Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Month and Counting

Ellie in her Moby wrap
Elliot had her one month appointment yesterday. She's grown about an inch and now weighs a whopping 7 pounds, 12 ounces. Dr. L said she looked great and is obviously gaining weight well, so the breastfeeding is working out. Our next appointment is in a month and comes with all sorts of shots. So, there will be tears and screaming. Not looking forward to it.

In other news, we're still using the nipple shield crutch, but have discovered we can do without in a pinch. I'm debating trying to wean her off of it for simplicity (since it's just one more thing I have to remember and clean), but I'm being lazy about it. Plus, when she's frustrated at the end of a long nursing session or overly tired or hungry, she doesn't seem to be able to latch and just gets more upset. However, my nipples have been sore for about 3 weeks now and don't show any signs of "toughening" up. My mom made the observation that they won't so long as I'm using the crutch. And, since I have the goal of breastfeeding for another 11 months at least, I can't say that that prospect seems at all tempting.
Sporting cute socks from Grandma

Christmas was nice. My family came up from Texas to see Ellie. My mom was up for the second time and seems to be stocking the guest room for a succession of future trips. I didn't get to spend as much time with everyone as I did last year. It felt like I was pretty much just nursing or my mom was chasing me to bed for a nap. I did get to wrap P's presents on Christmas Eve, but my mom and sisters wrapped all the other gifts. Ellie made out like a bandit. She has tons of new clothes. We might have to leave the house more often if she's ever to have a hope of wearing everything. I have a ton of thank you notes to write on her behalf.

I am having a bit of a scheduling dilemma. I can't figure out how to work around Ellie's eating schedule, which is sporadic and irregular. I'm not sure if she's still an inefficient nurser, or just eats a lot, but during the day, she seems to prefer longer nursing sessions (30-90 minutes) which is not conducive to running errands or even just going to the doctor. To give me peace of mind, we've been taking a bottle of breast milk when I think her "stomach clock" will go off in the middle of an errand. So far, she doesn't seem to have any issues going back and forth. I still hope to minimize bottles, but I don't really see a way around it when our doctor makes us wait nearly an hour and then wants to actually examine her rather than see her on my breast. The bottle has also come in handy a couple times when Dad was left in charge while I went to the store and took a bit longer than expected due to holiday traffic.

Also, she's been nursing very little at night. She would have let me sleep all last night if I hadn't woken her at 5:20 this morning because I was worried. She had been fussing lightly all night, but didn't wake up, even when I had to pump at 4 am. Generally, she's been sleeping from about 10 to 2, feeding, and then up again about 4:30 and then 6:30 or 7. She's gone to really light feedings at night too. Usually between 10 and 20 minutes. Which, I suppose is how she was able to stretch out for so long last night. However, she slept a lot better (ie. quieter) after I fed her at 5. So, I may continue to feed her when her chatter wakes me up.
Storytime with Dad.

Our new best friend is the Moby wrap. We were waiting to use it until she was about 8 pounds since that's what the instruction booklet specified, but the tag on the actual wrap says it's for 5-35 pound babies. It means I can actually eat something, use my computer, and do a few light chores. I feel a lot more like myself with some time to do normal stuff even when she won't accommodate my wish for her to take a nap without me holding her. The wrap gives her the closeness she wants and lets me have my arms back. That makes it a win-win. And, Dad can use it to wear her while I snag a nap and they clean the kitchen.

 I'll post some Christmas photos soon, but I'm hoping my mom will send a cd, because she took more with her camera.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2 Week Checkup

Today we went in for Ellie's 2 week appointment with the doctor. It's still weird for me to sign in someone else's name. Not that after 2 weeks it should be old hat by now.... Basically, today was just a weight check. At our last weigh-in appointment, we barely made the grade at 6 lbs. 2 oz. Today, our goal was her birth weight of 6 lbs. 12 oz. We blew past that for an even 7 lbs. It was a little short of what we were guessing, but still plenty pleasing. And, as witnessed by the fact that we guessed Ellie was a boy, we're not super great guessers.... Also, I'm anxious to start wearing her in our Moby wrap, and she needs to be 8 pounds for that, so partly it was wishful thinking. Her newborn clothes are starting to actually fit though, and her belly is HUGE, so we can tell that she is growing. She'll be into her cute 0-3 mos. girlie outfits soon.

We have been getting in some nice welcome gifts for Ellie. Lots of cute pink outfits, socks, and stuffed animals. A couple notable gifts were the diaper burp cloths and onesies embroidered with the company logo and the jet airplane spoon and runway bib combo that lights up from the company IT department.

Since the last post, Ellie lost her umbilical cord stump, so she has gotten a few real baths from Dad.
He has taken over that duty and loves to get a little Daddy-Daughter belly time in the mornings if our schedule allows for it. He also has started reading her bedtime stories from our little library.

Dad cup feeding Ellie in Week 1. She made cute little slurpy noises like a tiny little frog.

Flower arrangement from Mom's former work colleagues.

Like a turkey button, her arms always pop up when she's about done.

First bath with Dad.

With luck, her body type will not stay pear-shaped...

I have a BIG BELLY! (and independently operating eyelids)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Can Do It Myself (with a little help)

So, Tuesday and Friday, we went back to the hospital to meet with the lactation consultant. We've been using a counselor offered through the doctor's office, but the hospital LC was off for the holiday and weekend. She gave me a nipple shield with a cutout for Ellie's nose and actually showed me how to use it. She manhandled Ellie for an hour and got her to drink to the point of exhaustion. When we got home, we tried it again with similar results, and again 2.5 hours later. She's nursing like a champ, but hates it since she actually has to work for her food :) Wednesday, she actually cried for her evening meal. That was a first. We've had a timer going to wake her up every 3 hours since we got home from the hospital.

The Friday visit, we worked on latching on. Ellie had developed a habit of fussing and refusing to latch on until she'd worn herself out with crying and spitting out the nipple shield or trying to knock it off. Sometimes it would take 20 minutes to "talk her into" feeding. Which became exhausting. 48 Hours after our latest tutorial, we've had our best night ever. She didn't futz around too long and didn't require much glucose water to persuade her to latch on. I was able to get all her feedings done in about an hour which meant I could get in 2-3 hours of sleep between. Rick didn't wake at all till she decided her 5 o'clock feeding wouldn't hold her and started fussing at 6. In fact, the most time-consuming part of the feeding routine is the 20-30 minutes of hiccups that she seems to get between sides.

Our little girl has already reached her first milestone. She lost her umbilical cord stump last night. So, sometime today, she'll get a real bath. Much as I like her baby smell, she has an undercurrent of sour milk from all the messy eating she's been doing.
Ready to go home from the hospital.

Enjoying a little snooze with Dad.

Not enjoying the bright lights.

Dad slept in this bassinet and now Elliot does too.

With Cousin Sophia.

With Grandma Sharon.

With Mr. Kevin (who built our house).

A little milk drunk.

With Uncle Andy and Cousin Sophie.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turkey Baby!

So, for those of you who haven't heard, we had a baby. Right after the last post, really. If I'd been thinking, I might've blogged a little during labor. However, since we'd just been told we were still at 1cm for the 3rd week, we didn't necessarily think it was real labor. And, the contractions were fairly distracting, so I didn't get a lot done that day.

The trouble started about 11:30 pm when I woke after an hour and a half of sleep with what I supposed were contractions. Rick was still up, so we googled false labor and figured it could be either. Around 2:30 am, they reached 5 minutes apart and 1 minute in duration, so I called the service. When the Midwife called me back, she said to try to labor at home as long as possible and head into the hospital when they got about 2-3 minutes apart. Shortly thereafter, P got pretty tired and asked if I'd mind if he went to sleep. Although I would have welcomed the company, I figured there was no real point in both of us having a rotten night. And, if he had to drive me to the hospital, he should be alert. So, I grudgingly said no, he could sleep and I wouldn't hold it against him.

Then, I tried a bunch of different things. The birthing ball, pacing, laying down. Around 4:30 I got violent chills. Could not stay warm until I grabbed the queen sized down comforter and wrapped myself up. Then, the contractions would hit and I'd be burning up. It sucked. That part lasted about a half hour. Finally, I discovered if I sat on the couch, I could lay back my head and sleep between contractions and it was easier to get up to pace when they did hit. During this time, the contractions were varying from 4-10 minute intervals. Just when I thought they were emerging in a pattern, they'd change. Around 7, I gave up trying to sleep and figured I'd better get some sustenance while I could. I made a cup of tea and opened a banana. My hunger fled as soon as I took a bite. I made myself eat half of the banana, and about that time, P came downstairs. He poured a bowl of cereal, took one bite and pushed it away. At this point, both of us were beginning to think it might not be a false alarm.

Since it was Thanksgiving, we decided to mostly keep to the original game plan. P made my dishes and we headed over to his parents house around 11 am. Just in case, we threw the hospital bag in the car. I warned everyone that I would not be eating with them and that I'd probably keep pretty aloof. I spent a bit of time in the bathroom and did a lot of pacing. Contractions got longer, but staying pretty sporadic in interval. The closest I ever got was about 4 minutes apart. Finally, about 4, things broke up and we got in the car to leave. P asked me if we were heading home or to the hospital. I voted for hospital because the pain had gotten so uncomfortable and I wanted a professional to tell me if I needed to buck up and bear it or if I was going to have a baby soon.

About 4:30, we parked illegally in the drop off circle at the hospital and made our way to the Labor and Delivery department as instructed. The nurse who greeted us asked what we needed and I said I just wanted to be checked out since the contractions were getting to be a might unbearable. So, she had me strip, put on a robe and get in the bed. After taking a look, she announced that I was 95% effaced and dilated to 8cm. P asked, "So, does that mean you're admitting her?" The nurse looked at him with a priceless look and said, "Uh, yeah." So, he went to move the car and started sending texts to a few people.

Once they hooked me up to the monitors, the contractions became like clockwork at 3 minutes. Apparently, I just hadn't been able to accurately pinpoint starts and stops. I started to notice that my hands were tingling and shook them a little. The nurse noticed and asked if they were tingling and said I was hyperventilating a little and should breathe slower. I tried to, but it didn't work. I asked if maybe they had something that could take the edge off. So, they gave me a shot of Numorphan. Ideally, I wanted to labor without drugs, but I wasn't going to be pigheaded about it. Already, it hurt more than I'd mentally prepared for. However, it wasn't unbearable. I did ask for a hep lock so that it would be easy to get drugs if I needed them later. I directed the nurse to the packet of registration info and birth wishes. She disappeared with them and apparently read them since I never had to correct them about what I wanted later.

About 7, P called his mom when the nurse said I was at 9 cm and she was calling the doctor in. She came in for the delivery. The doctor gave me the option of breaking my own water or having them do it for me. I, in my naivette, chose to try it myself. After about an hour of pushing and listening to the woman next door screaming her baby out, I finally delivered the water, which was like pushing out a water balloon. Once it was out, it burst and I remember hearing a gush hit the floor. There was a pause as it then hit me that I'd have to push out something even bigger.

But then, the next contraction hit and I got to start pushing again. We tried the squat bar, stirrups, and these little foot shelves. In the end, the most effective was using the foot shelves in conjunction with a crunch type action. After another 60-90 minutes, I was getting very tired of pushing but was informed that the head was in view, so I should keep going. With each push, my screams got a little louder. After the fact, my husband informed me that he was super impressed with my volume. Since I'm normally so quiet, he had no idea I could achieve that kind of volume. Honestly, I have to say I never had need of that kind of volume, but that seemed to be the only way I could get the pushing done. Not having much practice at screaming, I did not use my diaphragm, so afterward my voice was rather husky.

Once I managed the last agonizing push to get the head out, the rest was easy. P helped deliver and later cut the cord (something I signed him up for in the birth plan but neglected to discuss with him, figuring he could always abstain if he was uncomfortable). As they were cleaning her off a little, I asked what the baby was. The doctor threw the ball into his court and said, "Dad, what is it?" And so he looked and like me he saw two bulging fleshy bits that could have been scrotum. But, he had a better view of the front and saw no penis, so he said, "I think it's a girl." The nurse said, "You think?" So, he confirmed with an actual statement, which sounded a little disappointed, but was actually mostly shock since both of us had convinced ourselves that we were getting a little boy.

After, they put the baby up on my chest while the doctor sewed up my second degree lacerations. I tried breastfeeding, but in a sign of things to come, she closed her eyes and showed little interest. So, I settled for some quality skin to skin time to supposedly help the uterus contract back down. We had a good hour and a half of quality time before they rolled in the scale to weigh her. Uncle A stopped by on his way home from a Thanksgiving celebration and we called the Texas grandparents. Then, they offered to take her to bathe her while they helped me clean up and transferred me to a post-partum room. A little after midnight, we finally settled in our room and I was able to relax for the first time in 24 hours.








Thursday, November 25, 2010

Week 39

Today/yesterday, we had our 39 week appointment. Same stats as before. Holding steady at 1 cm and 80%. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, which nearly never happens. So, the nurse and Dr. J were a bit alarmed. However, I have no other symptoms to give alarm other than my still swollen right foot. Found out Dr. J is on call tomorrow though, so I know who we'll get if we should need to go in tomorrow.

Update: Starting about 11:30 tonight, I began to understand what contractions are. I'm using the Labor Mate app on my phone and thus far, the samples are wildly erratic. I have a little trouble pinpointing exactly when one starts since they have a definite "wave" pattern to them. So far, I've got contractions from 33 seconds to a little over a minute with frequencies that seem to be getting further between 3 minutes to 8 and a half. And, my pregnancy heater is on the fritz. For the first time in months, I'm actually a bit chilly. Even if this turns out to be false labor, I don't think P or I are going to get much sleep tonight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nursery

We watched a documentary last night called The Business of Being Born. It may not have been the best thing to watch since I'll be giving birth any day. However, it wasn't as alarming as it might have been otherwise. I am glad we changed doctors. However, I feel I should research drugs a bit more so I know what someone is trying to talk me into. Now, I just hope that we'll luck out and get the shift the midwife is on call.

As you can see, the nursery finally can be called done. I'll probably fiddle around with the pictures on the art rails, but everything else is in place (except the mobile).




Saturday, November 20, 2010

Home Stretch


Yesterday, we went to our 38 week appointment. It was pretty anti-climactic. We were the only people in the waiting room. There was no wait, for once. The nurse made a prediction that Potus would be a boy based on a Chinese "algorithm". Then, she spent the rest of her time in the room insisting that it was just a joke and absolutely not scientific as she had insisted at first. I think she'd had a long day.

Potus was cagey about having his/her heart rate captured. It bounced from the 170's to the 120's. Finally, the nurse was able to get it somewhat stable around 133. I forgot to ask what we were measuring at. However, we're STILL 80% effaced and 1 cm dilated. Which, is disappointing, but not wholly unexpected or abnormal. Dr. W showed passing interest in my still somewhat swollen right foot, but since it fits in my shoe, he made the comment that it's not bad as far as swelling goes. And, still, none of the other indicators of preclampsia are present, so no worries.

I have noticed stronger Braxton Hicks lately, so I think that is a good sign.

Today, the goal is to get the nursery all finalized. That includes:  recovering the ottoman, hanging the picture rails and the abacus, and then washing the sheet (again), and laying tinfoil in the crib in an attempt to dissuade the cat that it's a feline friendly perch.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 38

Wednesday marks 38 weeks. However, since I got my email from Baby Center yesterday, and I'm thinking about it, I'll go ahead and post an update. Our doctor's appointment isn't until Friday, so there will be another update later this week.

Potus and I are enjoying a kind of leisure these days. We sleep in waaayy past 5 these days. The dogs have finally acclimated to a first outing of 6 or 6:30. Half the time, P takes them out. Often, we go back to bed and lounge about for a while. It's like endless Saturdays. The only bummer is P can't spend the day with me. However, we manage. Yesterday, we finished most of the Christmas shopping. Today, my goal is to finish some work for the January Gardening Show, get out most if not all the remaining thank you cards, and make a pumpkin pie for P. Sounds rough, eh? Still, with a 10 o'clock start, I'm feeling a bit behind the eight ball.

Stormy has been "providing" for the growing family this week by bringing in mice. Two so far.  I thought we'd discussed this earlier in the season, but she apparently feels that a new mom needs plenty of mice. I'm hoping she is unable to find more today, but I'm glad she at least kills them before she brings them up to the back door. The first one this spring was still alive as she repeatedly threw it up in the air and off the deck to the ground 20' below. I'd prefer not to see that side of my cat or to imagine the suffering of the little critter in its last moments.

I'm waiting on a couple of art rails to ship for the walls. Once I get those installed, I WILL post nursery pictures. And, although I cannot promise how pretty they'll be, I will also attempt to have my husband document my current physique via photo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

37 Weeks

Since I'm not working and in front of a computer all day, I haven't felt the compulsion to blog as much recently. Apologies. The last few days, I have been making up for lost time with running a few delayed errands. And, it doesn't seem to take much, 2-3 hours before I get exhausted and just want to go home and veg. However, today, I only have one, a haircut, and then I should be pretty much homebound for a while. The nursery is pretty near done. I have a couple things to hang on the wall and then we're just waiting for the occupant. I'll post a few pictures soon.

The cloth diapers came in yesterday and I spent a good hour or two breaking in the new glider while I adjusted all the elastic adjustments for newborn. They seem incredibly small. They're in the wash now, and then I'll probably have another half hour when they've dried to stuff the absorbent pads in them. Then, I'm pretty much done with the baby laundry. I've got more blankets than I know what to do with, onesies coming out of our ears, and hopefully enough socks so that when Zeus absconds with some of them (as he inevitably will), it won't leave Potus with popsicle toes. Now, we're just waiting to see what Potus is, so that the Grandparents can start buying him/her some cute more gender specific outfits.

Had my first "non-weird" baby dream last night. Everyone asking how I'm sleeping has finally caught up to me, I guess. For the record, I sleep just like a rock, until my bladder wakes me, generally between 2 and 4:30am. This morning though, the call of nature coincided with a baby dream. It's fading pretty fast now, but I seem to remember riding in the back seat of my parents' Grand Marquis with my parents and both sisters. I believe we were on our way back from Merrillville when my water broke. Apparently, I delivered in some sort of small conference room with a gymnastics mat on the floor. The midwife was there in the only chair, and somehow the labor was non-memorable, quick, painless, and very clean. Potus was a largish boy with a sprinkling of light brown hair and was apparently able to crawl a little and hold his head up while looking for a milk supply. Realistic, I know.

Tuesday, we had our 37 week checkup with the midwife. I don't think we'll see her again unless she ends up "catching" Potus. We've got the other two docs scheduled for weeks 38 and 39, and then they don't let the midwife make the call on whether to induce if you make it to the 40 week appointment. If you'll remember, I was 80% effaced last week. This week, I was 1 cm dilated, which apparently can last for a while. Midwife L did say that there was a possibility we could go into labor before our next appointment. However, I think the odds are pretty small. Current fundal height is 34 cm and weight gain is about 44 lbs. I have been experiencing pretty frequent Braxton Hicks, and they have gotten a bit stronger so that I don't necessarily have to put my hand on my stomach to determine where they are. Potus is still really active. If I sit down to do kick counts, I find I only have to count for a few minutes to get 10 movements. At our appointment, Potus had apparently been in the midst of an exercise session when we listened to the heart rate. It was up to 150, whereas before it had been around 130 each time.

Haven't noticed a return of the elephant feet. There is still some swelling, and I've noticed my hands getting a little edema. I think I'll leave my rings off for a day or two since they're starting to leave marks.

Also, I got good news last night. My parents and both sisters are going to be able to make it up for Christmas. I honestly wasn't sure it would work out, but I'm glad everyone was able to arrange it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Running Around

Yesterday we woke up to about an inch and a half of snow. It melted by noon, but was still a little bit of a shock. It's early November. It shouldn't get cold enough for that garbage for another month at least. Right? Once we recovered, we took advantage of the fact that the sky was dry and headed to South Bend to pick up some lumber for P's next project (a desk for the office). He's been trying to get there for over a month, but every time he plans to, it rains. He even got halfway there Wednesday and then turned around when it started raining.Yesterday, we were finally able to check that off the list. Afterward, we ate at a little Mexican place. It wasn't bad for Indiana. Still, the best Tex-mex I've had up here was in Fishers.

Today, I ran to Target, Michael's, Marshall's, the gas station, an Open House at the Artist's Den, and finally the grocery store. I was only gone for about 4 hours, but I was absolutely tuckered when I got home. And, I didn't end up finding as many Christmas gifts as I was hoping to. I think it's internet shopping from here on out. I'm planning to stay pretty close to the house for the forseeable future.

Started to make lists of things I'd like to get done here in the next week or so. I can really tell that my energy level has gone down. Whereas I used to pick up clutter when it bugged me, now, I'm making lists to address the clutter in hopes that at some point I'll feel peppy enough to do something about it.

Among the things to do this week: clean the downstairs for company, finish the crib mobile, hang the abacus, fold baby laundry, take dogs to the vet, renew license plates, take delivery of the glider chair, and eat a lot of salad, since I was overly optimistic at Sam's last trip....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inching Along

Well, the elephant feet are kind of back. I can still see ankle bones, but there is some shallow pitting going on. I went home last night to put my feet up and let my dear husband handle dinner. I'd like to be able to get one more pedicure before Potus arrives. And, I really don't want to scare the nail tech too badly.

It doesn't seem possible, but it feels as though Potus has dropped a bit more since Monday even. I've definitely gone to a shuffle walk/waddle. It's almost more comfortable to shuffle sideways. Just one more work day after today and I can downgrade to lounging pants and slippers. I'm really hoping moving around is not this uncomfortable for another 4+ weeks.

Otherwise, we're just in wait and see mode. I've got a couple people reminding me that this is my last 8 am at work on a Thursday and so forth. Really helps the days crawl. I've decided that Potus can show up anytime after the 12th. I'd just like that extra week to make it to the "full term" mark of 37 weeks and get a few things taken care of. I can find things to do if Potus is feeling sluggish, but I just ask that he/she give me till the 12th.

I can hear all you veteran moms out there laughing, but that's just how I feel about it. They're passing the baby pool around work, so we'll see if anyone guesses correctly.

Monday, November 1, 2010

36 Week Update

This week, Babycenter says Potus is about the size of a Crenshaw Melon. Personally, I think they're stretching it with the produce comparisons. I wonder if they can keep it up for another 4-6 weeks.

This weekend, I went to the mall, twice. I haven't been in probably 2 years, and decided to go back-to-back for some unknown reason. I can't even recall what we went for yesterday, except to eat lunch at the food court, which we were unable to finish due to witnessing a dramatic white trash episode. Involving a lady in a wheelchair. It was special.

Friday night, my elephant feet decided to leave. Apparently, I've been treating myself well. Even all the walking I did this weekend didn't cause a recurrence. The bad news is that Potus appears to have dropped for real (not that it's really a bad thing, just uncomfortable). Two weeks ago, Dr. W2 voiced the opinion that Potus had dropped already, but I think perhaps he/she dropped partially before and Saturday dropped the rest of the way since now it feels as though I have a bowling ball between my legs. P made the observation that I probably shouldn't attempt to carry bowling balls like that in my condition. He's a funny guy, my husband.

This morning, I quickly packed a preliminary hospital bag and a Potus bag, just on the off chance that we found out at my appointment that I'm dilated, although I understand that I could be taking my bowling ball for a walk for another month (or heaven forbid another 6 weeks). According to the doctor appointment, I'm not dilated, but am apparently thinned about 80%.  So, I'll be carrying my bowling ball for a little while longer. The nurse was kind enough to point out a Braxton Hicks for me so now I know what they feel like. Apparently, I've been having a lot of them, so I'm supposed to count and time them if I notice them pretty frequently and regularly. Other stats for those of you keeping track: fundal height measured 35 cm, Potus' heart rate is 130, Dr. J thinks Potus will be around 7.5 pounds, and total weight gain (according to Doctor scale) is 42 pounds.

And, I was able to locate sufficient nursing bras mostly locally. Turns out our Target DOES carry a small selection. Better than JC Penney's even. And, there's a full-fledged Motherhood Maternity store at the mall (Saturday) that appeared to be smaller than the nearby outlet store, but better stocked. And, they were having a sale. So, I ended up spending less than I thought I needed to and ended up with a wider selection than I thought I'd get.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lasts Before Firsts

Yesterday I woke up with elephant feet. It caused a minor bit of panic when I was trying to get dressed. I tried on three pairs of shoes before finding something that could fit over my foot. At that point, I didn't really care what the shoes were, just that I could leave the house without bare feet. Did I mention it was raining heavily from the newsworthy midwest storms? Once I got to work, I sent a quick SOS to my MIL, who thankfully is one of a handful of people I know who has bigger feet than me. She had a few pairs she thought might work, so I arranged to head over there after my LAST guitar lesson.

The lesson itself was anticlimactic. We ran out of time at the end of the half hour and I got the impression that my teacher doesn't really think I'm coming back. I've told him I'm taking November/December off. He's been at this longer than me, so probably there's precedent for students generally not coming back from a two month break. I certainly haven't been practicing like I ought to.

My next last is my volunteer shift on Saturday. I've also told them I'm taking a couple months. November, to wallow, nest, and rest. December, because I have no idea what's ahead of me and just want to focus on our little family. Plus, the holidays. After that, my next last, is my remaining week and a half of work. As far as I can tell, I'm about on schedule for wrapping things up there. It occurred to me that I should probably start packing things out in small handfuls so I don't end up with a big load next Friday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 35 – Already?

We seem to be gaining speed here the closer we get. The picture on baby center this week looks exactly like Potus feels, btw. I find that my belly often looks like a waterbed these days. Or a sack of angry cats. I should probably lift my shirt during the next "exercise session" to see if I can clearly see feet. Potus has definitely gotten larger and stronger. I thought the movements were supposed to get more restricted as he/she grew, however, I didn't take into account that a larger baby has stronger moves. And, I think he/she still moves sideways some because every now and then, it feels like Potus is trying to move head up.

Less than 2 weeks of work remaining and it feels weird. I've been working almost non-stop since I was 15. It's a mental adjustment for sure. I have to admit the idea of not having to leave the house holds strong appeal though, especially with snow not too far away. I've been spending more time than normal on FB and LinkedIn trying to make as many connections in anticipation of adult withdrawal. Part of me feels like it'll be an extended vacation. There are so many things I want to play around with and work on (painting, screen printing, creating my online portfolio, freelance work, trying crewel, actually practicing guitar, etc). But, I'm trying to nip that thought in the bud since the rest of me realizes I'll be a bit of a wreck with irregular sleep and caring for a new little person.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laugh and Learn

Click on the title above to read funny mistakes new and often overtired parents have made. I'm feeling a little less pressure already. Please feel free to share your own learning curves. I can always use a laugh, and may learn some great coping mechanisms for when I run out of diapers....

Eau de Bebe

Friday and Saturday, P and I went to snag most of the finishing touches from the Target and Babies R Us registries. Included were a couple bottles of HE Dreft. So, Sunday, I started washing baby clothes, blankets, bedding, diapers, etc. You wouldn't believe how many hang tags and connecting plastic tabs they use on those things. All those cunningly folded baby towels that seem to fold just right to show off the cute little animal hood are held in place by about 80 little plastic tags. And, this being a sensitive little baby, you really want to find all the little ends as you cut them off. Apparently, I got a little tunnel vision because as I moved the second load from the washer to the dryer, I noticed a few of the sticky tags like they put on blue jeans at the bottom of the the washer. Since Potus' stuff was monopolizing the laundry room, I decided to throw a few of my things in with a load. As I sit here, I wear a robe that is just oozing baby smell. So, now I know that you CAN bottle that baby scent. Personally, it's making me a little nauseous, so once we use the 120 loads or so of Dreft, I may try to seek out an unscented alternative.

Yesterday, I also went in search of nursing bras to try on. Despite the fact that there should be 100 or more nursing women at any one time in our little community, it appears there are only a couple options locally to try on. JC Penney's is the only store option and they have done their level best to hide their paltry selection of nursing bras and maternity clothes. So, it looks as though I'm back to playing Russian Roulette with non-returnable merchandise on the Interwebs. Cross your fingers for me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Surprise!

So, today was the day my office decided to throw a surprise going away/baby shower. I knew something was coming, but figured they'd put it off for a while. It kicked off with a rendition of "Take this job and shove it". I came out of an impromptu meeting and was greeted by a huge spread of food and most of the office staring at me. I thought I was just supposed to go to lunch with D, but it turns out that was a ruse so that I didn't head home for lunch at the crack of noon.

A Flaming Astro Weenie Pineapple by coworker Jake. He's only been talking about making one for 3+ years. He apparently just needed the proper motivation to get around to it.
I filled a plate to overflowing and when done, was instructed to open the gifts which consisted of a few smaller packages and a really large box. The theme was apparently feeding baby as the gifts included a couple freezer trays for baby food, spoons, bowls with handy suction cups, a cookbook, bibs, and in the big box, a Boon highchair. P even showed up to throw some barbs back at Jake and help get the highchair into my car.

Thank you coworkers!

Breastfeeding Class for Grownups

Last night, I went to a Breastfeeding Class put on by my doctor's office. As a friend had suggested, it was a much different experience than the AM La Leche League. First, there was only one infant. They encourage you to come to the class once before baby and once after. The idea being that after baby, you can bring up any additional questions or simply act as a confirmation to the "counselors" leading the session that yes, what they are telling all the soon-to-be moms is true and helpful.

These volunteer counselors (moms who have been through the same practice) put on a video and then followed it up with a more in depth discussion/demonstration of holding techniques, coping mechanisms, self-expression, etc. And, there was a little booklet with a lot of the same info, even including pictures of poop so I can tell what is normal and what warrants a call to the doctor.

One thing I thought was interesting was that they tucked in a hot pink card for us to take to the hospital. It has hunger cues on one side and basically a warning for the nursing staff on the other that this child (we're supposed to put it in Potus' bed/cart) is a breastfed baby from the XYZ practice and should not be given bottles, pacifiers, or anything else that might impede a successful breastfeeding relationship. Since accidents do sometimes happen, we've been informed that in the rare case that someone misses or disregards the implications of the card, we are to find out who, if possible, and report back to the doctor when I go back for my 6 week post-partum appointment. The doctor will then follow up and make clear to the staff member that no means no.

After the class section, they encouraged us to eat the refreshments while our assigned counselors sought us out, introduced themselves, and gave us their contact info. Mine is an outgoing mother of four who knows P's family and sometimes hangs out with my brother and sister-in-law. She was probably a little chagrined to find me so shy, but she did encourage me to call her with any questions, no matter how stupid they seemed to me, and at whatever time of day or night they came up. Like she was reading my mind, she said it was better to call than to try to work something out until the point that Potus and I became frustrated.

At this point, I'm glad I went to the class and am inclined to use these resources rather than La Leche League. However, I will probably still give LLL a couple more chances, especially the evening sessions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chore Wars

Apparently, parenthood comes with a number of built in conflicts (mommy wars, etc). One of the pleasant surprises when I moved in with P was that he was a willing participant in household chores. Mind, we are fortunate to be able to hire someone to come in every other week and do a thorough clean. However, P does his own laundry, puts dishes away, loads the dishwasher, cleans up if I cook, bakes, takes out the trash, collects the mail, vacuums when asked, loves shoveling snow, and is generally agreeable to any chore I ask him to do. I'm not sure how his mom did it, but I intend to sit down and have a chat with her before Potus gets to walking.

Somehow, in my house, things didn't go so smoothly. We had chores, sure, but it was like pulling teeth to get any of us to do them. I "roomed" with my sister until I lived on my own, so my attitude was still pretty combative until I lived with P. His attitude really positively impacted mine. He was a grown up, so I became one too. Anyhow, I'm curious, did anyone notice a decrease in domestic harmony when kids came along? Obviously, you get a lot more stuff, and mess, and have additional family members who cannot always be reasoned with. And, since I'll be staying home, there are the potential powder kegs of me being home all the time, P being the sole breadwinner, and the like. I expect any future conflict to mostly be a result of other issues instead of actual lack of help. Anyone have any experiences they want to share? Drop a comment or email....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doc Appointment Week 34

Just got back from the first doctor visit without P. He had to work. So, for him and anyone else who cares, today's stats are:
Fundal height: 30 cm (average should be around 34 cm, but doc says he thinks Potus is plenty big, just dropping already)
Potus' Heartbeat: Right around 130
Weight gained: 38 lbs.
Stretch marks so far: 0 (knock on wood)

Dr. W2 is "90% sure" that Potus is head down.

The only issue is the fact that my right foot is noticeably more swollen than my left. However, that could be explained by my habit of sitting on my right foot at the kitchen table. My dad tried to break me of that, but it didn't take. Otherwise, my blood pressure is good, I'm not dropping protein, and have no other noticeable issues. In 2-4 weeks, they will give me a Strep B test. I sent in my pre-registration to the hospital last week, so now, I just need to keep waiting, maybe pack a hospital bag, and take it easy as much as possible.

Wonder Toy

Click on the title to read a recent NYT article about iPhone use for babies and toddlers. We've decided to limit TV use when Potus arrives, but thus far haven't talked about video games, iPads, and iPhones. I've seen the immediate peace these devices can bring about, but the article makes some good points about kids needing to interact. Where to draw the line....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Week 34

Well, not much to report this week. I had an epiphany while lifting a pumpkin into the grocery cart that I really shouldn't be lifting anything that heavy. Each time I lift something a bit heavier than I should, I feel some tightening and it makes me freak out (a little). So, all that stuff that people have been trying to carry for the last 5 months or so, it's cool if they carry it now. I've finally got to the point where I will accept and even request help.

We (meaning P) got the baby seat installed in the back seat. He then brought the seat back into the house and left the base in the car. I think he's a little weirded out to drive around with the carseat just yet. I would be too at this point. However, since Potus will ride in Dad's car first, P gets the honors. We're looking at possibly upgrading my car to something a little more winter hardy and spacious, but if we do, it probably won't happen until January. So, if anyone wants to purchase a slightly used 2008 red Prius (option 2), shoot me a line. It has 4 season tires and an ipod/phone dock installed. It's great for hauling stuff and only has about 16,000 miles. The way I drive, it gets about 43 mpg in town.

I felt Potus kick while I was practicing guitar yesterday morning. Not sure if it was a happy kick or a "geez mom, play something catchy" kick. Poor kid will get to hear a lot of subpar practicing before it gets better. However, I already have trouble keeping the guitar on my lap, so the kicking didn't help any. I'm going to try using a smaller guitar at my next lesson, so we'll see if it helps any. I also find I get a twinge of carpal tunnel in my left wrist. But, it only flares up when I practice. Go figure.

It occurred to me today that the whiny coworker who has begun to frustrate me is good training for a fussy baby. I'm trying to put a good spin on it for sanity's sake. I'm just hoping that Potus is a lot more endearing. Either that or this easy irritation I've begun to notice subsides some once I quit work. The dogs bring it out too though, so I may be out of luck there. Speaking of irritating animals, the cat began a new campaign of clinginess this morning. She came up to me no less than 5 times before I left for work demanding head rubs, letting me pick her up and pet her on my lap (which she NEVER does), etc. I was actually running early yesterday, but because of all the affection, I left at my now normal time of 10 till. Usually, she just bugs me to get her treats in the morning and then she's done with me. I think she suspects something. We'll see how long this new found affection lasts.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

La Leche Madness

This morning, I took an hour or so off of work and wandered over to the AM La Leche League meeting at nearby church hall. I had absolutely no idea of what to expect. That was probably a good thing. I was about the 4th person to get there. As I found out, the more kids you have, the less likely you are to be on-time for anything. So, the people with no children or 1 were there on time. Then, waves of mothers kept coming in, until at least halfway through the hour with 2 or 3 children in tow. By the end, there had to have been at least 20 kids ranging in age from 8 months to 7 years.

When I got there, I thought it was strange to have just a circle of a dozen chairs or so in such a big room. The rest of the room was for the kids. As for the meeting itself, I was a little uncomfortable with all the moms periodically breastfeeding their kids even while they had the floor. They were all very discreet and matter of fact, but it was a little surreal. The topic was "Bringing Baby Home." And, since only 3 of us were expecting (the leader with her 4th), I spent a lot of the meeting with everyone staring in my general direction. The other newbie is due Sunday, so she had specific questions. I paid attention, but didn't speak up since that's a scenario I'm not really comfortable in. The conversation was all over the place, but it became clear that there are some very extreme beliefs in that group. I got the impression some of the mothers were a bit more moderate, but also quiet. I came away with some tips for getting off to a good start with breastfeeding as well as a couple suggestions for BF friendly pediatricians. The doctor we interviewed wasn't one of them, but then I wasn't thinking that far ahead when we met him. He may still be okay though. I asked a friend about her experience when I got back to the office. He seemed to support BF and wasn't quick to prescribe supplementation. I was also curious about cloth diapering experiences since some of the babies there were sporting them, but I needed to get back to work.

Unfortunately, the Breastfeeding "Tea" put on by the doctor's office coincides with the next evening meeting, because I'd like to see how different the dynamics are in a public coffee shop. I'll get a chance later though.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Used Pumps

Found an article that clearly spells out the hazards of used pumps. Apparently, used pumps can really be bad. I'm convinced. We'll buy our own....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 33 Update

According to Baby Center, Potus is about as heavy as a 4 pound pineapple. And, about 17" long, which seems incredibly tall for as long as I have left (49 days est.). I guess he/she will mostly plump up from here on out.

My second lead on a possible breast pump didn't pan out. If anyone has alternate suggestions, please let me know. I think I'll see what resources La Leche League may have. Supposedly, a breast pump with multiple users is unhygienic. That, of course, is coming from the manufacturer, so they could have ulterior motives for saying so. I haven't cracked the Breastfeeding book yet. Guess I should to see where LLL stands on that. And, the doctor-sponsored breastfeeding "tea" session is coming up next week. If all other options fail, we could break down and purchase one. I did find an online distributor that charges about $50 less and is located in NJ, so they don't charge sales tax or shipping.

In other news, I'm still feeling good and Potus is still kicking around. My ankles have started to swell pretty regularly. We're getting to be kind of boring. But, that's better than being interesting at this point.

The Aftermath

Saturday was the shower and P was out of town, so yesterday, we went through the gifts together. Surprisingly, we only got a couple duplicates, so the returns won't be nightmarish. Everyone was very generous and a few people were creative and crafty. A few highlights:

A starter kit for cloth diapering - One whole table at the shower seemed dismissive of the cloth diapering idea. P keeps surveying dads he knows and most say, "my wife tried that for like 2 weeks and then got tired of all the laundry." I'm trying to keep an open mind and like an epidural or breastfeeding, not be disappointed if it doesn't play out according to how I think it will. However, all these people being negative about it makes me more determined to give it a shot and at least TRY to make it work. Call me perverse.

A Handprint kit for baby - One of the family friends has proven to be consistently creative and thoughtful with her gifts. I really liked her bridal shower gift too. This kit has four little canvases and paints to do a grouping of hand or footprints either at the beginning or to show a progression as Potus grows.

A video baby monitor - One of the aunts was sooooo excited to get this for us that word was passed down to take the sound monitor we'd registered for off the registry almost as soon as the invites went out. Apparently, I imagined the conversation with P where we discussed pros and cons and settled on the voice monitor as perfectly adequate. He was STOKED about the monitor set and it was one of the first things he put up. There was some discussion about using it to monitor the pets to see who poops in the spare room. But, for now, we're monitoring the crib to see if we've managed to dissuade the cat from using the crib as her own personal palace. He's determined there is internet monitoring available, and I know he was going to see if there was an app to go with....

 The BOB stroller - Grandma asked what we still needed and we told her a stroller, so she and Grandpa bought the stroller, carseat adapter, and console, along with some busy toys to attach. P had that put together faster than all the other things he assembled and then proceeded to try to terrify the dogs with it. Really, it's quite a piece of engineering. It moves super smoothly and turns well. It does actually have a few plastic pieces, but all the crucial tightening and adjustment bits are metal, so we're looking forward to a stroller that might last until we're done with babies. When folded, it does still take up a bit of room though, so that'll be fun in the back of my Prius. I can't really imagine a stroller that takes up less room though, short of an umbrella type design.

A tie-dye outfit - One of the other aunts went looking for gender neutral baby clothes at the local baby boutique, where apparently they don't believe in gender neutral. The best she could find was an adorable little outfit of beautiful tie-dye. I kind of want to put it on Potus right away because I think it'll just look hilarious. He/she will be rainbow from head to toe since it came with pants, a shirt, a hat, and then, if we want to carry the look out when the outfit is in the wash, we can always use the matching blanket to swaddle our little one. You won't be able to miss the kid.

So, after the wrapping paper cleared I started to take inventory of what we still lacked. There are all sorts of little things, like a few bottles, some creams and toiletries, and things for baby proofing, but the major pieces we were still missing were the infant car seat and a breast pump. We ordered the car seat yesterday, but I'm still looking for a breast pump if anyone knows someone I can borrow from.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bebe Shower

Today was the baby shower and I'm just knackered. Attendance was around 25, far higher than I dared to expect. We had the ladies from work, family, family friends, the usual. The menu was a salad/fruit bar with a plethora of fixins. The gifts were overwhelmingly generous and I've got to get started on some thank you notes.  See pics below. To see the full gallery of pics, click here.
Cute onesie centerpieces and favors (jelly beans and tea).

Delicious Strongbow cake (buttercream frosting, sour cream chocolate cake with strawberries).

The gift table.

From left to right:  Alicia (the hostess), me, Ginny, Nancy (Sister-in-law), Stacia, Cathy.

The coworker table:  Erin, Amanda, Cheryl, Linda, Karen, Clara, and Dannette with baby Rigby.

The family table (mostly), front left to front right:  Heather, Joann, Marlene, Sherry, Elena, Cinda, Karen.

Aunt Cinda provided a presidential onsie and bib for Potus....

Opening gifts from my Aunt Deni. This photo makes me realize how much I resemble my mom.

A birdie throw pillow from my Aunt.

Modeling P's slice of cake.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Like a Nursery

My MiL announced yesterday that she was done with the crib bedding. Needless to say, we set up the crib last night....
The quilt. Love the variety of birds. P and I both gravitated to the Dodo bird right away...

My favorite panel of the bumper.

The opposite panel of the bumper.

An overall picture of the crib. Note the cloud sheet to match the reverse side of the bumper and the ties that match the tailored bedskirt (unfortunately mostly hidden at this mattress height).