don’t even think about it.”

I met the nurse at the desk, told her who I was and gave her my updated insurance information. We had pre-registered at the hospital a few months back but my insurance info had changed slightly since then. I highly recommend pre-registering at the hospital because the last thing you want to do when you’re in labor is fill out paperwork. They got me into a room and had me change out of my clothes and into a hospital gown. I told the nurse that I had tested positive for Strep B and that they needed to start antibiotics right away. She told me that they first had to run some tests to make sure that the liquid coming out of me was actually amniotic fluid…

Once all THREE tests came back positive that it was indeed amniotic fluid (what else could it possibly be?) they hooked me up to the monitors to start looking at my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. The baby handled every contraction beautifully. Around 11:30 pm they finally started the IV for antibiotics. At this point my contractions were coming about every 2-3 minutes. The nurse checked me and I was only 2 cm dilated and about 70% effaced.

before things really started to kick off

The IV took a while to get in and I never anticipated how much that part would actually hurt. It was really hard for me to sit still through the contractions. The nurse tried to start one in each of my hands and failed. She then called then nurse aesthetician to come help and she finally got the IV started in the underpart of my forearm. At this point the contractions were getting really strong and were not letting up as far as timing went. There was no time for me to rest in between contractions like the doctor and I had anticipated. As I was having contractions, all I wanted to do was move around. To sit in that bed and let the antibiotics come through was the worst part of my active labor phase. There was a point where my mom and hubs were laughing about something that was on TV and I barked to them through my contraction, “Can we please keep the talking and joking to a minimum? I’d like it quiet in here.” It took a lot of concentration to try to just breath and relax through each one. At about midnight, I had had enough. I was tired, I was throwing up, I was feeling defeated and all I wanted was to sleep. I felt that if I had to continue on like this for hours, that I wouldn’t have the strength at the end to push the baby out. The nurse came in and I said, either get me into the shower, the birthing tub or get me an epidural because I can’t deal with these contractions anymore. Once one contraction would subside, another one would start back up again. It was like a wave crashing into my body in which I just tried to relax and breath. I visualized that with each one, it was just bringing me closer to meeting our baby and one less contraction I’ll ever have again.

She called our doctor and told her how I was feeling. Once the doctor heard that I was asking for pain medication, she told the nurse to start filling the labor tub and she was on her way. Doctor Koch arrived at around midnight and by 12:45 am, once the antibiotics were through, I was in the tub. The contractions felt so much better. I could still feel them but they became tolerable again. The only position that felt good for me was either sitting up or being bent over on my knees with my arms draped over the side of the tub. At that point the doctor checked me and I was at 4cm about 80% effaced. Hubs was absolutely amazing through the whole thing. Through each contraction he told me to relax, squeezed my hips and rubbed my back. The hip squeeze was such a relief. I had even managed to fall asleep for a few minutes while I was in there. As time went on, the contractions got stronger and closer together back to the point where they were unbearable again.

I remember saying, “I can’t do this anymore, I just want to go to sleep.” The doctor reminded me that I am doing it and to just relax. I just wanted it to be over. At this point I told hubs that I needed positive reinforcement because I was “ready to quit”. They told me that I was doing an awesome job. A few minutes later had my first urge to push. The doctor told me to listen to my body and to go with it. After a few pushes I was begging her for it to just be over. She checked me again at 3 am and said, “Um, we need to get out right now because you’re at 10cm and it’s time to push.” The best thing I had heard that night. With that news, I got my second wave of energy and the adrenaline was flowing, it was time to meet our baby. Before I got out, she had me reach up and touch the baby’s head. “You feel that hard thing right there, that’s your baby’s head!” This was actually happening and I was more than ready to push this baby out.

They got me into a wheel chair and wheeled me back into my room. Outside in the hallway sat my sister. She looked at me and told me, “Good luck! I know you’ll do great!” I remember thinking she looked so comfortable there wrapped up in her blanket with her pajama pants :-) Just one of those moments you don’t forget.

Once I got back into my room, Dr. Koch told me to get how I was in the tub. The traditional “on your back or side” labor position was not comfortable for me so she didn’t want me to push in that position. I got on the bed and was on my hands and knees. I then draped my arms over the top of the bed and LC stood in front of me, holding my hand. I looked at him and waited for the next contraction and with that I pushed my little heart out.

To push felt like a relief. I screamed but it really didn’t hurt, I was just using all the energy I had left in my body. After a few pushes, Dr. Koch told me to stop screaming and to use that energy in my pushing. She kept putting warm compresses on me so that it wouldn’t burn so much and she instructed me to push, take a little breath and push again. At that point I remember thinking, I am so happy that I kept doing planks and working out throughout my pregnancy because I was using so much of my core muscles to get this little munchkin out. Once I figured out how to push effectively, things moved along a little bit faster. A half hour later, Dr. Koch motioned LC to come see the baby come out and to announce the sex of the baby. I knew it had to be close so with that last contraction I pushed with all my might and felt a HUGE relief! I heard my mom start to cry and then heard LC whispering to the doctor asking if it was a girl or boy. Because of the way I delivered the baby came out butt up so he couldn’t see anything. He came back over to me and said, “It’s a girl”. And with that I let out a little sound of joy as I heard her first cry. The doctor put her skin to skin with me on my back because I was still on my hands and knees at this point. A few minutes later I was able to turn over and there she was. Wide eyed and absolutely perfect. At 3:29 am, I gave birth to the most perfect baby: 7 lbs 13 oz, 19 1/2 inches long.

From the time my water broke, I was in labor for a total of 6 1/2 hours. It was extremely fast for a first time mom and very intense. I obviously don’t know which way I would’ve preferred since this was my first birthing experience. Part of me wished I would’ve had more time in between contractions to rest and get some sleep but another part of me was happy that it was so short despite how intense it was.

Either way, I was lucky enough to have the labor and delivery that I wanted. It was completely natural & 10 minutes later, she had latched on. Everything worked out the way I would’ve liked except for the fact that my water broke at home and because my labor went so fast, they weren’t able to give me the second round of antibiotics for the group strep B. But our baby girl is healthy and happy and at the end of the day this that’s all that mattered to me.

Welcome to the world baby Madelyn, we are blessed beyond words to have you in our lives.

39 Weeks- A Fast & Furious Birth Story {Part 1}

They say that the labor with your first pregnancy is usually the longest.  If that is indeed true, I will have to make sure that we live next door to a hospital for next time. (I apologize in advance if this post is TMI for you)

after our 1st night home…it was a long one.

Since about week 36, I had been feeling very light cramping.  By week 37, the cramping started to get a little bit stronger and it felt like I was getting my period soon.  It was so inconsistent and sporadic that it was nothing I could time or anything to get excited about.  If anything it was more annoying because it was just uncomfortable.  At my 37 week check up, I had my doctor check me to see if I had progressed any.  I was 1cm dilated and 50% effaced.  We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around State Fair and I thought for sure that would help bring the baby.

At my week 38 appointment, we still had no baby and I had no desire on getting checked again.  I knew that if I was still sitting at 1 cm and 50% dilated, I probably would’ve cried.  Instead I asked the doctor if there was anything we could do to speed things up because I was getting really uncomfortable.  She told me to stay active with walks and that if I was still pregnant by my 39 week appointment, she would sweep my membranes to help get things started.  She explained to me that if I was ready to go into labor the prostaglandins that get released during the membrane sweep could help start labor.  I heard the word, prostaglandins and my ears perked up.  When we got back to the car I turned to hubs and said, “You know what else has prostaglandins in it?”  He just looked at me.  I had tried everything but sex until that week to try to help move things along.  This was Monday and Tuesday…

By Wednesday, I had started to experience some early labor symptoms like textbook.  Everything was happening BUT regular contractions.  Thursday afternoon I went to the bathroom and when I wiped, there was a little pink tinge on the toilet paper.  I also had an increase of discharge which was something new.  I began to worry that maybe my water broke and I was one of those people with a slow leak who aren’t really sure if they peed themselves or if it was amniotic fluid.  To ere on the side of caution, I decided to call the doctor to let her know what was going on.  She told me to stay put and keep an eye on it for about an hour or so.  If my water did have a slow leak in it, it would be consistent and if that was the case to call her back.

I went home and took a little nap.  I knew that it couldn’t be long until I went into labor and decided to get all the rest I could.  I woke up, went to the bathroom and there was nothing.  Discouraged, I started to clean and make dinner for hubs and myself.  I told him what was going on and said that I think our baby is coming this weekend.  He asked if he should take off of work that night and I said, “No, nothing’s happening tonight.  If it does I’ll call you.”

Hubs was busy getting ready for work and at about 9pm, I got up from the couch to give him a kiss and say goodbye.  After I hugged him, he turned to walk out the door, “Wait…I think my water just broke.”

To be Continued…

38.5 Weeks-A Nursery Tour

On Saturday, I reached the 38 week mark.  Nothing really new to share on the pregnancy front except I feel like baby’s dropped even more and I’m a little bit more uncomfortable.  I had a doctor’s appointment today and she confirmed that the baby has indeed dropped (not just my imagination) and she also said that this will hopefully shorten the time I have to push since baby’s so far down-music to my ears! She asked me if I wanted to get checked and I declined.  I didn’t see what difference it would make to know whether or not I’m even more dilated or effaced, that has no indication as to when labor is going to start.  She mentioned that if I make it to my next appointment, she will check me and sweep my membranes to hopefully help things along.  I definitely want to do whatever I can to keep from going overdue and having my labor start via pitocin.  She also estimated little baby to weigh between 8-8.5 lbs!  I’m definitely ready for you baby, I think you’ve grown enough in there :-)

On Tuesday, we FINALLY completed our nursery.  I love everything about how it turned out.  It’s exactly what I had imagined for a gender neutral baby room.

A lot of the projects in the room were DIY projects inspired by things I found on Etsy and Pinterest.  The color scheme is one that I came across by accident.  I originally had planned for a grey and yellow nursery, but when we were at the paint store, I picked up a mint green paint sample just for fun.  I came home, held it up to the wall and I LOVED it.

This little project I came across on Etsy.  The seller was charing $48 for a pack of three.  I thought that I could easily do this and I was right.  I created the prints in Microsoft Word and printed them off at Kinkos.  I like that I was able to do this myself, because then I could personalize it a little bit more.  It only cost $2 to print each picture and $5 for the 8×10 frames at Target.  Total project cost about $21 as opposed to the $48 I was going to spend.

The next DIY project came from this blog on Pinterest.  I was originally going to buy a paper ball mobile that I saw on Etsy, and then I came across the yarn ball mobile on Pinterest.  I loved this idea so much more, because it’s not something I’ve ever seen in a nursery.

And here’s the baby’s view from the changing table :-)

The dresser is from Ikea.  We got it on sale for $240.  It was a pain to put together (so I was told), but hubs did a fantastic job.  I love this dresser because the drawers came lined with pretty yellow paper :-) and we’ll be able to use it later on down the road.  The glider was one of the baby shower gifts from my mom.  She bought it at Babies R Us and it’s very comfortable and sturdy :-) The beige afghan was handmade from my grandma.  It’s beautiful, soft and will be baby’s favorite blanket :-)

The crib and mattress came from Walmart.com.  It’s a Graco Lauren model and we bought it during Walmart Baby Days on-line, and paid about $175 for the crib and mattress.  The bedding came from Land of Nod.  I searched high and low for gender neutral bedding that matched our color scheme, that wasn’t outrageously priced and didn’t have some kind of animal/themed print.  This was exactly what I had been searching for.  The blue and green afghan came from hubs Aunt.  She had no idea what our nursery looked like when she started making this.  I was so happy to open it because it matches our nursery perfectly!

Next, is the canvas print that I made and did a post on a few months ago.  It was kind of tedious project but was 100% worth it.  It involved having a lot of patience, which is something I sometimes lack :-/

The inspiration for this bookshelf came from Pinterest.  The original project had used rain gutters at the bookshelves.  I found these photo shelves during our Ikea trip for $14.99 each.  I like this a lot better than an ordinary bookshelf because it adds decoration to the room and to me, looks less cluttered.  Baby will have lots of books to read thanks to all our shower guests!!

Last but not least, the baby’s closet and storage system.  I wanted to make sure everything was organized and easy to find in the baby’s room.  I bought the  white bookcase and colored bins from Target.  In them, I have extra bedding, feeding stuff (bibs, bowls, spoons) that we will use later, bottles, formula that was sent to me and scrapbook items/cards.  The closet also consists of lots of diapers that should last us awhile and other side we have a few outfits for the baby.

I’m really happy with how everything turned out.  I’ve never been so crafty in my life, but when I saw the prices for some of the stuff that I knew I could myself, it was time to find my inner DIYer.  Not knowing the sex of the baby didn’t make decorating the nursery hard at all.  I think if I knew what we were having, I would’ve still stuck with the same color scheme.  I’m not a huge fan of pink all over the place, and I’ve seen the sports theme too often in baby boy rooms.  While I think it’s cute, it was something I knew that I wanted to stay away from.  The nursery’s all ready to go…now all we need is a baby!

37 1/2 Weeks

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Ours was pretty jam packed.  Saturday consisted of a relaxing spa day with my mom, Sunday LC and I ventured to Chicago for the day to watch his dad sail at Belmont harbor.  We started our day off at one of our favorite brunch places, Orange (they now serve gluten-free pancakes!)

The one thing that I love about this place (besides the awesome food) is that you can create your own fresh fruit juice.  The waitress recommended a juice combo that I never thought of but was amazingly delicious: Orange, carrot and watermelon! Not something I would normally come up with but it was so good!

 

After brunch, we headed down to Belmont harbor to watch LC’s dad sail. Then we walked around downtown and made a few stops at our favorite spots: Sprinkles, Lululemon & Lou Malnati’s for Chicago style pizza.

Today I had a doctor’s appointment and afterward, LC and I headed to Wisconsin State Fair.  We spent the day grazing on fair food, looking at farm animals and walking the huge expo center.  Usually we leave there empty handed, a lot of the stuff can be junk.  But this time, we left with a new kitchen appliance: The Vitamix.  We’re both actually very excited about this new toy and can’t wait to use it.

I would think that all the walking that I did between yesterday and today would jump start something with the baby, but so far we’ve got nothing.  We are definitely on baby watch over here though.  I called my mom today just to chat and she answered the phone: “Are you on your way to the hospital?!” Not yet!  Also, my mother in law texted me to see how my appointment went today and to see if the doctor had anything to say.  The doctor did check me: I’m 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced.  She left us with “See you next week unless something happens before then.” I wasn’t going to get checked at first because it really doesn’t mean a whole lot, but I was curious to see if these “Braxton Hicks” contractions I’ve been having are actually doing anything.

Nothing really new to report except I feel huge and getting in and out of bed is becoming a very daunting task.  On Saturday night, I was having some fun “pre-labor” contractions in my lower back.  Hubs ran and got me a heating pad and I fell asleep shortly after that.  At almost 38 weeks, I’ve gained 30lbs.  Working out has definitely slowed down and I’ve been pretty much just sticking to walking.  It’s the only thing that feels somewhat good at this point.  I’m so excited for the cooler temps this week (hello 70’s!) so  I can actually walk outside.

What’s new with baby this week? Baby’s now considered full-term!  Even though my due date is still about 2 1/2 weeks away, baby can safely be delivered at any time.  According to BabyCenter, baby is about 6 1/3 pounds and 19 inches long.  I have a feeling that baby is bigger than that; hubs and I were both in the 8 lb range as babies and I was two weeks early.

We’re both thrilled to become parents this month.  The hospital bags are packed and baby’s bag and carseat are already in the car.  Now we’re just waiting.  Oliver has been extra cuddly and attentive today.  He’s been following me everywhere and hasn’t really left my side.  Maybe he can sense something??

 

We’re officially on baby watch over here! Hopefully not too much longer.

36 Weeks:Getting Ready for D-Day

This pregnancy is coming to an end, I can physically feel it. Walking and getting around is becoming more challenging. I also feel like the baby may have dropped a little bit. I feel movement near my ribs as well as in my pelvic (hip) area. I have about a week until the baby’s considered full-term and 4 more weeks until my due date.

When I started reading all the baby books, they told me to make a list of things I wanted to get done before the baby came. The only thing at the top of my list was to finish start our wedding album. I knew that if it didn’t get done before Baby C arrived, that it would probably never happen. We would be much too busy being those crazy paparazzi parents, taking pictures of our child’s every living moment. In true procrastination fashion, I finished it this weekend :-) Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I used MyPublisher to put the album together and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Another big thing that we’ve done recently was installing the carseat and bases. We returned one of our 3 pack n plays and exchanged it for an extra base for LC’s car. If everything goes as planned, we will be taking my car to the hospital so the carseat’s in there now, ready go.

Something I’ve been putting together slowly but surely is my hospital bag. I really have no idea on what to bring with me. I know that at some point I will want to wear my own clothes. Right now I have the basics:

  • 2 night gowns
  • 2 nursing tanks & bras
  • a pair of undies (I plan on wearing the hospital ones while I’m there)
  • Camcorder w/extra batteries/Camera laptop
  • Bringing baby home outfit for the babes as well as some onsies and a swaddler
  • Lanolin and nursing pads
  • snacks
  • shower shoes
  • basic toiletries/makeup
  • comfy shorts
  • a light zip up sweater. I go & forth on whether or not I really need this b/c I get to control the temperature in my room

Moms out there…Anything else you can suggest that I might be missing?

This week Baby’s 36 weeks and is as big as a crenshaw melon. Baby weighs about 6 pounds (I feel like it’s more) and is about 18.5 inches long. Baby’s busy putting on weight (about an ounce a day!) Baby C will officially be full-term this Thursday, the day my doctor returns from vacation!

For the past two weeks, I’ve had some pretty uncomfortable contractions. Nothing regular or too serious, so my doctor wasn’t concerned at all. At my last appointment this past Friday, she was pretty confident that I’d still be pregnant by the time she got back from vacation. Fingers crossed. She also suggested that I have a birth plan. Not so much on how I want my birth to go, but more so preferences that I have while in L&D. Some things to note: asking me to rate my pain on a scale from 1-10 (she suggested I do without this; contractions hurt. period.), when we want the cord to be cut, if it’s a boy whether or not he will be circumcised, whether or not we want to wait for the eye ointment until after we’ve had time to bond with the baby etc.

Other than the uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions and the interrupted sleep at night, I’m feeling pretty good. We got our glider this weekend, so baby’s nursery is almost done! I’m just finishing up some last minute DIY projects :-) Onto week 37!! We’re ready for you Baby :-)

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a free Bar Method DVD! Giveaway ends Thursday August 2nd at 11:59pm CST. Good luck!