Things I do not miss.

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. There are some moments that we will always cherish and remember. Even miss from time to time. But lets face it, pregnancy isn’t always wonderful, it can be painful towards the end even. And if I am going to be completely honest, there are things I absolutely do not miss.

Like dressing for work.

Sure on the weekends, I could get away with over-sized t-shirts I swiped from my husbands closet, and comfy leggings. But when it came to work clothes while I was pregnant? Yes I could pretty much forget about it. Especially towards the last stages when I couldn’t exactly hide that little belly I had in front of me. In fact I am pretty sure  I went through the last month or two wearing the same five outfits.Granted I could have gone out and bought more but as I knew little lady was coming early, I didn’t see the point in going out and buying new ones once I hit the month to go.

And that fashion? I know people always comment about how much cuter maternity clothes are these days thanks to Jessica Simpson and others who are at least attempting to make it be more stylish. Yet I searched local stores,  pinned outfits on Pinterest and hit up every magazine order looking for something. But I could never seem to find anything “cute” while I was expecting. Especially in the work clothes department. The stores either didn’t have my size, length or had never sold the outfit I was in hopes of. I remember quite vividly being told that they don’t sell them in my size because that would encourage teenage kids to become pregnant and then suggested I hit up the internet for them.  Which may have been fine had they not cost me an arm and leg in order to do so. So if there were cute clothes out there to be had, I had not found them.

Yes there are things I miss about being pregnant, I miss the excitement of knowing she was coming soon. I miss feeling her kick and play. And I miss the moments when I had her all to myself, before the outside world welcomed her.

But clothing? Is not one of them.

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Welcoming Harper Avery

It has been a very emotional week. And yet a wonderful week.

Being that I was going to be induced this time around, I had really no idea what to expect in the sense of how long it would take, what to expect and how well it would go. After all, I had heard nothing but horror stories regarding induction that it frightened me in a lot of ways. I will be honest and say, I had fully prepared myself mentally for a C-section. Though I prayed I wouldn’t have to.

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The last pic before checking in.

Wednesday December 16th found me checking in to the hospital at just before 9. Instead of wobbling in, doubled over in pain as many women around me were I felt like I was checking in to a hotel rather than getting ready to have a baby. They settled me in to the labor and delivery room where I would call home for the next several hours (or days??) While I got situated the nurse ran down my history (which is exceptionally long) strapped me in to the fetal monitoring/contraction monitor and before I knew it the doc was coming in to go over the schedule.

Now I will say this, I have had a lot of medical issues. From my slight disability, to a complicated birth of my son to my colon issues. None of which I ever really dwell about, that is until the doctor comes in and goes over everything and then informs you that you are pretty much HIGH RISK for both sets of delivery, and she will do her best but fingers crossed everything goes well because it is not going to be easy. She then smiles as I start crying and says that it will be OK. After which she sets up and gives me the medicine to start softening my cervix, tells me to try and get some sleep and wishes me luck as she will probably not be the doctor in the morning.

Thursday December 17th Induction day, I did not sleep very well at all, I was to nervous, anxious, excited and yes scared to. Not to mention, one does not realize how loud a hospital can be until you are in a labor and delivery section. The new staff came in. What a difference! The doctor was so very different, upbeat positive. Even the nurse was incredible! .We all knew the baby was small, she knew it. And she knew my past but she said her goal was to have me deliver before she left out of there at 8, in the hours that followed I would really grow to like the day staff that was assigned to me, they really kept me going and I hoped they would be the ones to be there when the little lady arrived. We started the Pitocin around 10 hoping it would work its magic. By 2:30 I was getting an epidural as they increased my dosage to the point I decided I had had enough. And somewhere around the same time, the doc came to check in on me and when I hadn’t dilated enough for their liking decided to put in a foley bulb to help. To answer-yes it was uncomfortable, but the epidural helped a lot and I knew it would be worth it. Still it took several hours of which Anderson my mom, my in-laws and I did a lot of sitting around, coloring and talking.

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Harper Avery!

Every so often the nurse (Dana) would check me out when I hadn’t progressed as much as they wanted, she would increase the Pitocin. In hopes to speed things up, the doctor broke my water around 6 and said that should help. By 7:30 frustration hit I was still not making as much progress as they thought I would have, so they increased it once again. Added to that I knew that the nurse and the doctor that I really liked were getting ready to call it a night, in fact they came around the introduce the new nurse. As she was going over my chart I was finally beginning to feel like crap, still the nurse said it would probably be awhile. So I focused on Jeopardy, sent my in-laws off and tried to get comfy. And just as the nurses left, I knew it was time. And I knew it wouldn’t be long!

At 7:55 PM, my nurses were running in (Dana decided to stick around just so she could help out!) along with the doctor! I was in active labor for 9 minutes and 3 and a half pushes before our princess arrived at 8:04PM, weighing in at 4 Ibs. 5 oz. and 17 1/2 inches long.

Harper Avery was finally here!

Believe it or not it was quite the easy labor really. And unlike the last, I had no issues what so ever. She was tiny though, and as warned would spend the first five days in the NICU.

Saturday December 19 Being discharged while leaving my daughter behind was exceptionally hard. And yet at the same time, I missed my son and I knew she was in good hands. That being said, I have the utmost respect for the nurses that take care of our babies in the NICU! They are incredible, caring and so amazing. And over the five days, I would come to find out just how much they do. To all the Nurses, NICU nurses I thank you….

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Hanging out

When she was first put in there, she was on CPAT for 24 hours to get her breathing under controlled but was soon off of it. By Sunday she was off of it, and a lot of the IVs, our hope was we would get her home in time for the holidays, but knew there was the possibility that we wouldn’t as she needed to maintain her temp. Anderson and I were up at the hospital every day in one way or another getting daily updates. She looked good, surprisingly so considering everything we went through during the pregnancy and she amazed the nurses and doctors at how healthy she was for being born at 37 weeks as she was passing every test.

It wouldn’t be long.

Tuesday December 22 We had hoped today would be the day, so we made our way down to the hospital just in time for rounds were we would find out. But things got a little sidetracked as 23 week twins were suddenly born and rushed in, while they gave Harper the all clear to be discharged, they would need to do paperwork. And since they were taking care of an emergency situation we would have to wait. No matter, we knew we would be taking her home. We had all day. She was worth it.

12374776_10153779523105883_7304543963379440414_oThe hospital gave us  vouchers for free lunch, in part for our trouble and for us having to wait. It wasn’t necessary but it was super sweet and very nice. And since we had no clue on how long exactly it would be, we took advantage of it. We were anxious to get her home, to have Logan who had yet to meet her finally be able to. I think that was one of the hardest things to do, as they do not let anyone under the age of 18 in the NICU. To try and explain that he was a big brother, yet he hadn’t seen her was difficult. We were just looking forward to having them both home.

Finally by 3 they had the discharge ready to go. So with paperwork in hand, videos watched and Harper ready to go, we walked out.

She was coming home.

 

 

 

The age gap.

It is my last day in the office before maternity leave, since I have given all of my tasks to others to do while I am gone, it is safe to say I am not getting a whole lot done other than answering a thousand questions regarding leave, the baby and family.  Most are harmless, and simple questions answered in a couple of seconds, followed often by advice and well wishes. And then you get the ones you know is coming.

“Your son, he is a lot older right?”

I wouldn’t call a six year old a lot older. After all, he still believe in Santa and enjoys snuggling with us and needs help doing things from time to time.  Sure he is a lot older than most kids who have a sibling.”He will be 7 in February.” I state.

“Why did you wait so long? That is to far of an age gap, you will ruin your children.You should have had them closer.”

To which I cringe.

Look I get it, I understand that the trend these days is to have your kids a little closer in age. But what is ideal for one family isn’t ideal for my own. Life gets in the way. With the limited use of my right hand, Andy and I had always talked about having our kids a little farther apart than most. By the time we were ready for number two, health issues came up by the time I was cleared for baby #2, I was a year away from graduating. While having another child was important, so was that degree. And as much as I didn’t want to wait, I realized if we had another child, the likelihood of not finishing was that much greater. Believe me going to school, working full time and having a family is not easy with one child. I wanted to be able to put my time in effort in finishing.

I do not say any of these however. Because I do not feel the need to. How does she know we hadn’t been trying for years? How did she know what our battles were like? She doesn’t. No one knows. And I do not feel like I need to defend my choices. I did not ask them why they choose to have their three kids within 4 years of one another. Nor did I give  them my thought on it.

By no means do I think an age gap will ruin them.

No, maybe my son and daughter won’t exactly be sharing secrets, or giggling at the same thing all the time. No they will not be going to the same school at the same time. But they will each have their own time (even if at different points in their lives). We will be able to enjoy each stage differently. And just because they have an age gap does not mean they will not love each other, rather they can learn from one another. Logan is already looking forward to protecting her when it comes to dating, and being the big role model. As for her,  I am sure she will teach him to always have a childlike quality about him that he will soon forget.

Maybe it doesn’t work for others, but it works for us.

And I am OK with that.

The sleeping issue.

It’s just about 5:30 on a Friday morning and I am wide awake. I realize to many this is not an early hour, many are already getting ready for their day.

Except I have been wide awake since 3:30 this morning. Not to mention the two hours prior where I did nothing but toss and turn. I glance over at Anderson who is snoring away deep in sleep. It is one of the few times I envy him.

Welcome to  insomnia my friends. While I have been dealing with it on and off for the majority of this pregnancy, it hasn’t been until the past couple weeks that it has truly hit me hard. Even after speaking to the doctor and taking the allowed medicine,  trying every trick from listening to calming music to counting to getting up and letting it go, I am still battling it. If it isn’t Andy’s snoring the wakes me, it is the constant need to pee at 2 in the morning. Or the little feet that kick me around 3.  On top of all of that, I have woken up starving for the past couple of nights, an odd thing considering I am not one to be this hungry all the time. And don’t get me started on any attempt to get comfortable. Because these days, that is not happening what so ever.

And here I thought my sleep problems would start when she arrives.

So for all the mothers to be, or those that have dealt with the same issue, what is/was your best suggestion to sleep in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy?

 

 

Overnight Bags and Checklists.

The bags are packed.

The bags are packed.

Decided it was about time to start packing my overnight bags for the hospital.Eek!  The baby bag was packed about a week ago, but packing for myself made it real.  The realization that before I know it, my family of three will be a family of four.

Yes that is right, she will be here before we know it. One week to be exact.

It has been a while since I packed an overnight bag for a hospital stay, Logan was born in 2009 after all. So naturally I did what any mom to be would do. I turned to the internet for help and advice. I came across the following list, some of which I have decided I don’t need. I really don’t think I am going to be worried about blow drying my hair after all, the lip balm on the other hand is definitely a must for me! Still the list came in handy and served as a loss base of what is in my bag.

And because it did, I figured I would go ahead and share it. Here is the list, thanks to Checklist:Packing a Hospital Bag

Must-Haves:

[ ] Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)

[ ] 2-3 pairs of warm, nonskid socks that can get ruined (for walking the halls before and after labor)

[ ] A warm robe or sweater you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause

[ ]maternity bras — no underwire — and nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak-protection)

[ ] Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)

[ ] Toiletries and personal items — hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup (as if), shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)

[ ] Eyeglasses

[ ] Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips — they’ll probably poke you)

[ ] Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges to keep your mouth moist during labor (candy with sugar will make you thirsty)

[ ] Pen and paper

[ ] Lots of change for the vending machines and non-perishable snacks (you’ll probably be hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria could be closed)

[ ] Cell phone and charger, phone numbers of people to call after birth, prepaid calling card (if your hospital doesn’t allow cell phones)

[ ] Camera, film or extra memory card, battery or charger

[ ] A gym bag packed with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner

Take it or leave it:

] Extra pillow (with a case that can get ruined, in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white)

[ ] Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size and flat shoes (or, just wear the clothes you came in… sorry, but they’ll probably still fit)

[ ] Bath towel (the hospital will likely supply a small, very thin one)

[ ] Hairdryer

[ ] Your favorite brand of soap, shampoo and heavy flow sanitary pads (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re picky)

[ ] A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined (the hospital will have disposable pairs, which some women find handy and others find gross)

[ ] A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human)

[ ] Breast pump, if you plan to use one

[ ] Slippers that can get dirty

[ ] Very light reading (think mags and newspapers, not War and Peace)

[ ] Your MP3 (loaded with your favorite tunes, of course)

[ ] Massage oil and tools like rolling pins or tennis balls, and lucky or inspirational objects (honestly, we doubt you’ll use ’em…but feel free to prove us wrong!)

Leave Home:

[ ] Any clothes or nighties you really like (they will get ruined)

[ ] Stopwatch (your nurse or a monitor will take care of timing contractions)

What to Bring For Baby:

[ ] Approved car seat

[ ] A coming-home outfit

[ ] Warm blankets (for the ride home)

[ ] Outdoor gear like a snowsuit and hat, as seasonally appropriate (remember, babies are extra sensitive to cold)

By Paula Kashtan

Again, I really don’t think all of these things need to be with you, we are there to give birth not to stay for a week and it is definitely not a fancy hotel stay. But good to think about in any case.

 

 

Growth Spurts

12291924_10153743199850883_1159635333432228247_oWe had what will be our final growth scan yesterday at our 35 week appointment.  And we have hit a major growth spurt! A whole pound in two weeks. It is the most she has grown since we began monitoring back at 23 weeks-which seems like ages ago-. That is right we are now sitting at two ounces shy of 4 Lbs. It was considered a huge win for her. Even the doctor gave her a round of applause and said she couldn’t believe it. This was by far more than what any of us expected as her normal has been about 8 ounces every two weeks.

With a week and a half to go before we check in to the hospital, this little girl just may make it to almost 5 Lbs! Fingers crossed.

It is also looking like we just may make it to 37 weeks, something that seemed quite impossible back at that 23 weeks appointment when we were first told we would have to be monitored. There of course are still concerns, the fluid around her heart which is minimal but still there, the fact that she is still small despite her growth this past week. And the placenta while holding its own is beginning to show signs that enough is enough. Minimal the doctor said, and not exactly new news, as it was to be expected. In fact they were thinking it would have happened by this point.

None of these things seem to be alarming enough to change of plans, but still remain enough to be monitored for the next week and require us to still be induced come Dec. 16th. But they of course will be on my mind and my thoughts until I know she is safe and in my arms. Then again I suppose there will always be concerns when you are expecting. Even the healthiest of pregnancies tend to have fears and concerns, though not as visible.

After all, as a mother; as a parent that is normal.

 

 

A smashing way to start December.

I have heard so many expecting moms go on about how smooth their pregnancies have been. How they have glowed and enjoyed every single minute of it, even when the last final weeks really started kicking their butts. Even myself with my first was pretty routine. He came on time, I had very little morning sickness. Slept through the night. It was a picture perfect pregnancy. The only small hiccup was a long labor.

IMG_4805This pregnancy however? I am pretty sure I have been through everything you can think of. And have thrown everything I could at this little girl.From extra tests to weekly monitoring sessions and a thousand ultrasounds. It has been a long road that is for sure.

So I didn’t think we could go throw anything else, after all we are fast approaching the end of the pregnancy with two weeks exactly until I am checking in to the hospital, But of course the way this pregnancy has gone perhaps I should have expected the unexpected. Like a minor car accident yesterday morning on our way to work.  Thankfully it was only minor, as we were re-ended  on the Roosevelt Bridge coming in to DC.

We were all shaken up, a little confused and nervous when it first happened, but otherwise we seemed alright. After the shock my first thought was for little lady, instinctively I put my hands on my stomach only relaxing after I felt her  move around, amazingly so. Yes it seemed as though the jolt woke her up quite a bit.  I checked myself out then, I appeared to be OK. Still, even if we appeared alright something in the back of my head told me to call the doctors.  Now I am not one to rush over and just hang out at the doctors just because, but I have someone else to think about. Believe me spending 6 hours in the L&D department of the hospital, getting monitored and evaluated was not exactly how I expected to spend my Wednesday by any means.

But it was better to be save than sorry.

We checked in to the triage just around 9:45 AM, and soon found ourselves going over my entire medical history while they did the vitals, and began the process of monitoring. Within minutes it was clear that little lady was fine. She was given the nurses a run for their money (which seems to be a common theme with her) as she would not sit still long enough for them to actually put the heart monitors in one place. A good sign the RN said. However even i things looked alright, we still had to sit there for several hours while blood work came through and to make sure she would be alright for several hours during a NST (Non-Stress Test)

And after several hours, we were given the reaffirmation that she did indeed looked absolutely fine and so did I. We were able to leave on our own, and nothing more needed to be done other than being discharged.

As much as I didn’t exactly have heading to the hospital on my agenda for the day, I will say the one nice thing is we used it as a good practice run. Two weeks from yesterday we will be making our way to the very hospital to do the real thing. While we had a couple of options when it came to local hospitals, we know we made a great decision in choosing the one we choose. We were impressed and happy with the nurses who kept coming in and checking on me, and the doctor who saw us was extremely helpful and informative. If nothing more, it put my mind at ease knowing  I will be in good hands.

My only hope is that these next two weeks are uneventful and normal.

Appointments, Showers and Snuggles.

We started the weekend off with our 33 week appointment to find out how much baby girl has grown and to check on her vitals once more. And again just in the past two times that we had gotten measured, she grew another 8 ounces, measuring now about an ounce or two shy of 3 Lbs. If she keeps up and continues to gain at the rate (which is still tiny by standards) she will be sitting at 4 Lbs if we are lucky when she arrives. Other than that, she looks good and is thriving in every other way. While we were there we got the final arrangements to check in to the hospital on the evening of the 16th of December. I am still finding it incredibly hard to believe that we are just about three and a half weeks away!  I am currently trying to debate if this pregnancy has flown by, or dragged on. At times, depending on the month I believe it has done a little of both. Of course now that I say this, and know that we are approaching the end, with Thanksgiving on Thursday and the holidays around the corner, I assume it will fly right on by. While I am ready to be done with doctors appointments, I am also trying to enjoy every moment while I can, knowing these moments will never come again.

12249973_10153415203923439_6069192554152156706_nSaturday was a quite the busy day, as it was Baby Shower day! It was amazing being able to share the excitement with so many friends and family. There was games, and good memories and a lot of laughter shared by so many. And while I obviously wasn’t able to participate and enjoy the Sangria, from what I heard it was quite fabulous! My sister who’s restaurant was the host of the party , should be really proud of that, a lot of people raved about it. And thanks to my mom, she did not forget about me and my love of Strawberry Daiquiri’s, even if it was virgin, I gladly enjoyed it. They both did such a wonderful job. Thank you to all my family and friends who came out of their way and took time out of their busy schedule to celebrate with us! We appreciate it so much.

12274308_10153721037680883_2412869695442624472_nNow, comes the hard (yet unbelievably fun) part, it is time to organize, clean and figure out where everything goes. Thankfully we are just about finished with the baby room, so we have that going for us.

With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming arrival of my little princess I try to make sure I spend as much time as I can with Logan, who is thrilled to be a big brother but I get the feeling he is beginning to fear he will be left out. As it is, with all these doctors appointments, especially the ones in the early mornings, he spends a lot of time with my parents so that I can make them and he can make the bus. So while my nephew asked if Logan could stay the evening with them, Logan opted to spend the evening with just mommy to get some snuggle time in, watching the Caps game on the couch. I do not know who enjoyed it more, he or I.

IMG_4754I know the time one on one and as an only child is coming to an end but I promised him we would not forget about him, and that he would still be able to spend some time with us just himself from time to time. I also told him that just because he is my oldest doesn’t mean he isn’t important. He has a big role coming up, and he is going to be fabulous at it, and that I am super proud of him! I think he really needed to hear that as he went to bed a lot happier of a camper. Once he was down for good I made sure to make a mental note to reassure him that he is just as big a part of my life as this little girl is.

After all, he is still my baby. No matter how old he is.

 

The Leave Question

Yesterday I was stopped by a coworker who looked at my stomach and started the usual questions that I have gotten so accustomed to. When am I due? Is it a boy or girl? Have we decided on a name? These are the typical questions that usually turn in to 5 minute conversation about everything from how I am feeling to if I am ready.

Somewhere along the line the conversation turns to maternity leave, how much time am I taking off and when (or if) do I plan on returning? It is a question I have been dreading and thinking about since we first found out I was expecting in May. With my first child, I took a total of 10 weeks off which didn’t seem quite long enough, then again it never does. I promised myself if I was ever to be blessed with a second that I would take the full 12 I was allowed. Because I learned that the time with my newborn was precious. It is time I will never get back.

“12 weeks hopefully.” I state and smile.

“Well that is good. That means by the time you come back you will be climbing the walls and itching to return. You will be ready.”

To which I do not know how to respond. Because itching to return isn’t the first thought that comes to mind at the moment. Not when I am  just trying to get through the next month before this little lady is born,  that we have everything together, our ducks in a row and making sure she is doing well. Not to mention returning to work was hard the first time, I doubt it will be any easier this time around. As for climbing the walls? This remains to be seen. I loved having the time with my son just the two of us. Yes adult interaction is great, don’t get me wrong, but there is something about being needed that makes me feel welcomed. Wanted. And the introvert in me doesn’t need to be surrounded by a thousand people all the time.

“I don’t know about that.”

“Oh believe me, you will..every mother is ready by then.” She nods her head as if that is a definite and I am not to argue with her.

“Well the one thing for certain, it will fly by.”

This is the only thing we both agreed on.

4 Things I am tired of hearing.

Just eat more: Look I get it. I didn’t understand the concept of exactly why my little one wasn’t growing myself. But suggesting I eat more isn’t going to help her grow. We have tried that, we have tested, monitored and seen specialist. None of them know exactly why she isn’t growing at the rate they would like her to. Thankfully she is growing, and how much I eat, or don’t eat has nothing to do with it.

Why don’t they just let you go longer? It is amazing the number of people who have asked this. Everyone from myself to coworkers who know what is going on ask. Some on a daily basis. But the truth is, keeping her in there longer may not be what she needs. I remember asking this to the doctor one afternoon who informed me that it is probably safer for both little girl and myself to have her early. After all, as she stated some babies do better on the outside than on the inside. They thrive more. And seeing that the specialist we saw at Children’s Hospital agreed, I will take their word for it. Maybe it isn’t exactly what we planned, and perhaps it is a little sooner than what we would like but ultimately if it is what is best for all of us, then that is what we are going to do. As it is, they were just concerned with getting me to 28 weeks there for awhile. So 37 weeks is a lot longer than they had once thought.

Do you really need to go to 2 appointments a week? (This is usually followed by is that common??) Yes, I do. I admit I have a love/hate relationship with getting monitored twice a week. One hand I love seeing and hearing little one that often. There is something comforting in knowing she is there, happy in her own little world at the moment. Yet at the same time we still hold our breath when they measure her. Has she grown? Is she doing alright? And even if I am just sitting there, with both the heart and contraction monitors hooked up for 20 to 40 minutes and a measurement appointment later in the week, it has a tendency to be emotionally draining, it plays on every emotion I have. At times I want to just sleep through it, and at times I want to jump up and cheer at the small victories.  No it may not be common, but I doubt it all that uncommon as well. I know there are other couples who have gone through the same thing.

Why don’t you just have a C-section? I had a  lot of people assume I would be having one, several thought because I am over 30, which apparently automatically means I am having one. But here is the thing, unless I have to have it for medical reasons., I don’t plan on having one. Nor do I think as some believe, it is the easy way out. But I have had one two many other medical surgeries to really want one. Obviously if it came down to it, if we absolutely needed to get one done then yes, but otherwise being induced is not a c-section.