Link Love

Uh oh… here’s a Link Love that I never published! I had to edit my text a little bit because I talked about after the baby comes haha…

Cuteness & Pumping

My last post was a little depressing, so I wanted to add a little cuteness!

Audrey loves the little bear she got from her cousins in Minnesota:

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Audrey’s “Uncle” Dan picked this up at a sale in his office, I hope she lives up to the name!:

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She might be a couch potato… Audrey loves TV! Here she is watching Ancient Aliens (in the second image, she’s on her potty!):

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Luke snapped this photo of her and I sleeping in the morning:

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In an adorable Dr. Seuss outfit we got at her shower:

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Audrey is such a happy baby that she smiles in her sleep:

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ON PUMPING

I’ve written on breastfeeding and pumping, but I have learned more since. I started work a couple weeks ago and have been pumping in the wonderful lactation room at my office. I soon realized that I would need to be pumping more than Audrey could eat… Since she doesn’t actually suck on the bottle, her care providers have to squeeze the milk into her mouth and hope she drinks it. She never finishes a bottle, only drinking half an ounce or one ounce max. I’ve started bagging my milk in 1-1.5oz portions so there is less waste, but it’s much better if there is too much milk than not enough!

I was concerned when I first started back at work, because it seemed like I barely had anything, and only pumped a couple ounces total during the day. I read up on how to increase supply while pumping, and it actually ended up being an easy fix! The more you pump, the more your body produces.

So here’s my basic schedule for the day:

8am – Wake up Audrey and nurse if she is hungry
8:45 – Drop Audrey off at daycare and nurse
9:15 – Once I settle in at work, pump
10:30 – Pump
12:30 – Visit Audrey at daycare and nurse
1:30 – Back at work, pump remaining milk
3:30 – Pump
5:30 – Pick Audrey up and nurse

Supposedly you make more milk in the morning, so it can really boost your supply to pump regularly (even if you just nursed), and even dry pumping can get the milk factory going. I use the Ameda Purely Yours breast pump and it’s great- it literally takes me less than 5 minutes to completely empty myself out. And with this strategy, I have majorly increased my supply!

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Adjusting to a New Routine

If last week I was sticking my toes in the water of going back to work, this week I am doing a cannonball.

On Sunday Audrey got a runny nose, and was coughing a little bit because of the post-nasal drip. Being a light sleeper is a blessing and a curse… I had to keep her at a little bit of an angle while she slept, and her sniffles and my own awkward positioning basically meant I got no sleep. On Monday I felt so exhausted I wanted to cry! No more sleeping in until all hours snuggling with my little girl!

Then on Monday I was working on a project that HAD TO BE DONE BY 3PM TODAY, while simultaneously running around shooting photos of an event taking place at our office all morning. I, of course, dipped out for an hour to feed Audrey, and then she has to be picked up before 6pm. When I got there to pick her up, her caretaker told me that she had refused to eat all afternoon, and she was really hungry. I fed her before packing her up and bringing her with me to the office to get a little more of the videos done so I could feel confident in hitting my deadline (Yes, I made it!).

I fed her as much as she wanted all evening, and we were both pretty exhausted. Unfortunately when we tried to get to bed around 9:30, Audrey got herself in a bad mood. Since her first couple weeks, she hasn’t normally been a big crier and she is perfectly happy in the evenings until she conks out. Last night was different though. I am thinking it was the stress of going to day care again and not eating much (I think she was a little dehydrated, her pee was a lot darker than usual) and just being really tired, but she just screamed. The only thing able to calm her down was Luke’s big arms, but as soon as he tried to lay down she would start crying again!

After quite a bit of frustration (which we didn’t want Audrey to see, lest she get even more upset) we finally got her to sleep at about 11:30, and this morning it all started again (the routine, not the screaming, thank God!). I am feeding her as much as she will eat when I drop Audrey off at day care in the morning, and again at lunch… hopefully she’ll start accepting the bottle one of these days!

I know it’s only her third day at day care today, and her caretakers said it usually takes babies a couple weeks to get fully acclimated. When it comes to eating and sleeping, she is just a very attached baby! She likes to eat from the boob and sleep in someone’s arms. At the same time, she is very social, loves being around lots of people, and has a smile ready for everyone!

Welcome Audrey Cecilia!

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After almost a month of prodromal labor, I am thrilled to announce that the real thing has finally happened and we now have a little tiny baby girl!!!

On Tuesday my usual contractions (type #3) were a little stronger than usual starting around 4, and by late evening they were hard to ignore. We went to bed around 10:30 and I figured they would go away as usual, but they woke me up just before 2am. I timed them for a bit and my tossing and turning woke Luke up. The contractions weren’t consistent in time between or time per contraction, but they seemed to be getting stronger and closer together. I filled the bathtub while Luke called our doula Teresa and our midwife Judy. Luke had Teresa come and while she was on her way, he ran around packing and I labored in the tub. When she arrived we headed to the hospital for a labor check (so they could confirm I was actually in labor).

When we got there the resident checked me and I was 9cm dilated! Thank goodness, because the contractions were actually painful at that point. Teresa called Judy right away and started filling the birthing tub in our delivery room. I had to wear a fetal monitor and toco for 20 minutes and I was so uncomfortable that all I wanted to do was get in the tub… it was so hard to keep still to give them the readings they needed to make sure I could have a water birth!

Soon enough I was in the tub, Judy was there, lots of nurses (who all happened to be clients of Luke) were in and out, and everything became a blur. Because I was in the hospital the birth was overseen by my midwife’s back-up doctor. I labored in the tub for a while and I was still 9cm, so they had me get up and move around, then get on the bed where they decided (and I allowed them) to pop my water bag. I got back in the tub and it was time to start pushing. I tried a bunch of positions and pushed for about an hour and a half, but just was not making enough progress so Judy had me move to the bed.

I never thought I’d be flat on my back with my feet in stirrups, but it ended up being the only way to get the baby out with how she was positioned in the birth canal! I ended up pushing for a couple more hours on the bed, popping capillaries all over my face (I looked like I had horrible razor burn for days!) and blood vessels in both of my eyeballs (still red, but I think they are just starting to heal). Luke was by my side and Teresa was keeping cold cloths coming for my forehead. There were nurses around me counting as I pushed- we were trying to get three good pushes per contraction at ten seconds each push. When the nurse was counting, I was thinking about Crossfit… those AMRAP workouts where you do as much work as possible in a set amount of time and then relax completely in between rounds. Knowing when my work was done for the time being gave me a goal and focus.

The pushing had been going on so long that they were getting worried I would get worn out before she was born. It was suggested that I hold back and not push for a couple contractions, but I felt strong and simply couldn’t not push. I couldn’t see what was going on of course, but eventually the baby’s head started peeking out. Judy and Doc could see from the way I was stretching that I was sure to be ripped to shreds as she crowned, so they encouraged me to allow an episiotomy. I consented so in between contractions Doc injected a local anesthetic and made a snip- on a scale from 1-4, it was a 2. After that it seemed to happen really fast- I think she crowned during the next contraction (Luke got to touch the head!), and soon after the head started coming all the way out.

I heard, “You’re going to want to see this!” I felt the head come out and although I had already pushed my three times for the contraction, everyone was excited around me so I kept my eyes open as I pushed one more time and felt the whole slippery body slide right out! “It’s a girl!” Audrey Cecilia came out sunny-side-up, facing the world. That was the reason for the start and stop labor over the past month, and for the exceptionally difficult delivery.

She started crying right away, and they placed our little baby girl covered in blood and goo right on my chest. She immediately pooped out meconium all over me! She was cleaned up on top of me while I delivered the placenta and afterbirth. Luke cut the cord which stopped pulsing almost right away, and Doc worked on stitching me up (2 stitches for the episiotomy and one stitch for a tear on the right side). There was also some tearing inside my vagina- it ended up being a very good thing I was in the hospital for the birth. Audrey was so awake and aware, and was able to latch on to my breast almost right away!

I didn’t know this at the time, of course, but Judy filled me in on a few more things when we met on Saturday. She and Doc have an understanding where no interventions will be made unless they are both in agreement that it is necessary. They both agreed I needed to get out of the tub and later that I needed to be snipped- Judy said she almost never performs episiotomies, but in my case even if I had a home birth, she would have given me one. There was something they did not agree on though… I had been pushing at the upside-down baby for hours and Doc just didn’t think there was room for her to fit. He and Judy discussed the C-section, but she didn’t agree that it had to be done. I didn’t know why at the time, but she spent some time checking me out- feeling the passageway and the baby’s head, and she thought the baby could fit. She believed in my body’s ability to birth my baby, when if the birth had been managed only medically, they would have given me a Caesarean much sooner citing that the baby was posterior and would never have fit.

I am so thankful for my staff who believed in me enough to allow me to have a natural, drug-free birth of my baby girl. Labor lasted almost a month, active labor (that I was awake for, anyway!) lasted about 7.5 hours, and I pushed for about 4.5 hours. Judy said that on a scale of 1-10 for level of difficulty, this birth was an 8 or 9. No wonder I felt like I got run over by a truck, and looked like I had taken a beating! Judy told me not to look in the mirror for three days… of course I did, and all I can say is thank goodness I’m not too vain!

Audrey Cecilia made her entrance on Wednesday, January 9 at 9:18am. She weighed 7lbs 3oz and was 20 inches long with a major cone head (the bruise is finally almost gone now!) Luke and I are thrilled and just fall more in love with this eating, sleeping, pooping bundle of joy every day!

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No Christmas Baby!

Sunday night I had another bout of crazy contractions a few minutes apart, accompanied by lower back pain and pelvic pressure, and went to bed wondering if it would keep up. On Monday, Christmas Eve, I had consistent contractions six minutes apart all day, but they never picked up. In the evening we went over to my sister-in-law’s for dinner and the kids were running around screaming- the baby started moving around like crazy, and the contractions stopped completely! I think the baby got a little freaked out haha…

Since then I’ve just had some BH contractions, and am still hoping the baby will wait until the new year! Although it would be cool to be able to mark the baby as a deduction in this year’s taxes, and of course I will be thrilled whenever the baby decides to join us, I have a couple thoughts on why I’d like the baby to stay in for just a little while longer.

I always saw women who were nine months pregnant and thought, Aww, she looks so miserable!! Oddly, I don’t feel that way. I have the same aches and pains and fatigue that I’ve had for the past few months, and I can deal with them for a little longer.

This week and next week I have 3-day weeks at work because of Christmas and New Years, so I don’t want to waste any of my maternity leave on short weeks!

For the kid’s sake, it would probably be better if the kid’s birthday isn’t too close to a holiday so it doesn’t just get lumped in! I feel bad for people who have a birthday right around Christmas and just get one present for both, or don’t get a birthday party because everyone has holiday parties to attend. New Years wouldn’t be so bad because a lot of the time people are looking for things to do, but it would be best for the kid to have his or her birthday a few days or a week after at least! Also, there is so much excitement and events already in December, and it all just stops abruptly after the New Year. Having a birthday to celebrate in January would just extend the fun a little longer!

Today I am 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant, so the baby could come very soon, or it could stay in for another month… it will be interesting to see what happens!

Made it to 37 Weeks!

We can stop worrying… I am now 37 weeks pregnant so if the baby decides to come, we don’t have to go to the hospital! Besides the fact that I am sick, I am ready for the baby to come.

The excitement this week has put into perspective that the baby may potentially come much earlier than anticipated. While I never thought Shim would be late, I thought he/she would at least wait until January. While that may still happen, it seems just as possible that we’ll be celebrating a December birthday. I am just hoping the baby is not born on Christmas eve or Christmas!

If we make it past the “end of the world,” that is! 😉

36 Weeks- Time flies when you’re having fun!

T – 1 week until baby “Shim” is full-term!

If this were happening any other time of the year, the last few weeks would probably just drag by. Luckily for me, the combination of holiday activities, Luke’s birthday, and all things baby-related are just making the time fly!

Tuesday my tailbone was killing me so bad at work that I left halfway through the day to work from my couch, which was a lifesaver. It’s not an option for me every day, but luckily I just had one big project that was easy enough to tackle on my laptop.

Wednesday was Luke’s 32nd birthday! He got home late on Tuesday night and opened his big gift… I had a photo from our honeymoon (below) blown up and printed onto canvas:

Humpback Whales - Juneau, AK

I figured we could always look at it and remember the amazing adventure that jumpstarted our married life!

On Wednesday during the day we had our company holiday party. We got to sleep in, then roll into the office around 11am for some food and drinks before bussing to the mall. Coyne gave us each money to spend on ourselves – I finally got the awesome massager from Brookstone that I have been eying for a while!! I also power shopped and checked a bunch of Christmas presents off my list… I didn’t want to have to go to the mall again! Luckily, I had plenty of co-workers who were happy to help me carry my bags! After the mall, we came back to the office for some games and more food and drinks. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time I got home!

We went over to Luke’s parents’ for a Beef Wellington dinner (yumm!!!), then his younger sisters came over for a bit to hang out and have dessert. I was half hanging out and half cleaning, since our midwives were coming for their first home visit the next day and I didn’t want them to think we were slobs… Luke opened he last of his presents- a pile of goodies from Omaha Steaks 🙂

Luke's Birthday

After all the fun and excitement of Wednesday, my body rebelled… I was back and forth to the bathroom all night, I think because my tummy did not like something I ate. Luckily the baby was unaffected- it was dancing in my belly even while I was on the toilet at one point haha. I stayed home on Thursday and worked in the morning, and my tummy was okay again by midday. My throat was (and still is) hurting and I had barely slept the night before, so I stayed home the rest of the day.

The midwives came at about 12:30- Judy, our regular midwife, and Kasey, her back-up. Both women will be at the birth as long as none of their other girls go into labor at the same time! The baby is still head down and heart rate at 140 (the baby will not give us any hints about its sex!!) and I measured in at 35cm, meaning the baby is still tracking a little small. They said it’s a very good sign that I’ve been having so many BH contractions! I definitely have more when I am active and standing- not so much when I am sitting or relaxing. I feel like that information may come in handy at some point. Even though the baby is small, Judy is still pretty sure it will come early or on time.

The midwives said our house is pretty much ideal for home birth which is good, and our bathtub is big enough if I want to labor there. I might start off there and move to the birthing tub later on – it’s just easier to keep an actual bathtub warm, and the water can be drained and re-filled much more easily. I just have to make sure it’s clean and ready to go, since most of the time it’s unused and filled with cat hair!

Time will continue to fly as it has, I’m sure… Tonight we are going out with friends for Luke’s birthday, tomorrow we have our second childbirth class (we gave up the tickets for the Grinch because it would have been a little too tight for us to get there in time with minimal stress), then next week I have my sign-off appointment with the Group B strep test, then next Friday I’ll be full-term! Activities continue after that, of course, but for every invitation we give more of a tentative “yes” – all depending on how I am feeling at that point.

I know that women give birth all the time, all over the world, but it’s really exciting when it’s YOU, and YOUR baby!

Baby Shim’s Personality

It may be a bit early, but I’ve already assigned some personality traits to this little one in my womb!

Playful

Baby and I, and sometimes daddy, play a little whack-a-mole type game through the walls of my belly. Sometimes Shim will stick a foot out, we’ll touch it or press on it lightly, and the baby will retract and stick it out somewhere else… this little game with our unborn baby can last up to 5 minutes!

Shy

The baby seems to know the difference between me or Luke and other people… the baby may be moving like crazy, and the minute someone else talks to me or touches my belly, Shim will immediately still and wait a good five minutes before starting up again.

Energetic

I seriously hope this baby sleeps more once it comes out, but currently it’s feeding on a continuous stream of my energy to fuel its workouts and playtime, and never seems to sleep more than an hour at a time.

Link Love

“A mother does not become pregnant in order to provide employment to medical people. Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males. It is a woman’s crowning creative experience of a lifetime.”
― John Stevenson

33-Week Midwife Appointment

We have started 2-per-month appointments with our midwife, and had an appointment yesterday. Everything is still good- my belly measured in at 33cm and BP 100/60. When Judy listened in on the baby’s heart, the baby kicked at her probe! “Active baby!”

She also had a couple extra birthing tubs from births where they didn’t end up using them, so she gave one to us… awesome! That, along with a short to-do-list for the next few weeks.

She reminded us that I was 33 weeks, 5 days pregnant, so in just over 3 weeks I will be full-term and free to give birth at home! It’s totally nuts to me that I could be giving birth so soon, but at least we have all the stuff we need should the baby come early. My guess date is January 11, but the baby could come as early as December 22 and be perfectly fine! I am thinking it will be after the New Year sometime, though maybe early since I sometimes feel the baby trying to dig its way out 😉

Judy also mentioned a couple other things that made me happy… First, she said that she wished more pregnant women ate a diet like me. I don’t stick to it 100% of the time, but most of the time, and for that reason I have not ballooned up and have had a healthy and easy pregnancy so far.

Also, at the beginning of our appointment Luke ran out to move his truck and a couple recycling bins for her, and as soon as he left, Judy started saying how he was such a nice, great guy! Of course I knew that already, but I love it when other people notice how amazing he is… I couldn’t have chosen a better partner in this journey and I am so proud of him.