A birth story: continued

After making it home safely, having none of my fears of death and twisted metal brought to life, we settled into life with a newborn.

The best way to describe it is: weird.
Wonderful but weird. It felt so strange because all of the sudden there is this other little person who depends on you. It's not like you can take home a baby for a couple hours a day to get used to it. You can't experience a trial period of pregnancy to see if you like it. You find out you are pregnant and a very quick 9 months later you are blessed with a little human of your own. There is no preparing yourself for the feeling of being a parent.

The first day was home pretty uneventful. Baby C was a wonderful baby. I was trying to breastfeed but I was having a very hard time with it. So, unwillingly, I was forced to turn to formula.
I cried.
I cried because I felt like I had failed at being a mom. And on our first day home! I was heartbroken. You NEVER hear how hard it can be. All you hear from most mothers is how they have their baby and immediately start breastfeeding. You don't hear about the pain and extreme dedication that it can involve.  I had no idea what I was doing. I knew about colostrum, which is like super baby milk. It comes before your actual milk supply comes in. I didn't know when your milk did come in, it would all come in at once.
At least it did for me.
I was so engorged I couldn't even attempt to breastfeed. A hot shower helped but all I could do was wait for the swelling to go down then attempt to nurse again. I decided to use a pump and supplement with formula. It worked great for me and the baby. I felt better that he was getting the most important things he needed from breast milk and that on the days I couldn't feed him as much, I could use the formula.
Looking back, I should have pumped more often to keep up my supply but that is something I will work harder on with this new baby.
Anyway, thats enough about my mammary glands.

Like I was saying, Baby C was a wonderful baby. He slept great at night, he ate great, but we were worried when he started screaming for some reason we couldn't figure out. After calling friends and family, we figured that maybe he was having gas and it was hurting him. So an emergency run to the store, we gave him some gas tablets which fixed the problem right away.

First minor emergency out of the way, life with a newborn commenced. The first night home was pretty random, with no tangible sleeping schedule; but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Within the week, he had developed a sleeping schedule of about every three hours. I had read that breast milk can stay out and still be good at room temperature for around 4-6 hours. So I would set out a bottle by the bed before I laid down. All I had to do was reach over, grab the bottle, grab the baby from his bassinet, and feed him. It took 15-20 minutes and I was back in bed! Some nights, he would be a little more fussy, so I would lay down with him on my chest and we would both go back to sleep. I have to add, for those of you who just gasped, I am a very very light sleeper. The slightest movement from the baby and I was awake.

And life went on. Learning and loving every minute of it. I learned that he liked to be on his back when he was gassy, he loved his bouncer, and rocking him to sleep works every time. He is very stubborn and fights sleep during the day but not at night. He was strong too! He could hold his head up the day he was born. He amazed me every day with something new.
The first month flew by.

He is now a very stubborn 11 month old with a sense of humor. He likes to dance around in circles and make himself dizzy. He loves his new teeth and tests them out on your leg if you are not watching. He gets hyper sometimes and goes back and forth between his room and the living room, yelling and talking to himself. He loves to climb on the couch and reach for things on the counter. He yells at you if you take a toy he really wants. He can say about 5 words and he's not even a year old. He is as smart as a tack so be careful what you show him how to do.
He is my world.
My sunshine.
My little monkey and I love him to death.

I am excited to bring home a little brother for him. I don't know how he will react or what he will think but I'm sure he will grow to love having a brother. I know it will be hard at first. I know I will be sleep deprived all over again. I'm pretty much starting all over; one year later and I'm back where I started. I get to experience early morning feedings, a gassy screaming baby, and the joys of teething and learning to stand.

I get to do it all over again and I couldn't be more happy.

Bring it on.

A birth story: continued

After my C-section, I'm told, the baby was wheeled up to the nursery to be cleaned and for tests to be run.
This being second hand knowledge because I was passed out, still, and not aware of what was going on. The sleep exhaustion pretty much took over as soon as I saw my baby for the first time.

All the family had a chance to see the baby for the first time while he was in nursery. My mom tells me that he was not liking the bath he got. They were scrubbing and scrubbing his head, (he had so much hair!) and he was crying and hating the whole experience.
I feel bad for him, that his first experience outside of the womb was so uncomfortable. I know there are a lot of people out there that preach how "traumatic" a hospital birth is and how they believe most of it is unnecessary. I don't believe it's traumatic but I do wish all the tests and poking and prodding weren't done all at once. It would have been nice to just hold him right after birth and bond with him instead of him being taken away. I understand he won't remember a thing, and that it doesn't effect the rest of his life. I just wish there were a "softer" way to do things.

Dad tells me that when I was wheeled up to my recovery room, I was moaning and groaning. The nurses kept coming to check on me to see if I would nurse, and I was not waking up anytime soon so they had to wait. After some time, I'm not sure how long, I woke up. I remember looking to my left and seeing the baby in his bassinet by the window. Cody was sitting in a chair in front of me.
I asked to see my baby.
It was so surreal seeing my child. I was looking at him, I could feel him, smell him, but I still couldn't believe I made this little human. He was so soft, so small, and he smelled so great. I kept burying my nose in his hair. And hair he had!
One of the few wives tales that is usually right: heartburn = hairy baby.
I was also born with a full head of hair. My mom tells me the nurses were putting bows in my hair while I was in the hospital. Colton's hair was dark in most spots but he also had fuzzy blonde hair near his face. While I was pregnant, I just knew that he would be born with blond hair and blue eyes. If he would have had anything else, I would have been surprised. His eyes weren't blue right away, but a dark, dark, blue. Almost black.

He has his daddy's eyebrows. Eyebrows that raise half way up his forehead sometimes. I love it. He has my nose, small and round. He is just the prettiest baby.
Big hands, big feet, and broad shoulders predict a football player. :)
I had told Hubby before I got pregnant, that when we did have kids, I wanted a football player.
When I was growing up, my brother was a soccer player. So I've never been in or around a football family and I just think it will so fun. Of course, if he doesn't want to that's fine. I am excited to experience the games, the practice schedule, away games...that kind of thing.
Me and Hubby have agreed that we would like it if our kids would pick at least one sport. Hubby played football, basketball, and track while I was more of a nerd and didn't play any sport. I didn't join any extracurricular till my senior year when I joined everything I could. I realized at the last minute that maybe all these clubs would look good on a college application.
That's what happens when you are first born.
You learn by mistake. Thanks mom.

Anyway, back to the story.
After I woke up and got to see Colton, he was passed around to the rest of the family and scores of pictures were taken. Throughout the day, visitors came to see him. It felt really busy that first day with all the people coming and going. Since I had a c-section, I was able to stay two nights, so there was no hurry.

I hate to admit, I don't remember this. Mom tells me that the first time I held Colton, I wanted skin to skin. I have read all the good points about it and I didn't want to miss the chance. He did start scooting up my chest but I didn't try to nurse till we were all alone.
Granted, half the hospital had seen me and all my glory by that point but I wanted to maintain what dignity I had left. You don't realize, when you go into labor, how often you will be exposed and to how many different people. By the time labor and birth is over, you don't care who sees you. I didn't bother covering up when nurses and doctors would come in but nursing is also very personal. When it's your first child, you have never had to nurse before, and you are trying to bond all at the same time, it was important for me to be alone.
I tried by myself at first. I had read about how you were supposed to do it but putting it into action is a whole different story. After trying and failing, I asked for help. The greatest and nicest nurse ever Molly, came to help. She gave me some pointers and I seemed to have it at first. As the day came to an end, it only got more painful. I tried my hardest the rest of my stay but it hurt so bad. The biggest rule of nursing is that it is NOT supposed to hurt.

By the time we decided to try and get some sleep, we started hearing the neighbors. Some poor girl had given birth that day too, but she was having a much harder time taking care of her baby. That child was screaming and crying so loud and for so long, we began to get worried. We asked the nurse if the baby was okay, and she said that some moms don't get the hang of it right away. I almost felt guilty that Colton hadn't cried once since I had gotten back to my room. They woke me up every four hours to feed him. I felt bad sending him back to the nursery but it was so nice to be able to sleep and not have to worry about him.

The next morning I felt wonderful. Having caught up on my sleep, I was ready to try and get out of bed. For those who have never had a c-section, the fear of moving and it hurting keeps you pretty still for awhile. But they do want you to be able to get out of bed and take a shower the next day. So, very slowly, I turned and tried to get out of bed. Easier said then done. It's not easy and not pain free by any means. Just imagine any time you use any abdomen muscle, you get a sharp, stabbing pain across your stomach. It's not unbearable, but it is so hard not to use those muscles. So in order to get around, you learn fast how to do everything by pulling with your arms, not your abs.

After some pain and practice, I was able to get out of bed and walk around. I wasn't quite ready to try a shower that morning but by the afternoon I was feeling much better. Boy does that first shower feel awesome. You never plan to be all pretty and clean before you go into the hospital so I was looking forward to washing my hair and putting some makeup on.

My incision scar was much bigger then I was expecting. It is at least 6 inches across and on the first recovery day, it is really big. After some time, the scar actually gets smaller and kinda goes away, but there are spots where it had to heal more so the scar tissue is thicker.
We had a few more visitors the second day. Hubby's brother Wayne brought me some flowers and candy, which was really sweet.

One thing I was really surprised by is how good the hospital food actually was! I really enjoyed having food brought to me :) Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two days. It was marvelous. Hubby had to leave and go get his own, which I thought was funny. He was lucky to have a bed though, usually they don't cater to the spouse but Hubby is such a big guy, they had a cot brought up to the room for him. There was no way he would have been able to sleep in a chair. He said it was extremely uncomfortable but at least he had something to lay down on.

The last day, we had to be out by eleven, but paperwork had to be done first. I was so jumbled, I wrote the wrong date on Colton's birth certificate. I had to send in another later and have it fixed. We also had his picture taken. He did really great but they are so overpriced, its not really worth it. We were all checked on to make sure all was well then we checked out. We made sure to grab all the diapers and blankets from the bassinet. No shame, they want you to have it! I had brought plenty, but hey, more diapers never hurt anyone.

I had to be escorted out in a wheelchair (hospital policy) with the baby while Hubby went to bring the car up front. I had a big blue winter onesie thing for the baby but it was about 3 sizes too big. It was so cold outside, I stuffed him into it anyway. He looked like a blue marshmallow.
While we were packing everything in, we noticed how much the carseat wiggled. We summoned Molly again, she's certified in that kind of thing, to make sure we had installed it correctly. She gave us a tip that if you stuff a rolled up towel under the back of the base, it will help stable the whole seat.
Thank you Molly!

The ride home, I was a nervous wreck. Hubby was driving like he always does, which anyone who knows him can tell you, is not the speed limit. He was driving safe, but I personally would have driven, oh, 15 mph. I felt like at any second we were going to be in a horrible and deadly accident. I just felt like, now that we had a baby, all the stupid and blind drivers were on the road and headed straight for us. Every stop light and stop sign had me holding my breath. Every intersection, I was checking for possible dangers. It was a very long drive home.

To be continued...

A birth story

11 months ago I gave birth to a beautiful, blue-eyed baby boy.
I had no idea how drastically, and how much for the better, he would change my life.

Baby C was born February 21st, weighing 9 lbs, 4 oz.
My early labor started on a Friday around 5 am. There wasn't any regularity to my contractions, but they happened enough to keep me tossing and turning the rest of the morning. By the time I got out of bed, they had stopped but I made sure to pay close attention to any more I had during the day and how far apart they were.

I meant to take a nap that day, but my parents were visiting and I wasn't able to. I also didn't go to bed on time, so when my contractions started up again around 1 am, I was already tired. After more tossing and turning and failing to get comfortable, I resigning to pacing. I walked laps around the room for about an hour, timing the contractions. After a while, when I was sure they were lasting a minute, five minutes apart, I decided I was in active labor. I woke Hubby up and filled him in. I sat on the floor, still counting, as he called the hospital to ask what they thought we should do. They told us that it indeed sounded like active labor and for us to come on in.
Once we got the go ahead, we grabbed our pillows and bags. Bags I had packed nearly 4 months earlier.
Considering how early it was, we only called Hubby's dad to share the news and then we were on our way. Thankfully, it wasn't snowing although it was cold as heck. We had already installed the car seat, not wanting to forget it during the rush to the hospital.
The drive was uneventful, but felt very long. I was nervous about the unknown. I was far from being uneducated about child birth; I had read up on everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy and birth. I just didn't want to get to the hospital and be surprised. I knew the "usuals" to expect...I knew to expect at least 15 hours of labor with my first birth. I knew to expect an IV, a catheter, and multiple people asking me if I wanted an epidural.
"No I don't want one."
"Yes, I'm sure"
I knew the pain would challenge my resolve and I knew what a c-section involved, if one was necessary.
I did not expect it to be so slow.

The IV I could have gone without.
Whenever I talk about that day, I always say that getting the IV put in was the worst pain. It felt like a knife was stabbing and scraping the bone in my arm. I have very small veins on the top of my arms and the nurses had a hard time trying to find one.
After 4 tries, and 2 nurses, it was finally in.
That doesn't mean it stop hurting.
The pain made me vomit. Labor was a breeze comparatively.
I got mad because Hubby didn't believe me when I told him it wasn't because I was scared of the needle. It was the pain of the needle digging around in my arm. The thought makes me shudder.

The contractions were not that bad. It took a long time before they were really painful, but it helped when I concentrated on even breaths. I do have to say, I'm glad I took that birthing class. The breathing techniques really do help. I didn't do them the way I was taught, but the idea is the same.
I, again, refused any meds. I could handle the pain and how uncomfortable I was. The back labor was rough simply because there is no position known to man that makes you feel better. Those big medicine balls helped a little though. Since sitting on one didn't put extra pressure on my back, it helped.

After around 15 hours of labor, I was really struggling to stay awake. I was falling asleep between contractions and wasn't really aware of anything else going on. I remember people telling me there was no shame in getting pain meds so that I could sleep. I flat out refused an epidural but after some persuading, I accepted Nubain. It was an IV med that numbed the pain long enough for me to get an hour or two of sleep. It was wonderful to be able to rest for awhile and it helped me gain back some energy I desperately needed.

The Pitocin they had started me on when I got to the hospital wasn't helping. (It is something I plan on declining this go around.) I was hardly progressing at all so they decided to break my water. I remember it felt very weird and I kept saying "gross!".
I got out of bed again to sit on the medicine ball and wait.

Looking back, I realize I had too many people in the room waiting with me. I appreciated the concern but I didn't have the privacy I would have preferred.
Labor was long. Very. very. very long. I was expecting 15-ish hours, but it was turning into 17, 18, 19 hours and still no progress. I became really agitated wondering what is taking so long?! I was angry, frustrated, impatient, and so ready to have this baby. I remember I kept asking them to check me and each time, no progress. It took me 21 hours to dialate 9.5 centimeters.
Twen-ty one hours.

I was finally dialated enough to start pushing. Let me tell you, it is harder then you think. You have to push through your bottom and I just had a hard time getting the hang of it. I really don't know if the baby moved down at all during that time. I just remember my doctor yelling at me to push harder and longer. It was hard for me to hold my breath for the ten seconds they want you to. I have the lung capacity of a gerbil. 
My mom said that she felt the doctor was a little rough, pushing me too hard. But I actually appreciated it. I was getting upset which made me push harder plus I wasn't really worried about anything else except getting that baby out.
After an hour and a half of pushing, I wasn't making any progress. I remember looking at my doctor, and she at me, and she asked, 
"Well? What do you want to do?"
I told her I felt like nothing was happening and it would probably be best to go for a c-section. My energy supply was gone hours ago and I didn't know how much longer I could keep going. She agreed and left to go get ready.
I had to wait another hour for the surgical team to get everything ready.
I slept between contractions.
I don't remember being taken to the OR. I do remember getting up on the table and leaning over for my spinal. It took 6 tries because I kept falling asleep and leaning too far. But once the anesthiologist got the spinal right, I felt it immediatley. 
It was glorious.
My contractions melted away as I laid down. 
I breathed a sigh of relief.
They waited a minute for the spinal to take full effect. The poked my belly to test but I could still feel it so they tilted the table down to help the medicine work its way down.

They brought in Hubby to sit with me then they began. I wasn't worried. I was so tired and numb that I wasn't thinking about anything else. The doctors were chatting and joking with each other as they cut me open. They actually made me giggle...but the sleep exhaustion may have contributed to that.
I was completely relaxed as they tugged and pulled. It was strange feeling pressure but no pain. 
After a few minutes, I heard one small little cry and the doctor say,
"God, look at those shoulders!"
There was no way he would have delivered naturally. He had the shoulders of a linebacker.
He was cleaned off and wrapped up, then they brought him over for me to see.

"He's so pretty!" was the first thing I said. 
I was all smiles and tears, I couldn't believe it.

There was this moment.
I fell head over heels in love for my son.
I could feel something turn on, like I had been blind to what love could really be. And now I knew.
I knew that for the rest of my life, I would do anything for that boy. I would love this child till the end of time.
It was instantaneous.
I will never forget that feeling.

Shopping therapy

After a boring morning at the house, me and the baby were starting to get cabin fever so I took advantage of the rare sunny day we were having and headed to town.

Driving relaxes me.
I can turn the radio up and get my thoughts together. So I don't mind the 45 minute drive, up and over a mountain, to get to where the good shops are.

I immediately hit up my favorite store ever: TJ Maxx.
That store is a God send for people like me who are experimenting with their decorating skills but do not have a decorator's budget.
I'm 8 months prego so I haven't shopped for clothes in 6 months so I hit up the home goods department.

I'm focusing on decorating the guest room and the kitchen.
The guest room needs more cosmetic touches then anything. I really need to paint the walls but I know that won't be for awhile so I'm focusing on lamps, vases, wall art..etc.
With the kitchen, I'm slowly replacing things I already have and upgrading for better quality pieces.

I am having a ball doing this and it makes me incredibly happy that I can find a $55 lamp for $10.
A few more things and a grand total of $40 later, I am one happy customer.

Mama likes.

Things I miss...

1. I miss being a new mom.
I miss the time when I debated whether or not to use a wipe warmer, trying to pick a brand of diapers, and when I didn't know what an aspirator was. I honestly miss not knowing what I was doing.
Is that crazy?

2. I miss having a job.
I have been pregnant and jobless for just over a YEAR AND A HALF.
Thats a long time.
And thanks to my ironic luck, I was offered my old job back today. I had to decline and apologize since I'm due in 6 weeks. But they said they would give me a call back around April if they still needed me.
Dang it.

3. I miss my pre-baby body.
Sure I wasn't a size two, but I have been pregnant so long, I can't remember what a (relatively) flat belly feels like.

4. I miss having a schedule.
Right now, I have no schedule. No job, which means no daycare, and no school = I'm available any time, any day.
I enjoy being busy but I know that will kick in soon. Hopefully within the year, I will have a job and be back in school. Can't wait!

5. I miss Virginia.
I would rather drive two hours to shop then have to settle for what is available around here.
I also miss the weather.

I would list that I miss having a newborn but that would be silly.
Anyone who knows me, knows that a newborn is not far away!

Job offer

I got a job offer today.

I had to decline, for the moment at least.
It was from my old job at the Humane Society, so they knew already that I'm expecting within the near month.
They told me they would call back in April.
Dang it.

I wish I could take it.
I wish I could go right back to work.
But right now, it's just not possible.
Dang it.

Dang it, dang it, dang it.

A scale

10. How much I hate snow.

9. My level of hunger at this moment.

8. The number of times a day I snack.

7. The number of weeks I have left in my pregnancy.

6. The number of times I pee a day.

5. My level of uncomfortableness. (is that a word?)

4. The number of times I cry a day. Thanks a lot hormones.

3. The season of Grey's I'm watching right now.

2. My level of back pain.

1. How many days left till Hubby is off work.

The hunger is taking over...

over and out.

Pantry raider

My son is a pantry raider.

It was worse then this. He made a huge mess of the kitchen.
Once he gets going, its best to just let him have his fun and pick everything up after he gets bored.

Then wait for him to do it all over again!

Grandma loved it though...

Grandma loves everything about that kid.

And he loves her back. :)


We took a couple days to drive down and visit my parents in Virginia.

On the way back, I had to stop and take pictures, because I have never seen this before.

The river had frozen solid and was breaking apart.
All the broken pieces were getting stuck in the bends of the river.

Here in a straight stretch, they were flowing downstream.

We sat and watched as the ice floated by.

Pretty awesome.


Scarlett is a two month baby with a brain tumor.

Read the very moving story of how her parents are trying to be strong for their first born while battling the enormous weight of knowing how quickly things could end. (here)

Join the facebook group (here) to show your support by wearing red this Wednesday.

2010: A Retrospective

2010 has been a busy year.

I started the year like so:

That was a rough day.

Almost 24 hours of back labor only to have a C-section.
Geez...I wish they could have told me sooner that my son's shoulders were those of a linebacker. Would have saved me all the breathing exercises.

But the result was worth every second.

9 pounds, 4 ounces of beautiful blue eyes and a head of hair Burt Reynolds would be proud of. I love this picture so much simply because he looks so soft.

Ignore the absence of makeup. I wasn't really thinking about how I looked when I realized I was in labor. I just hightailed it to the hospital.

They weren't kidding when they told me my first shower after giving birth would be heaven. Although mine wasn't as pleasant with my (what seemed like) humoungous c-section incision that prevented me from bending down lest I succumb to stabbing pain.

All incisions and pain meds aside, I am to this day, amazed by how immediate my love exploded for this child. I was instantly and undeniably head over heels for that little man. I couldn't get enough of how wondrous he smelled, how so very dark blue his eyes were, and how he could hold his head up from day one. He is my pride and joy.

Fast foward five months to July.
I invited my parents, my brother, my best friend and her hubby and daughter, and another friend and her hubby and son to a Fourth of July bar-b-que that evening.
The day started out with the shortest parade I've ever seen.
It including three floats, carrying some kids and the class of 1964, some classic cars, and a horse and carriage.
If I would have blinked, I would have missed the whole thing.

Next was a little sight-seeing with my mom, brother, and the baby. I drove them north, following the river, stopping along the way to admire the mountain views and the occasional waterfall.

We stopped for lunch at a little Italian restaurant.

Later that day, my best friend and her hubby came over to go fishing. Rachel was the only one to catch anything.
We all wanted to push her into the pond.

After dinner, my parents and brother went back down to Virginia. Me, my hubby, my best friend, and her family headed to Alderson for the "big" Fourth of July fireworks display.


After a short show with a lot of patriotic displays and songs, I made an announcement I had been holding back since the bar-b-que.


Rachel didn't believe me when I told her. I don't blame her, considering I had just given birth a couple months ago.


The baby couldn't believe it either.

The next couple months brought a wave of milestones.
August brought swinging.

The baby started getting really mobile around 6 months, rolling around everywhere.
In September, he learned how to pull himself up onto his feet.
By October, he was walking.

Along with a couple teeth, my boy was growing like a weed. One minute he's tiny and cuddly, next he's zooming around the living room, refusing to stand still.

Me and the hubby got to take our first real vacation together this year.

For three days it was just us two, eating overpriced cheesecake and doing a whole lot of relaxing. I really enjoyed our time together and didn't worry about the baby near as much as I thought I would. Turns out, he did just fine without me. I look foward to our next vacation. :)

By the end of the year, I had matured as a person and learned a LOT as a new mother. I know the difference between an "I'm hungry" cry and an "I'm just whining" cry. I can smell a dirty diaper two rooms away and fix babys breakfast with one hand.
Don't forget I'm pregnant.
My mood swings have increased ten fold since my last pregnancy. I really give the hubby kudos for putting up with me. I get on my OWN nerves, I'm so irritated all the time.

Overall, it's been a fantastic year. I have grown closer and fallen more in love with my husband. I have brought a smart, funny, silly child into the world, and I have loved every second of it.
I can't wait to see what this year brings!


Have you ever woken up from a dream so vivid you couldn't remember where you were?

I dreamt I was at a friends house with all my family, a family I know from Indiana, and a couple random people, when we suddenly got hit with a giant snow storm. The house got ripped off its foundation and just blew away!
I woke up feeling sad because I knew that my friends family would have to stay with us since their house was gone.
But of course, their house is just fine and sitting right where it should be.
I know because I called and checked.

Happy new year!