My Little Girl

My Little Girl

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1 month check up

Today Emma had her "one month" check up. Seriously? Already?!? No way! It can't really have been that long since I brought this gorgeous little person into the world!! And there it is in black and white. Her birthday is July 2. Yesterday was 4 weeks. Friday will be her one month birthday. Numerically it all makes sense. But in my heart I can't believe we are already halfway through my maternity leave! I have 5 weeks left with her full-time. Then it's back to work. :(

Anyways, back to the reason for this post. It's a short one. Just a little update on her stats. Just a refresher: Last check-up was 2 weeks ago. She was 7lbs, 12oz & 20.75" long.

This check up: 8lbs, 15.5oz and no length change. She's almost 9 pounds already! Half an ounce from 9pounds! So that means after the feeding she had while we were there, she was probably 9lbs when we left! lol She gained 19 ounces in 2 weeks! And we were all worried she wasn't getting enough to eat! haha She proved us wrong!

And she was SUCH a good girl at her appointment too! She was wide awake and making faces at the nurse. She was quiet when I was asking my "new mom questions." She fussed a little bit while we were waiting for the doctor but only because she was hungry (understandable, don't you think?!?). Then the doctor came in and she was amazing while her ears were checked and her lungs and her mouth. She even let the doc get most of the way through the physical part of the check up--where the doctor has to pull the legs down, push them up, lay them flat to the side, turn her over and check again, push on her belly some... Emma started to get really annoyed on the last check, when the doc pushes her legs all the way out and down--butterfly style. You could tell Emma was done with the check up at that point. And who could blame her really? I don't love sitting Butterfly style and I'm used to it! lol But other than that, the doc says she's doing amazing! She's a healthy, happy baby girl!

Okay, that's it for now. It's really late and I have a FULL day tomorrow. I have to get up early and spend some time with my guy, clean the house a little bit, pack for our weekend getaway to my hometown to see my dad and some of my best girl friends, work a little bit on a project or two for my mom,... and have some kind of dinner ready when my guy gets home!  Think I can do it all?

Such a perfect baby at her check up today!

Monday, July 29, 2013

It was the best of times.... It was the worst of times

Yesterday was the most polar day since we have had Emma.

The early morning was a little hard. She woke up several times through the night wanting to eat. But then she wouldn't burp so we would be up for a long time. I can sometimes do one or the other in the night, but having both (up a lot *AND* up a long time each time) is hard!

We ended up getting up at 6:30am and feeding her another bottle. My guy and I were both up with her, playing around a little. We went to the living room and just were hanging out on the couch. I was EXHAUSTED, so my guy said he would take her for a bit. Apparently I passed out hard! LOL I woke up at 9am and thawed out a thing of frozen milk for him. I laid back down and was out cold again! 10:30 rolled around and I was finally human again.

I didn't realize how late it had gotten. Mainly because he had his PS3 on and the time on there said it was just 9:30am. As I was walking around with her throughout the house, I noticed a few things. Things that made me smile...

  1. The baby swing was going slowly. It proved I wasn't dreaming when I saw him laying on the floor in front of the swing by the window, playing with her. I was half asleep when I saw this, so I thought maybe it was a dream. 
  2. When he handed her to me, he asked if her diaper was right. I was still half-asleep, so I just took a quick look and said yeah. She's a tad too big for the newborn sized diapers, but the Size 1's are too big. It looked fine to me though. Then I took her to her nursery and noticed the little tub I keep on her dresser with all her diaper-changing things in it--it was on the floor by her little play mat. I remembered putting it back after her last changing. It took me noticing something by her baby-doll cradle (That'll be next) to realize that Daddy had actually changed her diaper! He usually has me do this, so that was amazing!
  3. The thing I noticed by her baby-doll cradle? There was my baby blanket covering a book. Now, I have NOT read to her in the glider yet. And I *KNOW* that blanket was in the closet the night before. That means... Daddy took her to her room and read her a book. :) Only sad part is I wish I could have seen it.
Those were the "Best of times" moments. Now for the "Worst of times" moments. Emma is definitely constipated. She cannot have formula at all apparently. Not milk-based. Not soy-based. She just cannot have it. It makes her so uncomfortable. She is fussy and sad... it's so heartbreaking seeing her hurting like that. You can see it in her face; she's trying to go and it hurts her. She'll try and then burst into tears. There are only a few things that make her feel better. If I put her in the Baby K'Tan and walk around with her, she usually calms right down. If I hold her really close and really, really tight--she calms down. If Daddy holds her for a while, she calms down. We can get her to sleep for a little bit and then it starts again.

I looked up all sorts of ways to make her feel better. Some seemed really weird, so I just waited until this morning to call the doctor. But last night, we did give her a really warm bath. I spent longer in there than I normally would, because a lot of my "mommy friends" recommended it. And it worked pretty well. At least for making her comfortable. It didn't loosen anything, but she was able to sleep from 9pm to 2am. She did want to stay up for about an hour after and play. We laid on the floor in her room on her little play mat, watching the fan go round and round. Playing with the little toys...Just letting her have some fun because we could.

Trial & Error

Emma has been really fussy lately and we couldn't figure out why. I even went so far as to call the doctor. They said it could be a couple of things.
  • She could just not know when she was full, so she would overeat. Then she would spit up and get sick and be miserable. 
  • She could have reflux.
  • She could be lactose-intolerant.
  • She could be formula-intolerant.
  • She could be constipated.
Okay, great. There's a whole list of things and they wanted me to do trial-and-error to figure it out. Little did I know this would be so much harder than it appeared. Since we were just using formula sporadically, they recommended we try soy-based. They even went so far as to give me 2 cans of soy-formula.

When my guy and I had a date-day a while ago, we prepped 2 bottles of formula for his mom. Emma acted like she was still hungry after she had her allotted amount, so her grandma gave her a little more. But it was too much and Emma ended up getting upset again. That lasted about 2 days. We thought it was just a case of overeating.

We tried feeding her while she is mostly upright. Burping often. We switched from milk-based to soy-based. We tried everything we could think of. And my poor baby girl was still uncomfortable. :(

One of the hardest parts about being a mommy to a newborn? It isn't the lack of sleep. It isn't the constant diaper changes, laundry, dishes, cleaning... Nope. It  isn't any of that. It is the fact that your baby cannot tell you what is wrong. They are uncomfortable and they can't tell you what EXACTLY is wrong so you can find the best to fix it. Ugh...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Unexpected Late Night "Visitor"

I totally believe in spirits. In family members who have gone coming back and visiting us during major life events--and sometimes just because. I believe this because it has happened to me several times.

One of the first times happened 6 years ago. We found out in March 2007 my Uncle Timmy was really sick; he had cancer. I was interning at the University of Alabama at the time, right up until a few days before my graduation. I planned on leaving a few days early to go see him, because they were saying he probably wouldn't make it much longer. On May 3rd, my Dad drove down to Alabama to help me move out of my dorm apartment. I had planned on driving straight from Tuscaloosa, AL to Cincinnati, OH--a 7 hour drive. My Dad said I should grab a bite to eat with him before I drove straight through. We were sitting in TGI Fridays when my mom called my cell and asked to speak to my dad. That wasn't a good sign. She told my Dad my Uncle Timmy had passed away. I missed him by one day. I was devastated. I was like 3 or 4 days away from graduating--something my Uncle had always wanted for me. I still drove to Cincinnati, but for his funeral instead of his bedside. That same day I had to drive back to walk in my ceremony the next day.

It really hurt to know my Uncle, a man who had always supported me and who had even helped me find confidence in myself through officiating softball, wouldn't be there. I sat through my graduation ceremony. My Aunt and cousins (my Uncle Timmy's wife and sons) sat in the bleachers of Diddle Arena and witnessed with my family what my Uncle Timmy couldn't. Then something miraculous happened.

President Gary Ransdall, the president of my undergraduate school, quoted the lyrics from Rod Stewart's "Forever Young." My Uncle's song. The song that, every time it came on the radio, he would blare it and make us all stop and listen. My Uncle made my graduation! He must have known there was no way in his physical state he would have been able to make it when he was alive. So he made sure he made it in death. I remember walking out of my ceremony and the first person I came to was my Aunt. I walked straight up to her and said "Well, Uncle Timmy made it." She looked back at me and said "He sure did. He wouldn't have missed it for the world."

Since then, I have only heard His Song a few times on the radio. Always right when I needed to. When I gave birth to my daughter, one of the first thoughts I had our first night with her, after visiting hours were over and every one had left our room, was a sad one. I was sad because there were members of our families Emma would never meet. She would never meet her uncle on her daddy's side, her older brother, her grandma's dad, my Aunt Kim, my stepdad's mom and dad, my Uncle Junior, my Uncle Bill, my Papaw Lawrence, my Nammers or Beer Pap to name a few... and she would never meet my Uncle Timmy.

I seemed to have forgotten how powerful these spirits can be. How determined they can be to make it for those major life moments. Because my Uncle Timmy did come to see my little girl.

Two nights ago, I could NOT get Emma to calm down. She was fussy... didn't need to eat... didn't need a diaper change... She was just fussy. I took her downstairs with me while I switched the laundry over. I turned my iPod on random so there was some music going. Then "Forever Young" came on. And she stopped fussing. She and I danced around the basement for the whole song.

I know in my heart that was my Uncle Timmy coming to meet my little girl.

And I know he loved her.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Super-Mom, I am not

Apparently I have been trying to take on too much. Go figure!

I try really hard to keep my home clean but it seems to catch up with me. Laundry, bottles, diapers, dishes... they can really start to stack up if you aren't careful. And it's easy enough to let your guard down when you are sleeping a lot less than normal. (Or not at all sometimes.) Considering how OCD I can be, this has been a really tough thing to accept.

I look around my living room. It is filled with a baby swing, a Rock N Play, a playmat, a tub with diaper-changing necessities... plus all the normal Living Room things... and a basket of Laundry I still need to fold. My kitchen is being threatened to be taken over with bottles and the car seat (easier to get her in it and to the car if it's in the kitchen) and mail. Sometimes I don't want to make our bed because it's so inviting to get back into when it is messy! lol

But then I take another look. My living room is filled with a baby swing, a Rock N Play, a playmat, and a tub with diaper-changing necessities. My kitchen is filled with bottles and a car seat. My bed is rumpled (more from lack of sleep--getting in and out of bed every few hours through the night). These are all indicators, reminders of the precious baby I gave birth to a little over 2 weeks ago. The adorable bundle of joy who fills our lives and hearts. Seeing her smiles, seeing her stick her little tongue out. Feeling her grab our fingers and try to pull herself up. Watching her little legs kick and stretch, as she tries to get up and moving (ALREADY!)... All these moments fill my days and make my drive to clean the house diminish. Somewhat.

But let's be honest. You cannot change who you are completely. I am someone who likes having a clean home. So striking a balance between watching her grow and cleaning my home is still something I am working on. Both fill me with immense pride and joy, but I have yet to manage the balance I want.

Then there's the actual "work" I am trying to do. The "job" I am trying to do in addition to watching Emma and cleaning my home. I want to make things as easy on my family as I can. I don't want to have my guy work endlessly so that he can financially support us while I am on UNPAID Maternity Leave. I want to watch him with Emma. I want him to get moments with her like I get. In order for that to happen, I have to find a way to bring in some income. I have to work.

My problem is that I am used to working 40+ hours a week, minimum. In actuality, in undergrad and grad school--so most of my adult life-- I would work more like 70 hours a week between my jobs. Now, with me in the "real world" and at an office that doesn't really allow overtime, I typically work right up to the 40 hours marker. These days, I have to re-frame my mindset. I cannot physically work 40 hours. There's no way! I am usually running on about 3-4 hours of sleep (when Emma is sleeping through well through the night). Add in the cleaning I mentioned earlier, and all the time spent with visitors, and there's NOT 40 hours left in the week! There's just not!

And speaking of visitors... I am doing a TERRIBLE job of making sure Emma gets out and about to see her family. They all live so close, but sometimes--at the end of the day--I look back on the day and realize she didn't see anyone but me and her daddy that day. It can make me feel a little disappointed in myself. Like I am failing her AND the family. I know they all want to see her all the time. I know they all love her and want to shower her with kisses and hugs and squeezes. This is even more evident when we finally do get out and see them. Like last night. We took her to her Gma's house for her great-gma's birthday. And her little cousin-who's 3- was ECSTATIC to see her. He ran right up and took my jacket off, making sure we were staying a while. Then he immediately wanted to change her diaper. And put baby lotion on her. And love on her. He kept coming up to me and saying "Em-ma. Em-ma." He loves her so much and it broke my heart a little to know he hadn't spent a lot of time with her because I hadn't gotten out of the house much.

Wednesday night I had a mini meltdown. I was EXHAUSTED! (Emma hadn't slept at all the night before). I had been at my mom's all day working and helping her. I forgot to pack a lunch and didn't want to order food (trying to save money), so I was starving. I get home and see the mess that my home was starting to become. It was also upwards of 90-100 degrees that day, so I was dealing with that too. And Emma. Emma didn't recognize my mom's house or the dogs there, so she wouldn't let me set her down for almost 3 hours! Have you ever tried to do computer work while holding an 8lb baby? Shew!

Anyways, like I said-with all that going on, I had a mini meltdown. My boyfriend looked at me and said that I need to cut back on working. He said I need to take these few weeks off completely. We'd find a way to make it work. Well, tuns out a lot of people think the same thing. Even my mom. So, while I'm not going to completely stop working, we are definitely going to cut WAY BACK on the number of hours I work.

And I am going to work really hard to not feel guilty about not being "productive." Whether that's in regards to work-work, or house-work. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Has it really been 2 weeks already?

My baby had her first doctor appointment on Monday, July 8th. The doctor said everything was great; we still had to supplement with formula for a little bit longer because Emma lost over 9 ounces since birth (normal, but add that with the jaundice and they'd rather be safe than sorry--FINE BY ME!! haha) When we were leaving, I went to schedule her 2 week check up. At the time, the receptionist was looking at the calendar and said "July 15th...wait, that can't be right. It can't already be the middle of July?!?" I told her "You're telling me! My baby will be 2 whole weeks at that appointment!"

Yesterday was her check up and she grew half an inch (she's now 20.75 inches). But the biggest thing was she gained 11 ounces in ONE WEEK! She's a chunkster at 7lbs, 12 ounces. The doctor said she was gaining weight "like a champ" and we could stop formula feeding. I bet her daddy will be really happy to hear that! haha Well, I don't know. All the formula we went through these past 2 weeks happened to be free. Either the hospital gave it to us, or I was using the Enfamil from Peek-A-Belly. All free!

I can't believe my baby is 2 weeks old today! And every day I am more amazed by her. She is SUCH a good baby!! She really only cries when she's hungry--sometimes when she needs changed. And she usually does pretty good about sleeping through the night. On our good nights, she wakes up between 12 and 1 to eat, then goes right back to sleep. Her daddy and I wake up at 4:30 so he can go to work, then Emma wakes up at 5 to eat again. It works out great!

Of course the perfect sleeping arrangement isn't every night. If her daddy has to work on something late then she is UP. She is such a Daddy's Girl! When he leaves to go to the gym, she will wake right up when that door closes. And she'll sometimes stay fussy until he gets back home. Then, the second he walks in, she's fine. She also calms down completely if I call him and have him on speakerphone. She loves the sound of her daddy's voice. He says I should try playing Pandora on the iPad for when she's fussy because it worked when he tried it. We'll see how that goes for me though!

Okay, so that's about all we have for now. Time to go feed the little princess! :)
~Happy Mommy!

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Return to Me"

Okay, this movie is SUCH a chick flick! I know it. But I love it. It has Minnie Driver, Bonnie Hunt, David Duchovny, and James Belushi.

Quick Plot: Driver plays a woman who has a heart defect and needs a transplant to live. Duchovny plays the widowed husband; Driver receives his deceased wife's heart. Hunt plays Driver's best friend and Belushi is Hunt's husband. They are obviously the comedic relief a lot of times.

I don't want to give any of the story away, so I'm going to write the real reason for this post. I really feel like Hunt & Belushi's marriage is so much like me and my boyfriend!! I didn't realize it at first, or even when I first watched the movie--even the first hundred times!!-- but I think I've always been looking for a relationship like that one.

See Hunt is a stay at home mom with 5 kids. She's strong-willed and fun, always a little frazzled (FIVE KIDS remember?!?) but manages to keep it all together. Belushi is a cop who is a little scatterbrained and kind of irreverent (in a fun way). They have these little "fights" that are just so typical of couples who have been together forever.
Example: They are getting ready to eat dinner and one of their sons says "If you don't like priests, you'll go straight to hell." Then Hunt looks at Belushi and says "Great, you taught him 'Hell'." Belushi goes: "How do you know you didn't teach him Hell?" She says "I've never said Hell in my life you SOB." Just funny and real.

Then there's the way they are together. They are always wanting to touch each other. Nothing "weird." Just comforting. Like when they are in the kitchen and Belushi is shirtless drinking a beer; Hunt & Driver are talking about guys. Hunt & Driver start laughing at Belushi so he does this belly roll thing. And Hunt puts her arms around him--hugging him from behind. It's just so loving.

This is soooo me & my bf 10...15 years down the road! :)
It's those fun and simple moments in the movie that remind me of how great my relationship is. Watching this movie is like looking into a crystal ball. I can totally see me and him having those same moments down the road.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

He really is that amazing!

So this is just a quick little "shout out" to the amazing guy I call my boyfriend. It might seem a little redundant after the last blog I posted, but that blog was late in coming. This is because of the little things he did yesterday and the day before which just made me love him that much more.

So Monday, he didn't get to stay at home for very long. He worked a long day and then had to run errands after. But Emma knew when he left. He got home around 2:30pm and she was asleep. Then he left around 3. As soon as the front door shut, she woke up and was "looking" for him. He got back home, only to have to run out again. And again... when the front door shut, she went from asleep to wide awake and looking for him. Around 10, I started getting tired. And Emma started getting *really* cranky/fussy. I called my boyfriend to see if he knew how much longer he was going to be. If he was on his way home, then I was going to try and stay awake. If not, then I was going to put her in her Rock N Play to sleep. I put him on speakerphone since I was holding Emma. When he picked up, she immediately stopped crying. She was quiet as a mouse and stared right at the phone the whole time. She was a little angel! Then the call ended and she went back to being fussy! lol

Then there was yesterday/last night. My guy spent a good part of the evening trying to figure out what was going on with his mom's car. It took a lot longer than he thought it would; so, once he was done, he took Emma and spent time with her before we went to bed. He wanted to be the one to feed her. He wanted to hold her until the very last second. And he did great with her. She went right to sleep when he laid her down at 11:30pm. Then he crawled into bed. And the best part...he made sure I was right next to him. I love the feeling of knowing he's right there and wants me right beside him.

He makes me feel amazing. He takes such good care of our daughter. Every time he looks at her, you can see him falling more in love with her. And then--taking over so late at night when he knows he has to be up really early the next day!! What an amazing and caring dad. And there are times when it's just the two of us relaxing on the couch...and I feel like my world is perfect. Everything I need is right there in arms' reach. Life is pretty awesome right now. And it is thanks, largely in-part, to my incredible boyfriend.

Welcome Home Party

Sorry these are taking so long to post. I didn't realize how much time you lose each day as a new mommy...even with the baby sleeping most of the day! haha

So we were finally able to bring Emma home on Friday. My boyfriend had talked about having everyone over to our place as a Welcome Home Party for her. Especially after the NICU scare, we really didn't want to tote her around to everyone's houses. We figured if we had everyone here, then they could all spend as much time with her as they wanted. No rushing around. No one getting missed.

We were initially going to have it on Saturday, but there were a few family members that definitely couldn't make that day (and it would have been ridiculously short notice), so we moved it to Sunday. Because that extra day's notice is huge, right?!? lol

Sunday morning came. My guy went and scored a major discount on patio cushions and umbrella. We got a TON of food, snacks, drinks, things like that. Plus people brought a little bit of everything. So we were set on food and drinks. It turned into a gorgeous day. Actually, it was a little warm. We stayed outside for HOURS! Playing bags. Snacking. Passing Emma around so everyone got a chance to hold her. Overall it was just an amazing day.

After everything was cleaned up, everyone had gone home, and Emma was resting from a fun-filled day; I got to take a good look around and really see what had happened this day. Our home was FILLED with people who love us and adore our baby. So many people took time out of their day--on short notice--to come spend time with us, see Emma, love on her. Everyone was laughing and joking around. My guy looked so relaxed, surrounded by people who care about him and are happy to see him so happy. When I looked up from my chair or out the kitchen window while tidying up, and I got to see him laughing and joking around with our family and friends and made me that much more happy.

I looked around and realized my life is as complete as is physically and emotionally possible right now. I look at my home and take pride in it; we have worked so hard to fix things up and even tackled a few big projects this year. I look at my boyfriend and feel all sorts of emotions: I love this person who makes sure we are all taken care of. I am proud of every thing he accomplishes because he works so hard for every thing. I am blessed beyond measure and don't know if I could ever truly say how thankful I am for having him in my life. Then I look at my little girl. This part of me/part of him that I have been waiting for my entire life. Having a daughter; that alone is a miracle. But to be blessed with a little girl who is so very good... I didn't know anyone could be that lucky.

NICU = Neurotic Mommy

I always swore I wan't going to be one of those "neurotic new moms." I mean, I have been around babies my whole life. I baby-sat brand newborns even. I'm not one to get overly concerned with hospitals or things like that. But then Day 2 with Emma happened and I turned into one of "those moms."

Wednesday, July 3rd--everything seemed normal. The nurses took Emma back for her tests. They said she had some fluid in her right ear, so they would have to take her back later that day. Other than that, they said she was fine. We went the whole day and no one mentioned anything being wrong. Later that night, after visiting hours were over, the nurse came and took her for her follow up on her right ear. When they brought her back, they said she was good. No problems. About that time, I noticed she looked a little more yellow than I remembered, but they were telling me she was fine so I didn't think to ask about jaundice.

The next morning was the 4th of July. We had been told repeatedly that we would be leaving that day. My doctor knew we would want to spend the holiday with our families, so he showed up at 7:45am and gave me the go ahead. The nurses get telling me we were just waiting for the pediatrician to come in and tell us we could all go home. We were waiting, and waiting, and waiting. At 9:45am, I got a call from the desk staff stating that there was someone who wanted to come visit. I told them sure, but then they said they needed to talk to my nurse. She was actually in the room with me at the time, so I handed the phone over to her. She told the staff person that visiting hours didn't start until 11am, so they would have to come back. I told her I didn't mind if they came up early; we would probably be leaving shortly and I didn't want anyone to miss seeing her. The nurse said no, though.

My boyfriend and I were waiting on the doctor when she strolled in around 11:15am. She said the billi-numbers were a little high and she wanted to run the test again. She told us that we should be able to leave that day; we would just need to get Emma out in the sunlight a few minutes every hour before 10am and after 3pm. "Okay," we thought. We can do that. My guy's aunt and uncle and my little sister showed up shortly after the doctor left. They held her and played with her until the nurse came to take her back for her test. Now, this really upset me. I mean, YOU KNOW when the visiting hours start. Why would you 1) have the doctor come in after the hours start? and 2) order a test to be done after those hours? ESPECIALLY when you knew the night before that there was a distinct possibility you would have to run the test again?? I mean, people can drive a long way to visit with the baby (and these 3 people did); and their visit gets cut short because the doctor just moseyed on in when she felt like it?? So irritated.

The test took about 30 minutes. They brought her back to us and we all got to visit some more. I held off on feeding her because I didn't want the nurse to come in halfway through and be like: "Okay, you can leave now." When they discharged us, we just wanted to go home. Well then it just got later and later so I fed her around 1:30pm. We still hadn't heard from the doctor again. We kept asking the nurse, and she kept saying she had paged the doc. Finally the phone rang. It was the doc. She said she had been calling around for at home care, but--since it was the holiday--none of them were open. Which meant: Our baby was being sent to NICU. I started crying right then on the phone with the doctor and had to hand it off to my guy. He got all the details she could give (which didn't seem like much).

Then the nurse came and put my baby girl in the "travelling crib" and walked us to NICU. When we got there, Nurse A started telling us some things about what happens in NICU for jaundice. But it seemed like she didn't know what was going on because Nurse B (an actual NICU nurse) would stop her and say things like "Not always," or "only if we need to do that..." Then they were running around trying to figure out if our baby was going to get a double dose or triple dose or the lighting. No one seemed to know. It was so hectic and scary. When they finally figured it all out, they showed us how the lights work and the little eye mask she had to wear. Then they told me I could only hold her when I fed her. And they were limiting that to 10 minutes each side and then 15ml of bottle, plus burping time. No more than 25-30 minutes every 3 hours.

That's it. My baby was only 48 hours old and they were sitting there telling me I couldn't hold her anymore. When we asked why this happened, they said it was because her protein levels were too high because she wasn't going enough, because I was solely breastfeeding and my milk hadn't come in yet. Great... so I was doing something I thought was the best thing for my baby and I am partly to blame for her being in this little room all by herself? That was not what I needed to hear. I couldn't talk to anyone at all that day because every time I did, I just started crying. My boyfriend had to hold me while I cried uncontrollably I don't know how many times. He kept saying it was better that we found out while we were still here and not once we got her home... At least this way they could put us in "hospitality" (we'd get to stay in our room but none of the perks: no nurse with meds, no food service... no towels even!) and we could stay there to stop in and feed her every 3 hours.

A completely new nurse came in and wanted me to sign a document stating that I understood the limits of hospitality. I was okay with everything.... except that they weren't going to let my guy stay the night. They were going to make him leave at 8:30pm and not be allowed back until 11am. There was absolutely no way I would have made it alone. I told her this and told her I would talk to her manager because it didn't make sense. The lead nurse called me and said they would make an exception for us.

I set my phone alarm for every 3 hours. And every 3 hours I'd waddle down the hall, out to the "common area," down another hall and to NICU. I'd spend my 30minutes with her. I'd talk to her and touch her head and fingers and toes. I couldn't get enough of her... and yet the 30minutes would end and they'd make me put her back. My guy got to feed her a few times too.

The next day was horrible. My guy took me out to breakfast and then to his grandmother's house. He said if we stayed at the hospital we would just spend the entire time looking at the clock. Waiting for the next 3 hours to roll around so we could feed her, waiting to hear when they would release her. Finally, at 1:45 on Friday, my guy's phone rang. It was the NICU nurses saying she was going to be released. We were pulling into the hospital parking lot at that time anyways... but then we really got moving. My guy parked the car and I waited for him inside. (it was really hot that day!) Then we were rushing around our hospital room, making sure we had everything. We booked it to the NICU and there she was. Off the lights. Just waiting for us. I was so happy. I couldn't get enough of her. My guy filled out all the paperwork, got all the instructions while I got her dressed in her coming-home outfit...again.

We brought her home and couldn't get enough of her. My guy took her to her nursery and sat in the rocker, reading a few books to her. We had a few people come over, but overall, we tried to keep it pretty simple. That night though, I started to panic. Right before bed, I changed her diaper and suddenly she looked so yellow again. I couldn't breathe. My guy called his mom and she came over. She said we were just being paranoid. Maybe we were. But I knew I was going to be worried about it until we went to her doctor appointment on Monday.

So that was our first scare. I didn't think it would come so soon after having her, but there it was.

Update: Luckily, at her check-up, the doctor told me everything looked good and I could stop worrying.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Emma's birthstory

Emma is here. She's all of 3 days old and I still can't believe the miracle I get to hold now. I figured I'd go ahead and write out her "Birth Story" because there are parts of it even I still can't believe.

My dad and his mom came in on Monday. We went to dinner so I could eat a "really good meal" before I went to be induced. My dad had said repeatedly he did not want to know the gender, so we have been trying for MONTHS to keep it from him. Of course we almost let it slip numerous times in the few hours before we went in!! lol We were talking about what I should get my little sister for her bday since it is/was July 2nd. My bf said, "Well she'll be here that day, so that'll be a nice gift for your sister." HAHA Then at dinner, my sister was telling a story and let the baby's name slip!! I punched the side of her leg under the table and had to keep myself from laughing too hard. My grandmother even let it slip when we got home from dinner after giving them both crap! haha

Speaking of after dinner: When I went to my doctor appointment earlier that morning, the doctor and I confirmed I needed to be at the hospital by 8pm to start induction. We got a phone call around 6:30pm from the hospital. The person I spoke too said they were "overbooked" and I would have to come in later. They didn't know how much later and would give me a call. If I didn't hear anything by 9pm, I needed to call them. I got upset and told everyone what I was told. My bf was upset too so he called. This time he was told they weren't "overbooked;" they just had a lot more people go into active/natural labor than they had planned and there wasn't room. Okay, makes sense. I can deal with them having to take women who went into labor unexpectedly. Makes more sense than telling someone you are "overbooked." We called back @ 9pm and they said someone had just had their baby; they have to keep them for 2 hours, so we should check in around 11pm.

We showed up at the hospital a little after 11pm. I went to registration and let them know the deal. We tried  to tell them the baby would not be under my insurance, but under her dad's; they said we could fill all that out later. Okie dokie. Then the registration lady calls up and tells them to send a wheelchair transport. Apparently someone up there said "Well, she's being induced so she can walk right?" I told them I didn't mind walking as I heard it would speed up labor. Anything to get me going! Turns out this actually was a problem: You need the transport people for more than just pushing a need their ID badge to get where you are going! We get to the elevators and can't get on because we don't have a badge. We find the public elevators and take those to L&D...only to find out we again need the ID badge to get in! We ring for the nurse. She comes over and tells us we should have had a wheelchair because they just mopped and the floor is really wet. Umm... we were told to walk up! Sheesh. It took them 30 minutes to get us into our room.

After we get in our room, I have to change into the robe-gown. Then answer questions for an hour. Once that's done, the nurse says she is going to call the doctor and see what he wants to do next. I happen to agree with the point my bf made: Why didn't she call the doc to find out what he wanted to do and ask questions while we waited?? After another 15 or so minutes, the nurse comes back and says we are going to do fluids and then the Pitocin. She screwed up the IV on my right hand so bad there was an air-pocket! And instead of admitting she screwed up, she tried to push the pocket. Kind of like you would if you were putting a screen cover on your phone and there was an air bubble.
She moved to the left hand and couldn't get it. She finally gets the IV on the side of my left arm. I was just glad to have that over and done with.

The nurse came back in at 1:45 to start the pitocin. (FYI: This is when I consider myself to be "induced" and the start of my labor. I will base all labor times off a 1:45 start....) She gets me going at a level 2. For the next 3 hours I have a good amount of contractions. Some get pretty high up there--upwards of 50, whatever that means. They weren't too terrible though. I mean, yes-some were uncomfortable, but they were bearable. I thought to myself: I can totally do this without an epidural (which was my goal). My bf started getting texts from family asking how I was doing, etc. He said the pit must not be working because I hadn't complained yet! LOL

At 4:30am, my doctor came in and said I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced. He decided to break my water. Little did I know the nurse also decided to up my Pitocin level at the same time! She bumped me up to a level 4. All of a sudden my contractions were right on top of one another. For 90 minutes they wouldn't stop. I could hardly breathe! One didn't end before the next one began. I was miserable. I was in so much pain; my bf crawled into the bed with me. He just held me the best he could with one arm, letting me use his other hand to grip during the worst part of the contractions. This seriously went on for 90 minutes. I finally decided to get the epidural. I figured I didn't know how long my labor would be and if it was too long and continued like this, there would be no way I could push her out.

The nurse came back and checked me. Said I was still just 3cm dilated, but I was 100% effaced. That's when they started the fluids again. You have to have fluids before you get the epidural. Takes almost another hour and a half for the fluids. So I was laboring "naturally" for three hours in constant, never-ending pain. The anesthesiologist came in and let me tell you... I LOVED that man after he gave me the epidural!! He was a really nice guy. Told me about his 2 little girls, talked to me about anything BUT the epidural and labor, which helped take my mind off it. He did explain what was going on but just let it be simple.

Took 2 hours to get to 5cm dilated, 100% effaced. Then an hour and a half to get to 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, Stage -1. (That means, she was just a little high up, but *right there*). That was at 11:45am. At 12:25 I looked at my bf and family/friends who were in the room with me at this point. (There were a lot of us!) I told my bf he needed to go get the nurse. I said, "I think I'm done dilating." He just looked at me like I was nuts. He asked how I "knew." I told him I didn't know how I knew, but just *KNEW IT* He went to get the nurse. When she came in I told her the same thing. I told her it felt completely different than it did even an hour ago. She kind of rolled her eyes (wouldn't you?!?) and checked me. Then she got this shocked look on her face. She said "Well, you are 10cm. You're done! Time to call doc and deliver this baby!" I knew it!. I just knew something was different.

We kicked everyone out and started the labor process. I pushed for what seemed like forever. The doc came in and eventually told me that the baby was turned just a little bit. Her nose was supposed to be at 6 o'clock and it was at more like 8 o'clock. So every push for the longest time, was just so he could turn the baby into the right position. After he got her into position, then my pushes were to be used to get her out!

My bf was on my right, coaching me through the whole thing. He would tell me how far out her head was. Tell me when to breathe. Help push my leg up during a contraction/push. He was so excited to meet our daughter. He'd tell me to keep pushing, don't stop; even when I was out of breath, he'd say "She's almost here, just keep pushing!" It was cute to see him that excited, but I was exhausted already! At one point my nurse--who I LOVED--had to leave to go start pitocin on another patient. So the male Med Student grabbed my other leg and took over where nurse had to leave off. Plus there were two female Med Students by the door. My doc, at one point, told me 5 more pushes and my daughter would be out. So I pushed...and breath and push.... and breath and push.... ok. I thought that was three. My doc goes "Okay, four more of those." I looked up at him and said "What are you talking about? What were those? Military style?!?!?" Everyone started laughing. I would have too, except I was starting to wear out.

After a little while longer, my doc ended up having to give me an episiotomy. And then I pushed some more. In the end, her umbilical cord was just sooo short, that every time I pushed, the cord would pull her back in. So they had to suction her out. They put her on top of my chest and let me see my beautiful daughter. I was in love the second I saw her. She was sooo perfect to me. Then they took her over to the station and weighed/measured her. About two seconds after they took her, my bf asked if I minded if he was there by her instead of by me. I told him "Not at all. Go see our baby girl." He stood there, taking pictures of her the entire time she was there. He was actually the one to bring her back to me after we were both cleaned up some.

I laid there, holding my daughter, thinking I had never seen any baby more beautiful. She started looking around. I asked if she was looking for her daddy. My bf said "What?" And then she stopped looking around! It was like she just wanted to make sure he was still there! Too perfect!

We had everyone come in and see her. She was passed around for so long. Everyone kept saying how adorable she is and just wanted to hold her. I couldn't blame them. She is pretty spectacular. My mom, my dad, and my bf's mom were the first to come in. My dad was in awe of her. He came over to me and I said "Look, Daddy. You have a granddaughter." He said "Yes I do. I have a granddaughter and a great-daughter." I can't remember the last time I saw my dad that happy, as happy as he was holding my little Emmaleigh.

2 hours later, they rolled me over to the Mommy-Baby wing. We set up there, ready to spend the next 2 days required. What happened next needs its whole other post for itself!

Monday, July 1, 2013

My "Forever Job"

When kids are little, we always ask them: What are you going to be when you grow up? And you get all sorts of answers. Firefighter. Bull Rider. Astronaut. Doctor. Lawyer (yes I had a little kid tell me that once!). Some--well few--really follow through with those initial dreams. Mainly because there are so many dreams that a little kid has, that they change all the time.

But then there are those select few that know EXACTLY what they want to be when they grow up. And they go through school knowing, planning, training to be that one thing. Of those select few, even less actually get to accomplish their dream. And you always wonder-at that exact moment they realize they have just achieved their dream, if their thinking: "What's next?"

Then there's me. You can ask ANYONE in my family. Since my very first baby doll, I have only ever wanted to be a mom. Every "career" I chose was based on that one thing. If I said I wanted to be an architect, I always followed it up with "because then I can bring my babies along with me and they can get a REAL education." Or I'd say a teacher so I could be home when my babies were home. That sort of thing.

Basically, what I'm trying to say, is that I am about to start the only "job," the only "career" I have ever wanted my entire life. I am HOURS away from being a mom. And the great part about "fulfilling" my dream, is that I can never and will never say: No What? Because every day will be a new adventure. Every day from here on out I will be a Mommy. I will always worry about my baby and strive to make things better for her.

In the grand scheme of things, I am so thankful for how my pregnancy went. I didn't get gestational diabetes. I didn't have high blood pressure. I didn't gain too much weight. Yes, throwing up and getting little sleep was hard, but when I think now--looking back on what *could* have gone wrong, I am grateful.

So this is it. Probably my LAST POST as a pregnant woman. Last post before I officially become a mommy who holds their baby in their arms. I can't wait to write my first post with my daughter!!

Emmaleigh Grace

Emmaleigh Grace