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Archive for September, 2010

A 38 Week Surprise

I have been excited about writing this post for almost 9 months!  It is with the greatest pleasure that I announce the birth, Noah James.  Our little boy was born on September 22, 2010 at 7:22pm.  He was 5 pounds, 14 ounces, and 18 3/4 inches long.  And…he is absolutely perfect!  :) 

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I was all set to write a blog post last Tuesday night with this picture, marking week 38 of pregnancy. 

 Day Before Delivery

I took this picture as I left for my 38 week doctors appointment (one day shy of being “officially” 38 weeks).  At the appointment, I was no more dilated than last week, still 1 cm.  But I was 80% effaced.  I planned to blog about the appointment, share the belly shot, and lament about how difficult it is to be on pins and needles for days and weeks, just waiting for the big day to come.  But instead of blogging, I was curled up on the couch.  After the cervical check at the doctor’s, I was crampy and uncomfortable. 

No big deal….internal exams can cause cramps and bleeding. I was in bed and asleep by 10pm, figuring I would sleep it off.  I woke up when Dave came to bed about 11:30, and then laid awake, trying to sleep, until I realized at about 12am that I was "damp”…down there.  Again, no big deal…increased “dampness” is typical late in pregnancy.  I cleaned up and went back to bed. Then I noticed it again.  Got up, cleaned up, went back to bed.  Again.  And again.  Then, while cleaning myself up, there was a bigger gush of fluid.  This is when I started wondering if something was happening. 

I grabbed my pillow and headed down to the couch so I wouldn’t wake Dave by getting in and out of bed.  After lying there for a bit, there was another gush.  I ran to the bathroom and there was another. At this point I knew my water had broken. 

I woke Dave and told him I was calling the nurse.  I wasn’t having contractions, other than the crampiness I was experiencing earlier, but I knew that when one’s water breaks, the risk of infection goes up and the baby needs to be delivered relatively soon.  The nurse said I could take my time, but to head to the hospital.  I showered, threw the last few things in my hospital bag and kissed the kitties goodbye. 

We arrived at the hospital about 4:15.  I was only dilated to 2 cm, but because my water had broken, I was told I was there for the long haul.  The next several hours were spent walking the halls with my mom and Dave, trying to get my contractions going. 

By 9am, they wanted me to try one last walk before starting pitocin to stimulate my contractions.  When I returned from that walk, the nurse started the pitocin, just as my contractions were beginning on their own.  Since my body had kicked in on its own, the pitocin was making the contractions come too fast, so I was taken off of the drip.  (Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin, a chemical released my the body during labor.)

As the contractions got more intense and I got more tired (I had had an hour and a half of sleep the night before, after all!), I asked for an epidural.  Thank goodness I did.  My body was spent!  Not just from lack of sleep, but also because I couldn’t eat or drink anything (a precaution in case a C-section becomes necessary).  The epidural was something I was willing to do, but not committed to ahead of time.  The idea of a needle in my spinal fluid scared me!  But ultimately, it was really easy.  It was uncomfortable, but not really painful.  

I labored all afternoon feeling quite comfortable…until about 4pm.   At that point I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push.  The nurse said lightheartedly, lets do a couple of practice pushes.  Okay, let’s practice.  Ha!  She was ready to go.  We did a couple of pushes and she just kept on going!  I was off on the greatest athletic feat of my life!

IMG_1180 Some people report that an epidural makes it so that you don’t feel labor.  Well, I did!  I knew just when to push because of the pressure I felt.  And as the baby moved further down, I felt all of the burning and pain I imagined.  I don’t want to think about what it would have been like had I not had the epidural! 

As the time went on, the nurse had me look in a mirror to see how I was progressing.  It was a pretty amazing thing to see.  But it was also frustrating as I didn’t feel like I was seeing any more of his head with each push. 

Dave and my mom were wonderful!  They fanned me the entire time, fed me ice chips, and told me I was doing a good job.  By 6:30-7pm, I was starting to fade and their encouragement kept me going.  I am so thankful to them both because when the doctor came in towards the end, offering to help me deliver with forceps, I lost it.  I started crying because I didn’t want to resort to that.  I wanted to be able to do this! My coaches gave me the strength to give it the last little bit that I had.  No forceps for my baby!

At 7:22, 3 hours and 22 minutes after I started pushing, my mom yelled to me, “open you eyes and see your baby!”  I looked down to see his head and started bawling.  One more push, and they had him on my chest, screaming at the top of his lungs. 

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I held him there, all of us crying, until his cord stopped pulsating (this allows the baby to get the last little bit of those precious stem cells in his system).  Then Dave got to cut the cord.

The nurse asked if she could take him and weight him, and I reluctantly gave him up. 

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I still had work to do.  You are still pregnant, afterall, until the placenta is pushed through.  What a cinch that was after pushing out a baby for over 3 hours!  I have an incredible picture of the placenta, but I will refrain from posting it here.  Let’s just say, it looked to be half the size of my baby boy.  Amazing!!  As the doctor delivered the placenta, he said, “Congratulations!  You’re no longer pregnant!”  Well, I lost it all over again!  I was so relieved that it was all over and that, after all my worrying, I had a healthy baby screaming from the other side of the room. 

After the doctor stitched me up (6 stitches from an episiotomy, that probably saved me from a C-section), the family got to come in and meet Noah James.  I can’t describe the feeling of seeing my dad, mom, and brother holding my baby boy. 

 

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And just as special, Dave’s dad managed to make it from North Dakota in a matter of hours to see his grandson minutes after he was born.  I’m so happy he didn’t miss it. 

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The most special thing of all was seeing Dave hold his son, tears streaming down his face.  I have never seen him cry.  He claims he teared up when we got married, but I didn’t see it then.  There was no mistaking the tears of joy he shed on this day, however.  And of course, his tears only made me cry more!  IMG_1218

 

With the exception of a little jaundice that we are still working to correct, little Noah is perfectly healthy.  He is a champ when it comes to nursing (I’m glad he knows what he’s doing), he has a strong grip and can hold his head up already.  He may be small, but he is tough! 

I can’t describe how much I love him and how grateful I am to God for this amazing gift.  I am sleep deprived, sore, and dealing with the fun of engorgement right now, but I have never been happier in my life.  I always wanted a career, but never had any specific career aspirations.  The only job I ever really wanted was to be a mother.  I feel like I got my dream job this week! 

We spent 2 days in the hospital and welcomed many visitors.  Morgan and her husband even made it!  She is still pregnant and I was so touched that she made the trip to come meet our son. I am crossing my fingers she is getting close herself…The waiting is so hard!  I can’t wait for our boys to meet!

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We have been so busy since we’ve been home… making trips to the pediatrician to treat Noah’s jaundice, establishing our routine, visiting with family and friends, and getting to know Jack and Rudy.

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Each day I have wanted to blog and share our news with all of you, but the days have gotten away from me! 

It has been such a wonderful thing to be able to share my pregnancy with all of you.  Your support, love, and friendship has meant the world to me and I look forward to sharing my adventures in motherhood with you as well.  I imagine my posts will be few and far between for a bit, but I’ll be back…with probably more baby stories than you ever want to hear!  🙂

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Building it Back Up!

Blogging is just becoming more and more sporadic!  I just don’t know what to expect of it once this baby arrives.  Maybe a brief hiatus?  I feel guilty each time I clean out my google reader without reading or commenting, but in addition to trudging through my course in biochemistry, I am also in serious nesting mode!  Unable to sleep the other night, I was up at 1:30am with a tape measure trying to figure out how to rearrange furniture to accommodate a pack n’ play in our living room!  I was up by 6 the next morning, moving furniture to execute my late night plan.  We have a much better arrangement now, but unfortunately, the heavy lifting didn’t send me into labor. 

Part of my blogging problem, aside from the time issue, is content.  My mind is “all baby, all the time.”  My apologies.  :)  But that’s where I am right now.  And I must say, blogging is a wonderful way to keep family and friends in the loop.  Motherhood in the 21st century!

So what am I blogging about today, and what does my title refer to?  I’ve shared with you a few little surprises that pregnancy has brought me.  I didn’t realize how hard it would be for an active gal like myself to move around.  I had no idea how emotional a simple room would make me.  And I also, had no idea, that one can gain weight in one area, while another area virtually disappears!!

I am referring to my butt.  :)  While my belly has grown, my butt has disappeared!  It is to the point that I have to keep hiking up my pants to keep them from falling down!  Tough to do when the aforementioned belly prevents hiking those pants up too far.  These photos don’t really capture the scope of the problem, but I assure you, where my back now extends straight down to my thighs, there used to be a little bit of muscle in between.

 

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When I got pregnant, I hoped I would have one of those cute basketball bellies, but realistically, I figured I would gain everywhere.  In reality, while I gained weight in the basketball belly I wanted, I lost all the muscle in the back!  I realize that for many who want to trim down their backside, this may seem like a silly thing to be sad about.  But I worked hard for that butt!  I ran a lot of miles!  Whereas I once had just a lot of cushioning in the back, running gave me a butt I was proud of!

While I have continued to workout on the elliptical, I had to stop running abruptly when I was about 20 weeks along.  I went from running 30-40 miles per week, to nothing overnight.  When you are pregnant, a hormone called Relaxin relaxes ligaments in preparation for the birth.  In some people there is a little extra relaxing going on, so I developed a lot of pelvic/groin pain.  I was sad to stop running, but there was no way around it.  The pain has gone away since I stopped running…and so has my butt!

So what am I going to do about it?  Well, I have my Bob Revolution (arguably the best reviewed jogging stroller out there!) ready to go for the nice weather.  And thanks to my unbelievable hubby, I now have a treadmill on its way for the winter months!  He ordered it last night after I went to bed and had the email confirmation sent to me so it was waiting in my inbox when I woke up this morning! 

I realize that in some cases a treadmill might seem like a mean gift to give the expectant mother (“Here’s a gift for you, honey, so you can lose the baby weight.”)  But in this case, he knew how much I wanted it and budgeted so that he could get me the exact one I wanted.  Now when it is snowy and cold in Boston, I can walk downstairs and run while the baby sleeps.  No gym.  No cold.  I have some butt building to do and now I have the tools to do it.  :)  I am a very lucky girl!

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Nesting in the Nursery

I mentioned last weekend that I am going to share a few tidbits here and there that I have learned throughout my pregnancy.  It seems many of those who have gone through pregnancy (or are going through it now) can relate to my experience with being “turtled.”  Glad to know I”m not the only one!

I wonder if anyone can relate to this… Ever since we got our nursery furniture, I find myself needing to go into the baby’s room “just to look”.  I don’t have anything to do in there necessarily, I just get shear joy out of seeing everything…especially as it has come together and become cozier.  That nesting instinct is very real and in full force!  We have been putting everything together, washing baby clothes, and I have been cleaning nonstop! 

We have just put up the wooden letters spelling his name on the wall and when I stood back and looked, I just started crying!  I didn’t expect to, but I was just overcome seeing that finishing touch.  Seeing his name there on the wall, it hits me that he is really coming…a little person all his own with his own name and identity.  There I go…crying again!

I’m not ready to share his name in cyber space.  We’ve only shared his name with close friends and family.  But I took some pictures before we hung the letters and I’m excited to share those.

When the furniture arrived:

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Blue to yellow:

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Exhausted!

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All done!!!

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We love it!  Especially with his name now hanging over the crib.  Here are a few details…

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This bunny lamp was in Dave’s nursery when he was a baby!  His grandfather made it for him so it means a lot to have it. 

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These are the lyrics to a song called “Child of Mine,” written by folk singer Bill Staines.  I grew up listening to his music and this song, in particular, is extra special.

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This cradle will not be in the nursery, but will be in our bedroom for the few few months.  Not a traditional bassinette, but it got great reviews!

 

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So there you have it!  We are ready.  Me especially!  I have felt a lot more pelvic pressure this past week and my doctor confirmed yesterday that I am 1 centimeter dilated, 50% effaced, and Baby G’s head is down low.  I can walk around like this for weeks without going into labor, but it is encouraging to know that my body is getting ready.  Its amazing to me that the body know just what to do and when to do it!  Baby G is 37 weeks today…full-term!  He can come whenever he’s ready.  I know I am!!!  🙂

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Fall Fun

One of the first things I thought about when I learned Baby G’s due date was whether or not we would be able to go apple picking this fall.  We go every year, usually at he end of September or beginning of October.  With the baby due October 6th (and hopefully arriving earlier!), we needed to go now or not at all.  Fortunately, apple picking season is running ahead of schedule this year so it worked out perfect for us!

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It was a beautiful day on Saturday.  Perfect for walking (or waddling) through an orchard!  There were so many families with kids…I can’t wait until we can take Baby G along with us next year.  Maybe I’ll even make some baby apple sauce after next year’s trip!

Dave did the heavy lifting…

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And a lot of the picking…

 

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And a lot of the apple eating too…

 

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And we made some new friends!

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Most of my photo ops were belly related…

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That would be 36 1/2 weeks of baby belly!  (In 2 days, Baby G will be considered full term!)  And here’s that belly with the daddy-to-be…and about 25 pounds of apples!  🙂

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Ironically…just in time for apple picking, we realized this past week that the crab apple tree in our own yard isn’t a crab apple tree at all.  It’s a real fruit-producing apple tree! 

our apple tree

We have more apples than we know what to do with!!

It was great to get out and enjoy a fall-like New England day.  I love this time of year.  I call it “sweater weather”…no big bulky winter coats, just a light sweater to fend off a little briskness in the air.  Perfect!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well.  Be back soon with some nursery photos to share!  🙂

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“Turtled”

It seems I am now down to blogging only a couple of times a week now.  Taking this biochemistry course has been tough.  It requires a few hours a day on the computer, and unfortunately, that’s about how long I am able to sit upright these days.  Standing and lying down, I can do.  But sitting upright has Baby G (all 6 pounds of him!) pushing right up into my ribs.  By the time I am done studying, the thought of sitting at the computer any longer to read blogs or write my own is just not feasible.  So on this Saturday morning, with no school work on the agenda until later, I am going to get in a quick post. 

The title of today’s post is a term I read for the first time this past week…And it had me in hysterics!  :)  I have decided that as I get down to the end of my pregnancy, I will share with you a few things I never realized about being pregnant until it actually happened to me.  The little things no one tells you.  Well, today, I am going to tell you about being “turtled.”

What does it mean to be “turtled”?  See below…

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This poor fellow has been “turtled,” or found himself in a position in which he was rendered motionless.  For the most part, this is me!  :)   I never understood the big deal pregnant woman made about standing up from lying down or from a sitting position.  I figured that when it was my turn, all my years of being active and cultivating strong abs would pay off and I wouldn’t have a problem.  Boy, was I wrong!

I have been lucky in my pregnancy in that I haven’t gained a ton of weight.  Mind you, it feels like a ton, but it really isn’t.  The problem, however, is that all of those extra pounds are concentrated in one place…my belly!  So when it comes to turning over in bed or getting up off the couch, my center of gravity is thrown off completely!  I am “turtled.” 

In bed, I am sometimes able to swing my leg and create enough momentum to propel myself up or over to the other side.  But it is usually accompanied my a groan or a “ugh!”  I sound like Stephi Graf serving in a tennis tournament!  And when I am trying to do this in order to make one of my many nightly trips to the bathroom, it is especially dangerous.  You don’t want to propel yourself too hard, or you just might not make it to your destination without an accident!

Getting up off the couch is no easier.  In fact it’s harder because I can’t create that leg momentum!  When I am by myself, I have to slide my butt of the couch, then use the arm rest and coffee table to push myself up.  Or if Dave is home, he pushes my back forward, then pushes my butt up to get me completely vertical. 

It’s humbling.  I’m afraid Dave will come home one day and find that I have been “turtled” for hours! 

So that’s my tidbit for today.  To all the future moms, or to all the current moms who have blocked out the discomforts of pregnancy (after all, blocking out the discomforts is the only reason women can sign on for baby #2!)…my advice is to never underestimate the possibility of becoming “turtled!” 

More helpful hints to come… but for now, we’re off to enjoy a beautiful fall-like day and go apple picking!

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What a fun weekend!  No work and definitely not any baby-related labor!  :)  I was actually kind of dreading the weekend, as I haven’t been feeling great lately.  I was nervous about having to come up with things to do for 3 days and pushing through the discomfort.  I know Dave enjoys getting out and doing things on the weekends, and normally I do to. But pregnancy fatigue and general discomfort has made me want nothing more than to lie on the couch.  I was feeling guilty for spoiling a 3 day weekend.  But it turned out that getting out and about was a great distraction. 

On Saturday, Dave suggested renting a 2-man kayak and heading out on the river.  I wasn’t super enthusiastic, but I wanted to get out and figured Dave could do the paddling in a double kayak if I couldn’t pull my weight.  (I can use the elliptical machine still, but I wasn’t too confident in my paddling abilities) I ended up doing much better than I anticipated and paddled most of the hour.  I only needed to stop and rest when a Braxton Hicks contraction came on.  They aren’t painful and are completely harmless, but using my core muscles definitely triggered them. 

It was a beautiful day on the river.

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Take a look at this Great Blue Heron!

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When we got home, Dave put together our baby swing.

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And while I was out on Sunday, having what has become a weekly coffee date with Morgan 🙂 … Dave was at home putting together our stroller, and installing our car seat!  Its getting so close…we have to be ready.

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I modeled the car seat when I got home!

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We even picked up a baby book this weekend!  We’re ready!

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We got out again on Monday and took a nice long walk along the Minuteman Bike Trail.  I love that we live so close to it now! 

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We ended our walk at the Bedford Farmer’s Market.  It is located right at the end of the bike trail which brings a lot of people to the market. It was bustling! 

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They were giving free samples of flatbread from a local restaurant.  They baked the flatbread right there in this oven…

 

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Very cool!  And very tasty! 

We also picked up some local produce…

 

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We came home and heated up the grill for the second time over the weekend.  I had a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger with all the fixins’!  Tomato, spinach, cucumber, artichokes, ketchup, mustard, and Laughing Cow cheese.  Amazing!

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Dave’s burgers were a little less dressed.  He likes his burgers as plain as possible!

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Dave also likes his regular white hamburger buns.  But I had received the Arnold’s Sandwich Thins to sample from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, so Dave agreed to give them a try.  The verdict???  He approved!  I’m thrilled because, although I have preferred English Muffins to Sandwich Thins in the past, I much prefer these fiber-ful Thins to nutritionally-void white flour hamburger buns. 

Of course, because it is the unofficial end of the summer season, we paired our burgers with some watermelon!  🙂

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What I learned this weekend is that the next 4 weeks of pregnancy are going to drag by if I don’t do things to get my mind off of how tired and uncomfortable I am.  You know the principle in physics, “A body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest”?  Well this weekend, I got my body moving with morning workouts and kept on moving.  I felt 10 times better than I did last week when I sat studying all day long and counting days until Baby G’s birthday. 

For the worriers out there…all that activity didn’t phase the baby at all.  He’s been moving and shaking more and more.  I was still measuring small 2 weeks ago, so another ultrasound had been ordered for today.  Again, its only my belly that’s measuring small (although I insist that it doesn’t feel very small!). According to today’s ultrasound Baby G is in the 60th percentile and is  estimated to be 6 pounds, 1 ounce.  I sure hope he comes early because if he doesn’t, I will have an 8+ pound baby! 

Learning from this past weekend, we are already planning our annual apple picking day for this coming weekend.  I can’t wait!

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Groundhog Day

The past week has felt like the movie Groundhog Day.  Everyday like the one before.  Not that this is a bad thing…I am plenty busy studying biochemistry, keeping up with the house, and preparing for the baby.  But being home all day, without the distraction of other people, I find myself getting really antsy!  Too much time to think (especially when I am lying awake, trying to sleep at night!). 

I am 35+ weeks along now and knowing Baby G could be here in less than 2 weeks…or over 5 weeks…is very unsettling.  I am a planner.  As long as I know what I’m doing and when, I’m happy.  But not knowing, and always wondering what every little twinge or nudge might mean, has me going a little nutty!  Biochemistry is tough material to learn when your mind is preoccupied!  :) 

I am trying to relax about it all and to enjoy these last few days/weeks of my own time and time alone with Dave.  But the truth is, I’m getting really nervous.  Strangely, I’m not obsessing too much yet about the actual labor part.  I am more nervous about the baby and that he arrive healthy and safe.  I had a brother who was born with severe Cerebral Palsy after what doctors hypothesized was a mishap with his cord.  There was nothing genetically wrong, and my mom had a normal pregnancy with him.  It was one of those freak things.  Its the possibility of those “freak things” that is making it hard for me to relax.  I feel like I won’t be able to truly relax until I hold him and see that he is healthy and safe.  Then, of course, I can start worrying about keeping him that way!

I am also antsy because I am so ready to feel like me again!  As someone who as always been really active and independent, it is very humbling to have to ask for help in picking something up off of the floor!  Everything takes much longer to do, from vacuuming the house to making dinner. Even studying is harder because I can only sit upright for a certain amount of time before I get really uncomfortable.  I’d like to just push off the studying, but I know I will be glad that I have a solid head start once the baby arrives and all I want to do is spend time with him…and sleep! 

All in all, things are going well.  This is a lesson in letting go and having faith that things are going to be okay.  Its hard for me, but the truth is that from now on, I will always have something/someone to worry about.  Life is going to change.  I am going to change!  As much as I want to feel like me again, I am realizing that the “me” I will be will not be the same as the me I have been.   I may be able to pick things up off of the floor again and reclaim my active lifestyle, but I know that I will be forever changed on a deeper level.  This is a good thing and I’m ready.  🙂

I’ll leave you with a 35 week belly picture.  Only a few more belly pictures to go!

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Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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