Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our first 2 weeks at home!

I can't believe she's already 3 1/2 weeks old!  I've taken plenty of pictures so far with my phone, but I wanted to share just a few of my favorites from the first couple weeks (haven't uploaded them all yet)!

I think this was our first day home, hospital bracelet still on!

lazy saturday

love all her tiny squishy rolls!

stretching out!

daddy and his little girl

in the carrier, one of her favorite places to be!

tummy time!

bath time!

Breastfeeding Challenges

When I was pregnant I was honestly pretty excited to breastfeed.  I knew it was going to be such a bonding experience between me and our new little one.  I went to the class and learned the basics and didn't anticipate having any difficulties.  I made sure to have a lactation consultant visit while we were in the hospital as many times as I felt necessary just to make sure things were going well and they were upon discharge!  Reese didn't loose too much weight, she was down to 8 lbs on discharge (8 lbs 6 oz at birth) and the LC said her latch looked great. 

However, I clearly didn't pay enough attention during the class or to what the LC was telling me in the hospital because we ended up incurring some difficulties when we got home that I didn't really realize until Friday (we were discharged about 11 pm on Tuesday).  My biggest piece of advice to a soon to be mom would be to spend the $50 to set up a one on one appointment at your house with a LC a couple days after you are discharged to make sure things are still going well and you are able to ask any questions one on one.

We went to her first appointment on Thursday (a few days after discharge) to find out she was down to 7 lbs 10 oz, nothing they were too concerned about, but they made a weight check appointment the following Thursday just to make sure she was doing ok between then and her next appointment.  By the next day, Friday, the feedings were starting to get very difficult as she was getting really fussy and crying while I was trying to get her to eat.  I was starting to feel extremely anxious when I knew it was almost feeding time every couple hours.  During the middle of the night from Friday to Saturday morning, the 4:30 am feeding, we couldn't get her to calm down and latch for over two hours.  We decided to go back to sleep and try again in two hours at 8:30 am.  When we woke her up again and couldn't even console her enough to calm down we decided to go ahead and pump and give her a bottle so we could get some food in her belly.

From then on for the rest of the weekend, I continued to attempt to get her to latch, then pumped and bottle fed her what I got for each feeding.  I was concerned that I had flat or inverted nipples and that was causing her difficulties so I ended up buying a nipple shield that night (Saturday) and tried that.  She would semi-latch on that for a little bit but was still not eating significantly so I continued to pump and feed her a bottle until we could make it to a breastfeeding support group Monday morning.  We were doing this routine every 2 hours. 

The emotions that came along with the difficulties were so intense.  I was soooo worried about our little girl not getting food and I think I just felt so frustrated that things weren't working out like I thought they would.  I was worried I was ruining our chances at breastfeeding by giving her the bottle so early and I felt so guilty that she hadn't been getting enough food over the past week.  I realized by the end of the day Saturday that I really missed her since I was missing out on those feedings all day long.  It sounds silly, but breastfeeding creates so much bonding between mom and baby, and I really felt the effects of missing out on that. 

The group on Monday was wonderful.  The LC immediately showed me what I was doing wrong and got her to latch immediately.  She ensured me Reese's latch was great and that we didn't need the nipple shield.  Basically I was pinching my nipple rather than cupping my whole breast, making it difficult to latch.  Also I was just sort of trying to let her latch rather than shoving my whole breast in her mouth when she opened (sounds forceful but its how it works!).  I also was only offering her one side each time rather than both! 

She weighed 7 lbs 10 oz before feeding and only got 1 oz from both sides during the group, so the LC had me continue to pump and supplement her with 1 oz after each feeding, every 2 hours.  We successfully did this process all Monday.  It was pretty tiring since it took so long to get her to wake up and eat, pump, and bottle feed, usually about 1.5 hours for the whole process, leaving only 30 minutes before we needed to start again.  She was worried about my supply a little so she suggested I take Fenugreek (an herb to help up your supply).  I also realized at this time that I needed to start taking care of myself better.  I needed to get more rest and make sure I was drinking enough water and eating enough food.  That first week can be such a blur and I had trouble finding the time to eat and I think the stress just affected my appetite. 
Tuesday I went to another group and Reese got 2 oz that time from just nursing.  The LC told me I could change it to every 3 hours and go one 4 hour stretch at night.  This process was still long and tiring and still stressful since their scale showed her weight still at 7 lbs 10 oz.  The LC encouraged me to have a beer or two at night and let out plenty of cries so I could get out some of that stress!

Thursday we went to her weight check appointment and were sooo incredibly happy and relieved to find out her weight was up to 8 lbs 5 oz.  (I'm sure there is a huge difference in their scales, but the doctor's one is really the only one that matters!)  They suggested I keep doing what I was doing by pumping each time and supplementing her with the bottle so her weight continued to go up.  I can't tell you how great this made me feel knowing she was on her way!  I remember just sitting in the waiting room before the appointment praying over this verse: Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  I felt like after that appointment, all our prayers and hard work had paid off.  God is so good!

That night I can honestly say I felt like my self again.  After Saturday, when we started bottle feeding her, I felt hope that we were getting her fed and she was going to be ok, but worry whether breastfeeding was going to work out for us.  After Monday, I felt hope that breastfeeding was going to work, but still worry about her weight.  But after Thursday, I felt so much relief!  Its crazy how much it felt like a fog during that first week, week and a half.  But as one of my friends told me, this too shall pass.  I am so glad I was determined not to give up on breastfeeding and that I had so much support from friends and family.  It was incredibly overwhelming and the hardest thing I have ever done, but so so worth it.

By the next Monday she was refusing the bottle so we decided to just nurse rather than pump and supplement each time.  Then on Tuesday at her next appointment, she weighed 8 lbs 14 oz!  The doctor was very happy with her progress and told us we could go ahead and let her sleep as long as she will through the night (though I don't think I would let her go more than 6 hours)!  Today is the following Monday, she's a day over 3 weeks old, and she is eating great!  She hasn't gone past 4 hours yet, but I'm not in too much of a hurry.

Its so nice to allow her to wake on her own to eat rather than fight to wake her up each time.  She is starting to get on a schedule during the day and breastfeeding is going so well!  She latches automatically and is getting much quicker at nursing.  I can honestly say that I love breastfeeding her now and am so happy everything worked out for us.  I wanted to write this to encourage new moms (and myself for next time) that it does feel overwhelming and very tough for a few days, but things will work out!  God has a plan, so be patient, because the outcome is so worth it!  The most important thing is having a healthy baby at the end of the day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our birth story

I'm not going to spare any details so be prepared!  I honestly feel like we had the perfect birth story, I couldn't have imagined it going any better! 

I had a feeling this little girl was going to arrive soon, but I still felt very unsure of when it would actually happen.  All week I would wonder each day if she was coming soon, but at the same time I would think, no way I could imagine going into labor that day.  It was a really surreal feeling all week, each day when I left work everyone would comment on whether I would be back in the morning.  I felt like Wednesday she dropped even more.  I didn't have the pain in my rib area anymore, and the heartburn disappeared for the most part.  I started loosing my mucus plug that night, and it really continued for a few days, so I wasn't sure if it meant anything. 

We were looking forward to celebrating our 3rd anniversary that weekend since we didn't get to the weekend before due to Corey's back.  We kept joking as we were on our way to dinner Saturday that she would probably come the next day, she just wanted to let us celebrate our anniversary as our last night out before she arrived.  Well, that's exactly what happened! 

I woke up Sunday morning at 7:30 to period like cramps.  I got up to use the restroom and tried to go back to sleep, but pretty much just laid there thinking "what if this is the beginning of labor?!"  I eventually got up and went downstairs to do some of my bible study before church.  I went upstairs to wake Corey up after about an hour and was telling him about it, but we were both pretty unsure.  We headed to church and it was the most miserable church service!  The power was out due to a major storm the night before, which meant no air conditioning (super hot and sticky, especially for a 9 month pregnant woman) and no speakers, so we had to wait about a half hour for them to get a generator working so we could hear the pastor and he could start the sermon (its a pretty big church).  I just remember thinking this is the worst day for this to happen, and this is the last place I want to be right now, during these contractions.   

We started timing them during the wait for church to start on an app I downloaded on my phone, but I was still unsure whether they were the real thing.  They were 5-10 minutes apart and 30-60 seconds long.  They never eased up or stopped.  After church, we did our grocery shopping and I'm so glad we did.  I remember feeling pretty uncomfortable, and both of us rushing through the store as quickly as possible. 

Once we got home, I decided to take a nap just in case this was the real deal and we would be up all night.  I was able to fall asleep in the basement and took about an hour nap.  I woke up and the contractions were still there, and hadn't slowed at all, but again I was still feeling very unsure whether they were the real deal or not.  I guess I was expecting them to be super painful.  I went upstairs and decided to go on a walk to see if that would get things moving at all, while Corey decided to take a nap.  I took Buster with me and my phone so I could continue timing the contractions.  I remember it being so hot out and just walking through the contractions and by the end of the walk I was "owing" out loud during each one.  When I got back they were under 5 minutes apart and 45-90 seconds long. 

We still were unsure, we both just thought I would be in so much more pain so we decided to wait it out another hour and then call the doctor to ask if we should come in.  They still felt like period like cramps, but much more intense obviously.  About 30 minutes after I got back from my walk (4:45 p.m.) we were laying on the couch watching tv and I felt this "pop".  I said "oh! I wonder if my water just broke?!"  I stood up and a huge gush came out!  I ran straight to the restroom and waited there while Corey ran around getting our last minute things together.  I kept trying to get up, but holy cow my contractions started getting really really intense immediately and with each one another gush of liquid would come out.

It only took us about 10-15 minutes to get all our last minute things, take out the pup, and get out the door.  By this point I was screaming through the contractions and Corey was flying down the freeway.  He later told me he was so scared I was going to go into labor and he was going to have to deliver the baby on the side of I-69!  Once we got to the hospital we just valeyed the car and Corey wheeled me in in a wheelchair.  I remember being a little embarrassed, but in too much pain to care.  I got out of the car looking like I had peed my pants and screaming in pain.  Corey wheeled me up to the 4th floor and they let us in immediately when they saw I was clearly in labor.

They quickly wheeled us in to a triage room (about 5:15 p.m.) where they put in my IV, got all our info, and checked me to see my progress.  I stripped down all my clothes and didn't care who was in the room.  I was so uncomfortable and still loosing a lot of fluids.  I was at 4 centimeters and was screaming to get the epidural.  I don't know how some people labor naturally, I can not imagine!  They wheeled us to our room and I got the epidural (around 6:30 p.m.).  The wait for the epidural was so intense.  I told Corey this was going to be our only child, haha! 

Honestly, the epidural didn't even hurt.  I don't remember even feeling it, and the meds kicked in pretty quickly.  My legs were numb for the most part, but after a few minutes I was able to feel my contractions, but they weren't even as intense as I felt that morning when I first woke up.  She checked me immediately after the epidural and I was 6 centimeters.  I was progressing very quickly and the baby was so low that they didn't give me any more epidural because they wanted me to be able to feel to push (they usually would since I could still feel contractions).  I just remember breathing through them and my whole body sort of shaking and my teeth chattering, the nurse said it was because I was going through transition.  She checked me again at 7:30 and I was just about 10, but she wanted to wait until I was fully there.

She called the doctor and let our parents and sisters come in and spend about 30 minutes with us since they had arrived at the hospital pretty quickly after us and were in the waiting room.  She came back around 8 and had them go back to the waiting room so she could check me again.  I was fully 10 centimeters and the doctor was only a few minutes away so we decided to go ahead and do a few practice pushes.  She had me push through 3 contractions, then had my stop because she could already see the baby's head.  The doctor arrived a few minutes later and I pushed for about 45 minutes total before our baby girl arrived!  I asked for the mirror almost immediately, which was something I never thought I would do!  It was so cool to see though and it really helped me get through the pushing because I could actually see the progress I was making!  The baby's heart rate would drop during the contractions so they had my using an oxygen mask they whole time, but I never felt stressed.  I really feel like I had a great nurse and doctor there and it was so calming to only have the four of us in the room. 

Since she came through the birth canal so quickly, she had fluid in her lungs, so they put her on my chest for a few seconds before taking her over to the warmer for 30-45 minutes while they stitched me up.  I was so happy to only have some small 2nd degree tearing, no episiotomy needed.   Once the doctor was finished and Reese was stabilized they gave her back to me to spend a few minutes with her.  I wasn't able to breastfeed for a few hours since the fluids in her lungs, so they allowed our families to come back in pretty quickly afterward to meet her.  We hung out with them for probably a half hour or so then they left us to soak up our baby and our new little family of 3! 

I have to say, the labor was nothing like I was expecting.  It went much smoother and felt much more natural!  I feel very blessed about how everything happened.  We ended up loving the doctor who delivered (since mine was on vacation) and loved the nurses we had.  We couldn't believe how quickly everything happened, she was born about 4 hours after my water broke and we made it to the hospital.  Next time we will have to make sure to get to the hospital as quick as possible I think!  We can't believe our sweet baby girl is here.  I just kept thinking, I can't believe she was in my belly!  I honestly can't remember life before she was here though :)

Reese is here!

Our sweet girl has arrived! 

Reese Marie was born August 5th (1 day short of 39 weeks) at 9:03 p.m., weighing 8 lb 6 oz and 20.5 inches long! 

We are so in love with our little angel!  I am working on writing our birth story and more posts so stay tuned!

Friday, August 3, 2012

38 Weeks

I can't believe how close we are getting!  Its really starting to feel strange that she could come at anytime, and for some reason I really feel like she is going to come sooner than later, but that's probably just wishful thinking!  I can't handle the wait to meet her much longer!!!  I think I had a little bit of a nesting kick this weekend, but maybe it was more-so just related to me "thinking" she might come this week.  Rather than plan meals this week which is one of my favorite things to do, I picked up easy things at the store and lots of good snacks in case we would be hibernating any time soon, haha.  I cooked a few freezer meals and made a large batch of granola on Sunday.  I also finished a few baby related projects (one being her changing table pad cover) that I had been sort of putting off.  I am still waiting on the huge urge to clean because that definitely has not happened...more like huge urge to nap or relax on the couch with my hubby!

We had a bit of craziness come up this past week!  Long story short, Corey's been having some lower back pain that radiates down his left leg for about a year.  The pain got significantly worse in the past week or two to the point where he couldn't really function, it was so excruciating.  After narrowing out some other possibilities, his doctor ordered him an MRI and found he had 2 herniated disks.  One had a large bulge on the end that was pushing his nerve into the bone, causing all the pain.  His options were to get back surgery and permanently fix the problem or get a steroid shot to temporarily ease the pain (but they had no idea how long it would last).  We decided to go ahead with the surgery and now he is completely pain free down that leg!  Today is the day after surgery and he only has some stiffness/soreness in his lower back at the incision site.  We are feeling very thankful as this was the absolute best outcome we could have asked for!  We hope to celebrate our 3rd anniversary next weekend since our plans sort of had to change this weekend.  I'm very lucky to have this man!

Back to pregnancy related things, I finally switched out my ring for a silver band I borrowed from my sister.  I'm still not having any swelling yet, but I was nervous in the last few weeks that I would.  I definitely miss my ring!  The braxton hicks are still continuing very strong, coming much more frequently, and lasting up to 5 minutes at a time rather than the 30 seconds previously.  They come all day, but still are not painful, just uncomfortable.  Doctor says this is a good sign, I say bring on the real thing!  I am feeling a little nervous about when she may come because I really want my doctor to deliver her, but she will be out on vacation all next week.  But, whatever will happen, will happen, and it will all turn out ok!  God's timing is always perfect.

My doctor's appointment was good this week.  I progressed a little bit more to 2 centimeters, and I'm now fully effaced which is great.  Baby has dropped even further to station +2.  I guess the only things we are waiting on is more dilation and the real deal contractions.  My doctor told me she could come in a few days or 2 weeks, its impossible to tell.  But she asked if I could come Thursday since she'll be on call all night - sounds like a plan to me :)

Baby's heartrate was great still at 152 and my blood pressure, urine and weight looked good at 24 pounds.  I completely forgot to share something funny that happened at the doc last week.  I asked the nurse practitioner how big she thought the baby would be and she said she expected her to be "ample" size, haha!  She said since she was already dropped so low in my pelvis but I was still measuring at almost 38 weeks (last week when I was 37 weeks 1 day) that she is probably a good sized baby.  She asked how big me and Corey were, both over 9 pounds, and said she would be shocked if baby was under 7 pounds.  I guess we'll have to see when she's born, but hopefully she's not too big!!! 

37 Weeks and a few days

38 Weeks

38 Weeks

38 Weeks (sorry I look half asleep i think I was just out of bed!)

37 Weeks

I have been going back and forth lately on this whole scheduling a "last day" at work before maternity leave.  I was originally going to go ahead and work until the baby decided to make her debut.  However, now that we're getting closer I am definitely starting to feel the effects of late pregnancy.  I'm thinking as of now I'm going to go ahead and work and see how it goes.  With the way month end falls (I'm an accountant), its just not so feasible to take off early, but I think I will plan on having my last day be my due date.  One of my friends also gave me the great idea of taking a few Fridays off, so I may do that this week.

I am slowing down and just feeling generally more tired at work and especially after.  I am also starting to feel a little overwhelmed.  For some reason we always manage to fill up our weeknights with things to do, all things I love, but even so, these things lead to me feeling more worn out by the end of the week.  We also seem to always fill up our weekends.  These are great things, but are also taking up all prep for baby time (and just general relaxation)!  Even though I say it doesn't matter if the nursery is finished before she arrives, I really want it to be!  Plus there are just so many small odds and ends that I would like to take care of before. 

This past week I have noticed a new symptom...heartburn!  I've had it maybe a couple times so far this pregnancy, but in the past week its every night!  Last night I ate dinner at 7:30 and didn't lay down until 10 and still had my pillows elevating me and it was crazy!  I asked my doctor today and she told me to try an over the counter to see if that helps.  I've also started having a tiny bit of siatic nerve pain down my left leg, very strange, but really not too bad at all and very random.

My doctor's appointment went great today.  I saw the nurse practitioner for the last time and she asked if I wanted to be checked.  I was 1.5 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced and baby dropped to between 0 & +1 station.  She said this stuff is sort of the person checking you's estimate so her 80% could be the same as my doc's 60% last week.  Who knows, but not too much progress from last week I guess.  We'll have to see what my doctor says next week when she sees me again!  I was happy to hear I was GroupB strep negative.  Blood pressure & urine both looked great, baby's heart rate was 151, and my weight gain was 23 pounds so far.

36 Weeks
37 Weeks (and a few days, opps!)

37 Weeks