4 Weeks Postpartum – Feedings

As I mentioned before, I made the decision to bottle feed Cora and not breastfeed.  I have not had any moments of regretting this decision, even after my milk came in and dried up.  I have to say, I even had worry about how the nurses and others in the hospital would treat me for my choice but no one said a word.  Even when the lactation consultant stopped in, she was happy to answer any bottle feeding questions I had.

From the word go, Cora has been an eating champ.  We have been quick to get her on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule during the day and anywhere from 3-4 hours at night.  Once the third week hit, however, I noticed a lot more runny diapers and she started spitting up a lot more than normal.  I gave in and called the nurse who had us come in right away.  Cora checked out fine and had still gained weight since the prior week that we were in there.  The decision was made to change her formula.  We had started her out on Enfamil Newborn and switched to Enfamil Gentlease.  We also added some probiotic drops.  At a week later it seems to be helping.

We also made the decision that only my Husband or I would feed her for the first month or two.  Most importantly this gives us both the chance to have that special bonding time with her.  Obviously I’m with her all day so when my husband comes home, he feeds her in the evening.  She pretty much has two night feedings so we each take one.  I won’t lie, it really helps my frame of mind to be able to share the responsibility of feedings with him so not everything is falling on my shoulders to take care of.

I have to say, out of everything, this has been the easiest to tackle with her.  I can say, at the end of the day, I know my child is fed, full, growing and happy for it.  Isn’t that the most important thing?

Bringing Home Baby Cora

It was about 36 hours after I had Cora and I stood there in the hospital lobby with two other nurses, waiting for my Husband to pull the truck around.  It was exactly 13 months to the day from when I sat in that same lobby, after my D&C and wondered if I would ever be able to leave that hospital with my own baby.  It was such a surreal feeling to be able to put her in the truck and bring her home.

It was just as shocking to be leaving the hospital.  It felt like I spent most of my pregnancy waiting for that hospital stay.  Perhaps it was the unknown of what was going to happen once we walked through those hospital doors.  There is constant talk about how and what labor will be like.  You pack and re-pack for the stay.  Preparing like I did for my wedding day and worry about the chance of rain.

As my OB came in to say goodbye and take a picture with Cora, I was overcome with emotion.  We were at the end of this journey.  The journey of getting a baby here safely.  We had spent years going to doctors appointments in this very hospital.  Months waiting for this baby and here we were being set free.  It actually feels strange to know I’m not going back until my own 6 week follow-up.

When we got home that day, we settled right in.  We had a few visitors and I rode the adrenaline high.  The first night, I didn’t sleep at all.  I fretted over her while she slept in her bassinet next to our bed, perfectly content.  Fenway stood watch all night as well, peering over at her every time she made a noise.

My Husband stayed home for a week and then my Mom came the following two days after that.  Then it was just Cora and I, on our own during the day.  I will say my Husband going back to work was much tougher than what I anticipated because, hormones.  Here we were, snuggled in our own world with our new little one, and suddenly he was leaving us. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about being on my own as I was worried about him missing out.  The precious first week together was already coming to an end.  So every day after that when he came home from work I would burst into tears.  They were happy tears but tears none the less.  I’ve managed to pull my shit together this week though as we continue to work into our new normal and my hormones seem to be a bit more in check.


Her Birth Story

Well here we are two weeks postpartum and I’m finally getting around to sitting down and writing the obligatory birth story of our daughter.  Due to anonymity for this blog, I can’t tell you her name but on here she will go by a name that was on our list of possibilities at one point.  On October 20th, 2015 at 9:23 pm we welcomed a 7lb 4oz baby girl you shall know as Cora.

Like you, I’ve read a million birth stories.  Most of them scared the crap out of me and half of them I didn’t read to the end out of fear.  It seems some mothers want to out do the next mother on how horrible their birth experience was.  I can’t say mine was horrible.  I would do that day over and over again instead of the 9 months of pregnancy.  There, I said it.  In fact, I think we had a great experience.  Here is the nice long story.  How is there no way to shorten these things?:)

Due to the fact that we spent my whole pregnancy worried about Cora’s size, I was scheduled to be induced on my due date of October 20th.  I was more than ready and at that moment I was sitting at 3cm and 80% effaced but still had yet to have any contractions.  I couldn’t sleep the night before, not that I had been anyways, and got up at 11:45 to stuff my face full of food as I was not supposed to have anything after midnight.  I was seriously more worried about this no food situation than anything else.

By 5am we were on the road and heading in to the hospital with our bags that had been packed for weeks.  It was a bit surreal as I had been worried about this drive and whether or not my husband would be around or if I would be laboring in the truck or whatever else my brain could come up with.  Instead we were just taking a trip into the hospital, him stopping at the gas station for a few energy drinks, and then us taking a selfie in the hospital parking lot.  We went to the second floor, where we were escorted by what would be our first nurse, into my room.   I proceeded with the strip down to the hospital gear, answered a million questions, signed a bunch of legal jumbo, and turned on the morning news.  A Pitocin drip was started by 7am and we were set free to roam the hallways with a rolling IV stand.  So hallway walking we did.  We roamed with the other couples, giving the full laboring ones space.  We took a picture of the sunrise in front of the window and I waited for something magical to start.  It did not.  My nurse eventually fetched us so my doctor could come break my water around 9:30am.

Let me just say, the breaking of the water, gross.  Flood.

After 20 minutes, I was free to roam the halls again.  That is where the contractions started and my brain went to what I know best, yoga breathing.  We walked, I stopped for contractions, breathed, we walked.  Eventually, the walking became too much as I didn’t have much of a break, if any, in between contractions, so we went back to my room.  I was fine standing and laboring for quite some time.  I heard the nurses whispering with my husband but I was so focused, I didn’t know what they were talking about.  At one point I was told I could sit in the recliner which sounded nice but proved awful and I suddenly realized I just couldn’t keep up with my contractions.  I wasn’t getting a break it seemed and therefore, I couldn’t catch my breath at all.  Someone finally said I could get my epidural, the lovely man was in the room next door and I said yes.  The 15 minutes waiting for that amazing man to walk into my room was the worst 15 minutes of my entire labor.  Come to find out, that whispering everyone was doing, was because I was having rolling contractions with no break in between and it was wearing me down fast.  Also, not normal.

So the great drug man came in and unfortunately my husband and the nurse had to hold me down, as you aren’t suppose to move for this damn epidural business and my contractions were intense.  There was some cussing and my husband would later tell me how huge the needle was but I didn’t care.  I wanted all the drugs and maybe some rum too.  10 minutes later I was in heaven and wondering why everyone doesn’t just have themselves an epidural a day!

At that moment I was 6 cm and we settled in with a new nurse for the afternoon.

This is where I sound like a dork but we seriously had a really lovely afternoon.  We watched a Sex and the City marathon, took naps, ate jello and drank more Sierra Mist than I ever have in my life.  This is where the baby started to have problems and wasn’t digging the whole labor portion of this.  Her heart rate would decline and a million other doctors and nurses would come flying in to help my nurse out.  I was moved from one side to the other and sometimes to all fours, which is a treat when you can’t feel your legs.  Sometimes I got a lovely oxygen mask to match.  Her heart rate would always come back up and honestly, I never panicked.  Our hospital team was so amazing.  Turns out the whole reason she wasn’t tolerating a lot was how her cord was wrapped around her chest.

My doctor was in and out most of the day to chat and check my progress.  She finally came back in about 7:00pm and decided I could start pushing.  Yay!

I pushed for a little over two hours with just my nurse, doctor and husband with me.  In between contractions we talked about our fur babies, wine, the upcoming Holiday’s, and everything in between.  It made things stay that much calmer in the room and helped me keep my energy level up for pushing.  (Pushing is no joke, it is a damn workout!)  Eventually my doctor broke down the bed and said we were about to have our baby here.  She called for a baby nurse to come in but there were 7 other women pushing at the same time on the floor and we were told one would be sent shortly.  However, one would not make it in time.  The last ten minutes of pushing I just let my body do what felt right and the next thing I know she was put up on my chest, wide eyed and flailing.  A baby nurse walked in a few minutes later wondering what happened so fast.

There were a lot of tears as this stranger, who looked nothing like what I anticipated, sat squirming away.  Eventually she had to be passed to my husband while they cleaned up my business. (Second degree tear apparently.)  I got to watch for the first time as he held a baby and gave her a bottle.  They both settled right in and for the first time in 9 months he really got to understand what I have been feeling.

It was all love at first sight.

Eventually we let in our parents, my Grandmother and sister to see the baby for a quick moment.  After we kicked them out I had some problems with feeling dizzy and nauseous so it wasn’t until 1am  before they took us to our room.  It was the oddest feeling to have the nurse finally close the door behind her and then there we were, me, my husband and a baby, in the dark and quiet room.  She was here.  Finally.  Just like that.  And since then, it has been nothing but perfect.

39 Weeks- The End is Near

Last week I started my maternity leave from work.  Starting it early was one of the smarter moves I have made.  It was about that same time that I started not being able to sleep very well due to being so uncomfortable.  I can tell you I have spent the majority of the time walking, hiking, doing yoga and cleaning to the point that there is nothing left to clean.  I’ve also read 4 books and received numerous phone calls from my husband asking if I am in labor yet.  I’ve also answered many texts, emails and phone calls from friends and family wondering the same thing.

The up to the minute answer is – no, at this moment, I am not in labor.

As I mentioned before, our perinatologist does not want this baby staying in past the 40 week mark which happens to be next Tuesday, the 20th.  But hey, no one thought she would make it to 40 weeks anyways.  We were all planning on an early arrival.  She has certainly proved us wrong.

Each appointment I have gone in for I have proudly found my body progressing.  While I have yet to experience any contractions or Braxton hicks contractions during this pregnancy, I have still managed to get to 3cm dilated and 80% effaced.  At yesterday’s appointment I also had my doctor go ahead and do a membrane sweep.  No biggie.  She said 50% of women go into labor within 24 hours of having that done and since I was already making progress she wouldn’t be surprised if she saw me in L & D within few hours.  Good thing I didn’t hold my breath for that.  A few hours later I was out hiking with my dog feeling absolutely no different.  In fact, I slept a bit more comfortably last night.  No change. I’m going to say I am not apart of the laboring 50% but hey, didn’t hurt to try.

My doctor did give me an eviction notice just in case the baby didn’t want to cooperate like we thought she might.  The eviction notice looks something like directions on being induced at 7 am next Tuesday.  Also known as, the end of the pregnancy!  I was more than happy to carry that piece of paper out of the doctor’s office like it was my get out of jail free card!

You know, I cannot look back on this pregnancy and say “Hey, that went by fast!” No, it did not.  I’m quite sure turtles passed me.  BUT, I can finally tell you a few things I am grateful for in this pregnancy.  I went into this really dreading all the horrible things people told me would happen.  Let me tell you right now, just because one person experiences something in pregnancy, does not mean that you will.  So if you are reading this at 12 weeks pregnant, breathe, not every bad thing will apply to you.

  • While I gained more than I thought I would, and I really, really struggled with gaining the weight, I did gain the minimum.  I did not gain 70lbs.
  • I kept up with my main workouts as long as possible and found alternatives when it was time.  People really made me feel like I was horrible for it but I’m proud of what I can still manage to do in my yoga practice with a beach ball in the way!
  • I did not pee myself or shit myself in public or private.  I will not get overly detailed about this but lets just say nothing bad has happened in the excrement area, thank God.  No hemorrhoids, constipation, leaking or anything else you can think of.  Just an increase need to pee because you know, all the water.  (150-175oz a day if you want to know)
  • I have no stretch marks.  I used Palmers cocoa lotion everyday but have nothing else to offer in that area.
  • While baby’s head is currently low and giving me some vaginal pressure, I have yet to waddle.
  • I’ve had my hormonal bad days but nothing that has scared off my husband or caused him to ask for a divorce.
  • I have not had problems with varicose veins rearing their ugly head.
I’m now moving on to people giving me more of their horrible birth stories at a pace that says they are running out of time to attempt to scare me.  Apparently I should be more nervous and for some reason I am just not.  Labor is part of it and it is called labor for a reason.  But you know what, it is a moment that will end and life will move on.  I will hopefully escape that moment with little trauma.  Rest assured I will be back to tell you all about it.  Right after I hold my baby girl and have that glass of wine.  Cheers!

38 Weeks – Perspective on Parenting

As the days drew closer and closer to our wedding date, three years ago, people offered up all sorts of advice.  Some I found quite amusing seeing as I had already been married and divorced.  My Husband started to get annoyed by some of the age old comments and advice and was ready for the wedding itself to come and go so he didn’t have to hear it anymore.  Mainly he was tired of hearing how his life was soon to be over and I was tired of hearing how eventually this marriage would be no different from my first.  It was a lot of the “Oh, you just wait.”

I remember having many conversations about this with my Husband prior to our wedding.  Everyone has a different perspective to share about marriage.  Some don’t have the best perspective to share due to their experience and others do have valid points to the advice that they give.  Truth be told my Husband and I have managed marriage pretty well on our own terms.  His life did not end when he said “I do.”  He didn’t lose his right to speak or have an opinion and I didn’t take away his toys.  In turn, this marriage is nothing like my last and I don’t regret getting married for a second time.  I will never say marriage is easy but I like to keep in mind the good days and not the nights where I’m yelling at him to once again take out the trash.

Parenting is much like this.  You spend 9 months with a growing belly, instead of just a sparkling new diamond on your finger, and everyone wants to offer you advice.  Unfortunately, once again, a lot of that advice ends with how your life will never be the same and it is essentially over.  Along the way we have found who among our friends is in the supportive circle and who just wants us to join their pity party.  And remember, this isn’t my first rodeo at parenting so I don’t want to hear the “Oh, you just wait.”  Once again, I’m not saying parenting is easy but I like to remember all the good days with Rebecca and not the nights she puked up bottle after bottle on me because holy acid reflux.

Remember that perspective thing?  It keeps happening every time a life event happens and my Husband and I are going into this parenting thing on our own terms.  And you know what, I don’t think our life is going to end.  I don’t think our lives are going to be over.  We are not going into parenting together freaked out, concerned and stressed.  But that is our household.  Our family.  How we handle things.  Which may be different from your story, your household, your marriage, your newborn phase.  And that is okay.

Everyone talks about supporting one another but do we?  We stand on the outside of someones home assuming we know whats going on in the inside.  It feels like people are watching to see your marriage fail so they can say I told you so.  It feels like they are watching your parenting to say I told you so.

I know my Husband and I will weather tough times in our marriage just as we will weather tough times in parenting, just as we have weathered tough times in this pregnancy but that is what we signed up for.  There are good days and bad days, not the end of days.  We did not sign up for unicorns shitting out glitter.  We are choosing to be positive about what is in our near future because we have been on the flip side.  We have also watched a lot of our friends go through some incredibly hard times in parenting lately.  Things that no parent should have to do and decisions that no parent should have to make.  It has given us perspective.  Yes, even perspective on not getting such a long shower and having some sleepless nights because life could be worse and these phases end.

We all have a platform on our blogs to vent, to discuss, ask questions, and show support.  I have blogged in real terms, to me,  what my pregnancy has been like for me and my Husband, knowing damn well what the alternative is.  Prior to my pregnancy, I have written about my marriage, in real terms and prior to that I wrote about my divorce in real terms.  I will continue to write about our journey in parenting, not covered in glitter and edited photos but real life for us.  Outside of this pregnancy story I have shared with you, I have still carried on with a life, friendships, marriage and managed to get my laundry done.  This pregnancy has not stopped our lives from happening.

So here is to the next phase in our lives and the next phase in the lives of many of you who read this.  Go into that phase how you choose to and make it a happy positive one.  We are lucky to have this opportunity.  Just remember, the bad days will pass, and your life is not over.  A new chapter is just beginning to add to your story.

36 Weeks- The Guilt Factor

I’ve heard the story a million times, women who started to worry about their older children right before their new baby was born.  Call it what you will, the guilt factor, or the knowledge that life will never be the same for them. I never quite understood this.  I would always listen to the Mom’s concern but couldn’t quite wrap my head around it.  In fact, I didn’t even think that about Rebecca, until a few weeks ago.

I get it now.

The fact that our time was winding down with her as an only child was starting to weigh on me.  I haven’t worried about not having enough time for her but our time will change.  It won’t be the same.  We have had 13 years as her being the center of our world with no one else to worry about, now that is changing.  And not only is it changing in our household but my ex-husband and his wife are also expecting a baby girl a few months after us.

Rebecca is completely on board and happy with all the impending babyness.  She seems to show no signs of feeling left out or being replaced, as I’m sure most kids don’t.  It is a Mommy guilt thing, I believe.

This weekend we are having a last weekend for just us girls.  13 years of taking her to the pumpkin patch and this will be the last time it is just her and I.  From here on out there will be another child in the pictures, which sounds very exciting to me but on the other hand it is the end of a chapter.  It isn’t like we can’t go out and have plenty more one on one girl days by ourselves after the baby is born.  We can and will, which is the grace of her being much older than baby.  See how messed up this all sounds?  It is a mind game.

So what I’m saying is, I hear you other Mom’s of multiple children.  I’m sure this won’t bother me after the baby is born but right now it is just something to worry about.  So this weekend I will smother her till she is annoyed with me and rolling her eyes to be left alone.

How did you handle your second, third, etc child coming along?  Did you feel the same way?

36 Weeks Pregnant- Preparing the Furbaby

We are those annoying dog people.  The people who treat their dog like a human, like a child.  A spoiled rotten child. Our two-year old black lab, Fenway, has been our baby for the past two years and she damn well knows it.  Many people have expressed their concern over us preparing her for the baby’s arrival.  I can actually say we aren’t overly worried about it but have done a few extra things to prepare her.

I believe the main thing that has prepared Fenway is the fact that my good friend had her baby at 31 weeks a year ago and the dog has been around her constantly.  That preemie baby spent more than enough time last winter chilling on our couch with our dog right next to her.  Now the baby is on the move on the floor, when she visits, and Fenway (reluctantly) shares her toys with her.  Every Tuesday evening we go for a walk, baby in stroller, dog on leash right next to stroller, stopping to let us know when a toy has been thrown overboard.  These two are buddies and while our dog hasn’t always been a fan of us paying attention to the baby, she certainly knows the smell of one.

To let her know that things will permanently change in our own house soon we have prepared her in a few more ways.

  • We have let her smell the baby clothes and blankets as we have washed and put them away.
  • We have also let her smell the wipes, diapers and formula.
  • She has been allowed in the nursery as we have set things up.
  • We have set up the car seat, stroller, swing and bassinet and put them where they will reside for baby.  Once they were set up, we put her favorite stuffed toy lion in them, one by one, and let her see how they worked.  She rescued the lion from all objects but was able to check them out.  The main thing I think we will have a problem with though is the swing, she currently does not appreciate the noises it makes when it runs.  So we are running it nightly for a bit so she can get used to it.
  • We have left objects such as bottles, binkies, and smaller toys around the house and practiced her “leave it” command with them in hopes that this curbs the desire to steal them away later.
  • Yes, my Husband will bring home a blanket from the hospital for Fenway to smell before we make the trip home with baby.
  • We also plan on keeping her routine as normal as possible once the baby comes.  She will still go her normal days to doggie day care and she will still get her daily walks at the same time.  I know this can be done thanks to the help of my sister living with us and my husband being able to take her to work with him and drop her off later at day care.

And just like human kiddos, you must have a plan for your fur kids, for when you go into labor.  Once again, we are lucky to have my sister living with us to help with that main concern.  She is also added, along with one other friend, to the approved list of who can do pick ups and drop offs at her doggie day care.  (The human child will be once again, watched by my sister or will come with us as my ex-husband, thankfully, only lives 5 blocks from the hospital.  Being 13 years old and not much younger helps as well.)

We are lucky enough that Fenway seems to be officially out of the naughty puppy phase.  Guests can come over and she won’t take off with their shoes, she no longer steals socks, she doesn’t hide under our bed with Rebecca’s toys and she actually uses some manners.  This gives me hope that we won’t have too many other problems with her once baby does come.  She currently brings toys to the bump, attempts to cuddle with her and bump often responds to her.  Lets hope they remain buds on the outside world as well!

What ways did you prepare your furbaby for your human baby?