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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Continuing with Tradition

Every year since we have been married Shawn and I have our own little tradition.  We've traveled to the top of Mount Washington via the auto road and taken a photo.  Despite being in the throes of a tremultous first few weeks of caring for a newborn  (see my last post) I wanted to make sure that for the third year we were able to make the same trip. 

So, the other day we loaded up the car, the baby, ourselves, and traveled the two plus hours through the White Mountain National Forest to the base of Mount Washington.  It was a great day full of foliage and a lot of awesome sights. 

The three of us, even three week old miss Emily, got to pose at the peak for a photo-op.  It was a gorgeous day where we could see for miles and the temperature at the peak was in the sixties.  Three years down, dozens to go...  

I love this tradition. 

And in case you are curious here are the other photos from previous years...

1st Anniversary:  We could only go to 4,000 feet in elevation due to severe snow and ice.  They made us turn around half up, but I snapped a photo of us at the highest spot we could go, thus starting the tradition. 

2nd Anniversary:  Actually made it to the peak this year where it was a whopping thirty degrees with a harsh wind.  At the bottom it was seventy and sunny. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Postpartum Ain't Easy

I'd be lying if I said things have been wonderful since Emily entered the world.  While she is a little piece of sunshine I have had one heck of a postpartum time.  Sure, every new mother lacks sleep and is hit with a hormonal ball of emotions that leaves even the strongest momma finds herself falling apart.  But... I've had an exceptional last few weeks and here's why...

First of all I have to mention PUPPPs.  Its about as far from a cute and fluffy dog that you can get.  What PUPPPs is is a horrible, unexplainable rash that usually appears in the third trimester for some women.  The rash itches horribly... I mean HORRIBLY and spreads over a large portion of the body.  Usually it disappears as soon as one gives birth, however in rare cases it persists.  In even rarer cases it appears after birth... which was my case.  

Hours after Emily was born I noticed a couple of red dots on my stomach, right near my belly button, but paid little attention to them.  After all, I had a brand new baby to dote over.  Then I came home from the hospital and the little red dots became a few more dots and those dots started to itch.  Before I knew it I was unable to sleep and covered with a rash all over my calves, thighs, hips, and stomach.  As I dealt with the horrors of learning and getting used to breast feeding I was simultaneously burning with a horrible itching sensation.  After stumbling through a late night feeding and finally getting the baby to sleep I would then be unable to sleep myself thanks to the incessant itching. 

I was miserable.

My doctor prescribed me a steroid lotion that was utterly ineffective.  Mild relief was achieved by slathering the rash with an unscented oatmeal lotion about every twenty minutes.  My skin had never been more moisturized, but I had never been more miserable.  Researching online Finally, after copious amounts of research online in hopes of trying to figure out how long the rash would subsist (which there was no answer for after pregnancy) I discovered that many people had touted dandelion root as a cure.  

Thank goodness I live in a state with an abundant amount of herbal and natural food stores.  I went to the nearest health store and of course they had plenty of dandelion root in stock. The woman who found it for me actually knew of it as a remedy for PUPPPs.  As soon as I came home I took a pill.  The next day the rash started to go away.  Five days later its completely gone.  

I was in heaven and thought I could finally enjoy Emily.  Just as the rash had healed I was finally getting the hang of breast feeding.  Smooth sailing, I though, until she inexplicably developed an intense fussiness, especially when feeding, that was leaving me exhausted and wanting to cry.  

Again...  I was miserable.

The poor baby was spitting up more and more, sometimes five times a feeding.  Feeding her was taking longer and longer, sometimes almost two exhausting hours and just as she would settle she would want to start all over again with another two hour feeding.  While she nursed she would scream and cry in agony.  Her belly would bloat up.  It was clear she was in pain.  I was in tears.  Nothing would console her.  Was it colic?  Was it reflux?  I had no idea... 

I spent hours researching her behavior online and talking to countless friends.  All the literature and advice pointed to one thing... GERD.  After another week of her continued miserably long feedings, constant crying, continuous unhappiness, and sleep deprived nights I decided to visit the pediatrician.  I'd already tried everything I could think of... eliminating foods from my diet, different positions for feedings, and countless other non-pharmacological methods to try and eliminate variables to her behavior.  After a laying out the story to the pediatrician he informed me that she did indeed meet all the criteria for a GERD diagnosis.  The solution?  Medication.   My poor peanut.

Now I am beginning a Zantac regimen with her that I am praying will make her feel better, thus leading to a happy baby and a happy mom.  Nothing is worse than having an unhappy peanut and not being able to fix it...

Emily, finding her thumb.

The funny thing, when I was in the hospital the pediatrician came in to see Emily and check her over the day she was born.  He raved how perfect she was and how lucky I was after such an uneventful pregnancy and birth to be blessed with a wonderful baby like her.  I joked...  "I am waiting for the hitch.  Nothing goes so well without a hitch..."   Well,  my words are apparently very true! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Three Weeks

Its been three weeks already since Emily entered the world.  Holy cow.  I'd say it has gone by fast, but I spend so much time awake that each day seems to be one extremely long sleepless fog.  I'm definitely wearing the new mom more-tired-than-imaginable look in the photo, too.  Since her birth I've also not worn a stitch of make-up or done my hair other than throwing it back.  There is just not enough energy left in me to devote to my appearance.  Now that I am not pregnant no one is looking at me anyway... they are all looking at Emily, which is a good thing.  

So, to answer the question everyone always asks... How are things going? 

Well, I am going to cover that in my next post, because there's not such a simple answer. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Her Personality is Showing

Yeah... She's not too happy and not afraid to show it.  I think I am beginning to see who's personality she inherited and I'll give you a hint...  it's not Shawn's.  Its also apparent I am the type of mom who smiles and laughs at this and takes a few photos before coming to her rescue.  Poor Emily!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My First Public "Mom Moment"

Since Emily was born I have slowly developed an acute fear of leaving the house.  Breastfeeding will do that to you.  Its stressful planning to leave around feedings and naps enough, but throw in the difficulty of what to do if she needs to be feed (more like demands to be fed) when I am in public, like a supermarket, and the anxiety such a situation provokes is enough to make me want to stay in the comfort of my home where I can nurse in peace.  

But, I am not the type of person who can just be happy in the cocoon of my home for days and weeks on end.  I go a little stir crazy so I have been taking baby steps in trying to become comfortable outside the home as a breastfeeding mom with a newborn.  

The other day we made our first step at being in public for longer than an hour stretch.  We went to the grocery store!  And it was at the store that I totally had my first moment of motherhood in all its public glory....

Shopping had gone really well.  I knew the aisles of the supermarket and made a list so packing my cart full of food was a relatively quick feat.  To that point the only difficult part was seeing over the baby carrier as it was perched in the cart, but then we got in line to pay for our groceries.  
I laid out everything on the conveyor belt after a wonderful employee ushered us to a line that only had one other person in it.  No waiting, how awesome!  Just as it was our turn to have our items rung up the cashier switched out with an older lady.  She was wearing a ton of make-up from a different decade and clearly forgot to wear her bra that morning.  As soon as she punched in and picked up the first item to scan Emily began to stir.

..of course.

I watched the woman scanning my items.  She was moving at the speed of an AARP commercial and I tried to gather patience as my child began doing to tell tale sleepy squirm that meant she was on the precipice of a 'feed me now' meltdown.  The cashier was oblivious of my efforts to sooth Emily and continued to slowly scan each item.  Flattening out packages before bagging them and seemingly investigating each item before placing them in the bag.  It didn't take long before I began to unravel.
The baby is about to cry.

I told her point blank three separate times as Emily began making squeaks and half cries.  Fussiness, the one step before a full blown wail.  The cashier actually moved slower and stared at me blankly.  Just then Emily began to cry, loudly, and my fears of a public meltdown was coming to fruition.  

Could you move any slower?!  

I exclaimed as the woman just held a jar of peanut butter in her hand and stared at me, not scanning anything.  Shawn, who clearly wins when it comes to patience, told me to just take her outside to the car and nurse her while he finished paying.  So, with a carrier full of fussy baby I walked out of the store.  As soon as we were in the confines of the car she was quite and content.  

Once I left and Shawn was paying for the groceries the cashier asked "What was her problem?" to Shawn.  He eyeballed her for a second before lighting into her how slow and inconsiderate she was.  The woman just stared blankly at him.  

While it wasn't a horrible, world ending, meltdown and I am sure that I'm in for bigger ones in the future I think getting the first public one out of the way is a big milestone.  And just to add to it when we got home and were putting the groceries away we found our bread items smushed thanks to her bagging them with big boxes of pasta. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am too Tired

This post will probably have the least amount of substance of any post I've ever written... 


Because I am tired. 

Because I have a newborn that only sleeps in 90 minute stints and then nurses for 1-2 hours at a time. 

Because I spent more time at night nursing than sleeping

And that makes me tired and cranky. 

Which leads to a post like this.

So, now I am going to spend my day trying to keep said newborn awake.

Maybe tonight will be the night she decides to sleep longer...

I can hope, right? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Two Weeks

I can't believe two weeks have passed since Emily entered the world, twelve days before her due date.  She is already pushing the limits of her newborn sized clothing.  When I kiss her cheeks she smiles, a real actual smile.  Her little head used to fit snugly in the palm of my hand as I held her to nurse.  It no longer does and she is starting to hold her head up on her own.  Although... she is nowhere near sleeping through the night.  I still look at a two hour stretch of sleep as a miracle. 

Emily, on the other hand, is sleeping just fine.  Thank the lord I think she is just starting to figure out the difference between night and day.  What a blessing that will be.  Perhaps I will get a tad bit more sleep which will leave to more energy to do other things than just blog about my baby...

Not that I don't mind doing just that.

Shawn is headed back to work today.  His two weeks of "paternity" leave are over.  That means I don't have anyone at home with me to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch while I nurse Emily.  There isn't anyone to help do laundry or the dishes.  I can't give Emily to anyone for a minute so I can run to the bathroom or take a shower.  It's just me.

It was bound to happen some time.  When she was born two weeks felt like forever away and plenty of time to spend with my husband getting used to being parents and a newly formed family of three, but oh how time flies!  Now I am a stay at home mom for the next few weeks starting today.  I actually think I will enjoy a little alone time with her and the luxury of napping without worry of interruption or forcing Shawn to be quiet!  


This is the face of a tired mother of a newborn.
In the last two weeks my favorite time of day is when I can take little Emily, lay her on my chest, and sleep.  She still curls up in a little ball, makes little content squeaks, and sleeps soundly for a solid two hours.  Its the best sleep I get all day or night and I think its the same for her.  I know that she won't be able to nap like this forever so I relish it everyday.   

That's all I can do!  

Friday, September 16, 2011

The State of the Household

So I am over a week into this whole parenting thing.  I'm not going to lie... parts have been freakin' awesome and other parts have made me want to cry.  Its not easy and to say I am tired is an understatement.  As I nurse at 3am I constantly wonder why man has evolved so much yet we produce babies that are nocturnal with an every two hour feeding need. 

But everyday it gets a little better.

And when certain things aren't better I tell myself that they will be a little better tomorrow.

And you know what?  They are. 

Everyday Emily is a little more awake and alert.  She recognizes both mine and Shawn's voice when we speak to her.  I love being able to stop a cry instantly by picking her up and holding her close.  And when it comes to crying I actually know what her different cries mean.  I'm relishing the time where she's a little bag of potatoes and I can just tote her little butt around in one arm, but looking forward to when she starts to really develop a personality. 

So, what have I learned in my brief stint of motherhood so far?

  • Above all... sleep when the baby sleeps
  • Breastfeeding does not come naturally and can result in a lot of pain whilst you figure it out.  ...which doesn't make sense considering we are built to do it.
  • People look annoyed when you ask them to wash their hands before touching your baby
  • What everyone says about the smell of a newborn is so true.  Its amazing.  
  • Poop gets everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.
  • My husband holding Emily makes me feel more in love than ever. ..despite his insistence to not stare at him while he does it. 
  • I hate the telephone and have zero desire to talk to anyone on the phone.  I cannot multi-task phone calls and caring for the baby yet.  
  • Leaving the house is a long process.
  • Laundry.  Enough said. 
  • Its still more than worth it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Fairy Hobmother

Leaving a comment on this post will give you a chance to win a $50 gift card.  Seriously.  Here is why...

On the day of my daughters birth I was contacted by the lovely Fairy Hobmother.  Never heard of her before?  Well, its her job to go around the blog-o-sphere and grant wishes to bloggers.  How nifty is that?

The Fairy Hobmother was kind enough to gift me a $50 Amazon gift card!  And what did I do with the $50 gift card?  Well, what any new mom who's world just shifted when an amazing baby girl enters it, buy things for her!  Specifically I bought several books to fill her shelves and build on the meager collection I had before she arrived.  In my opinion there is nothing better for a child than a full book shelf.  

So, what would you do if you were to be gifted a $50 gift card to Amazon?  

One of you who comments will be lucky enough to be visited by the Fairy Hobmother, too!  If she happens to choose you please let me know!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Of Labor and Delivery - Part II

Doubling over and attempting my best to "blow off the contraction" the nurse found me a wheel chair and ushered us out of the birthing center to weather out more of my labor at home.  I begged Shawn to walk faster and faster before the next contraction would come so I didn't make a scene in the hospital.  The contractions were bad enough where I was grabbing my belling and beginning to moan during them.  It was quite a scene.  

Finally we made it to the exit where Shawn left me to retrieve the car while I sat alone in the lobby having contractions.  I ditched the wheel chair the moment I saw the car pull up and waddled to the passenger seat.  If you've never been in labor there is something about the passenger seat of a car that is the most uncomfortable place to be when you're having contractions.  Trust me.  I looked at the clock and knew that it would be at least a fifteen minute drive home.  After doing the math I knew that meant at least five contractions.

Drive.  I demanded. 

When we reached home I naturally had to wait to get out of the car until another contraction passed.  At this point I was starting to yell during them despite the yelling not doing a darn bit of difference in taking the edge off.  At that point in my mind I was wondering who the heck said all that Lamaze crap worked and how in the world did women have more than one child?  Who would go through this more than once?  

The midwife had told me to go home and eat and get a shower.  She insisted I would need the calories to get through the night ahead.  At that point I had zero appetite.  The thought of food made me want to vomit, but since I hadn't eaten since lunch time and it was approaching 10pm I knew that she was right.  I crammed in a bowl of cereal and then headed to the shower, which she rumored would make me feel so much better.

After about five minutes in the shower it was very clear it was not going to make me feel better in the least.  Who was she kidding?  I was crying and yelling.  Nothing was making it better and it felt like the contractions were right on top of each other, maybe two minutes between them at most.  

Wiping the tears from my eyes I came out of the bathroom room and slowly made my way to the couch where Shawn had motioned for me to lay down next to him.  In my mind I was turning over how the heck I could make it any further.  Then, as soon as I put my head on his lap, my water broke.  

And I thought the contractions hurt before.

Shawn immediately got up and called the hospital.  I immediately began yelling at the top of my lungs from the contraction.  How was it possible something hurt so strongly?  All drive to breath and not sound like a mad woman was gone.  In fact, at this point parts of  my memory get fuzzy...  every single bit of my mind was centered on the horrid contractions.  

During the drive I remember telling Shawn to drive faster between yelling.  At one point he left the blinker on too long and it started dinging as a reminder it was still on.  I began yelling at him and yelling through a contraction simultaneously to turn the damn thing off.  He replied with the worst possible sentence a man could ever utter to a woman in labor.

Stop Yelling.

My reply to that was to yell louder, and direct it at him.  Poor guy.  

Finally we made it back to the hospital.  This time we parked at a much closer entrance, the ER entrance, and next to an older couple who were getting out of their car.  True to good timing just as Shawn opened the door and walked off to get a wheel chair I began to have another contraction.  I sat in the front seat yelling as the woman we parked next to looked in horror.  My screams caused enough alarm that she ran into the ER and began to shout "Baby!" at the top of her lungs, referring to me laboring in the front seat.  

When Shawn rolled me in through the ER door moments later every doctor and nurse on shift poked their head around corners to see who this woman having a baby was.  It felt like a movie scene.  Shawn quickly rolling me through as I clutched my belly and panted.  Staff scooted out of our way and ushered us upstairs to the birthing pavilion where I met the nurses I saw no less than an hour before.

We're back.  

Now get me an epidural. 
It seriously went like that and in what felt like forever I finally had an anesthetist prodding my back to place the catheter.  As I eagerly waiting for pain relief I realized only one side of me was going numb.  Great.  I was going to be in the small percent where their epidurals are misplaced, but after the student was replaced by an already graduated and well practiced anesthetist I began to lose the feeling in my other side.  Finally, a few moments of relief.  

I stress a few moments.  

After a little bit of calm conversation and listening to Emily's heart beat on the fetal monitor I began to start having pain in my left side.  Then the pain began to increase.  Before I knew it my entire left side was no longer numb and I was feeling every. little. thing.  

And it was worse than before.  If that was even possible....

The student anesthetist appeared in the room again with a smile and said he would give me a bolus of medication and increase the amount of medication flowing through the catheter.  He insisted it would work.  I believed him.  But after another few minutes of waiting for the medication to kick in I knew it wasn't going to work.  

At that point my midwife had disappeared.  Unbeknownst to me there was a woman laboring right next door and in the same stage of labor at the same time.   We were neck and neck and she couldn't be in the same place at the same time.  So, a student and a chief resident appeared to check on how I was doing.  

Lets do an experiment, she said.  Lets try pushing, you're really close.

I demanded my epidural work.  How could I push in this much pain? She insisted it would make me feel better and being that I didn't think anything could feel worse I trusted her.  She was right.  It felt better and once she asked me to start pushing I wasn't going to stop.  

Nothing at that point mattered.  I concentrated on pushing and could feel that Emily was literally on the doorstep of the world while the doctors sat at the end of the bed seeing how the experiment with pushing was going.  As I pushed I yelled out I feel everything!  and She is right here! None of it phased the doctors.  Shawn, the medic and firefighter that he is, was glued to some location around my head and determined not to be involved with anything going on at the other end of the bed.  

Suddenly the eyes of the student doctor became huge.  He called for a million people and materials.  At some point he told me not to push as he tried to put on a new pair of gloves and ready materials.  He was calling for the chief doctor to arrive.  While Shawn worried what the heck was going on and if the baby was in trouble I was in my own world where the only thing that mattered was pushing.  

Two pushes later she was in the world, the cord slipped from around her neck, and placed on my chest.  It was also the most excruciating pain I've ever felt the moment she was born since my epidural had completely worn off, but none of that mattered.  She was here and crying and healthy.  

I had pushed for a grand total of 13 minutes after being in active labor for less than eight hours.  For a first time mom that is outstanding since labor usually lasts an average of 14 hours and pushing lasts for around two. 

Once I sat up in bed, ready to be handed back Emily who was being cleaned and swaddled, I discovered why I had felt everything at the end of my labor.  The epidural catheter had come disconnected and the student anesthetist hadn't checked the connection before giving me more medication when I complained of the pain returning.  All the medication had gone into the bed rather than my back. 

So, I labored naturally at home, had an epidural while I went through the last stage of labor, and finally pushed and had a natural birth with all the feeling and determination that comes with it.  Not many get to say they were both medicated and did it naturally during the same birthing process, but I can.  

But honestly...  
In all the pain and horror that labor can be none of it matters, because I have my Emily.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Of Labor and Delivery - Part I

As little miss Emily sleeps soundly next to me I am exhausted, but thankful for my five hours of interrupted sleep last night.  It sure as heck beats the two hours I got the night before that didn't occur until four in the morning.  Postpartum is going well, but I figured that I'd write a little about how labor and deliver went first.  It makes more sense to start from the beginning, doesn't it?

Part I - To the Hospital. And Back.

So, before I went into labor, or actually was probably already in labor and didn't realize it, I had a ridiculously busy day at work.  I stress the ridiculous part.  People died, people went to the hospital, I was the most experienced RN in the facility.  It made for a long long day.  By the time I left  work, almost two hours after my normal shift is suppose to end, I was beyond exhausted and just started noticing that I had been having slightly regular contractions every fifteen minutes or so.

Must be Braxton Hicks. 

I didn't pay much notice to them since I had had several bouts of Braxton Hicks that lasted for hours and were even as close to ten minutes apart before disappearing.  Instead, I came home and went about the evening as I normally would, and waited for Shawn to come home from his day shift at the fire station.  If I didn't think about it they'd go away, I told myself.  After all, I still had almost two weeks left in the pregnancy.  No matter how uncomfortable and ready to be 'un-pregnant' I was she would come when I was ready. 

Sometime just before Shawn came home I noticed the contractions getting close and maybe a little stronger, but perhaps that was just in my head.  When Shawn walked through the door I told him they were about ten or eleven minutes apart.  He said the same thing I did.

Must be Braxton Hicks.  

After about an hour it was apparent something was different.  The contractions grew stronger.  I began actually timing them, counting each minute.  Before long they were six or seven minutes apart and I was having to concentrate more to get through them, but I still doubted their legitimacy.  When suddenly my back began to hurt to the point I had to stand up and bend over like I was trying to touch my toes I started to think that maybe they were the real deal.

It was at that point I was scared and elated and in a heck of a lot of pain.  

Like some neurotic person I demanded that we rush around the house and clean as much as possible at that immediate moment.  Dishes had to be washed.  Laundry done.  The floor swept.  Bags finished being packed.  I was not going to come home from the hospital to a home with dirty clothes and dishes fermenting in the sink.  I was a laboring woman on a mission.  

Shawn demanded the minute the contractions were eight minutes apart and I kept announcing to him "here comes another one" that I call the mid-wives at the hospital.  I refused.  Since I was a first time mom the midwives instructed me to wait until the contractions were five minutes apart.  It was my irrational duty to wait until I reached that exact point.  Plus, part of me was still questioning and in disbelief that this could really be the real thing. I doubled over with the next contraction.  

Finally I called the midwives once all the chores were done and my contractions were more like four minutes apart and impossible to speak through.  I waited for a contraction to end before calling to allow me the most amount of time to have a conversation before the next one came.  Of course as soon as they found the midwife on call and she came to the phone I got four words out after she said hello.  "I'm having a contraction."  

She patiently waiting for me to breath through it and then we began the conversation.  After explaining everything that was going on she gave me the option to either sit at home and wait it out a while or to come in to the hospital and get check out, but prepared to probably go home.  I chose the hospital.  

As I got in the car the contractions were three to four minutes apart.  Shawn ran around turning off lights, grabbing our bags, and taking a handful of Tylenol.  At that point it was a little after eight in the evening and it looked like we were going to have a long night ahead of us. 

During our drive to the hospital there was a severe thunderstorm passing through the area.  Our drive time was doubled, which meant more contractions that I'd have in the car.  As lightning brightly danced across the sky, something that normally would have fascinated me, I wanted nothing more than to get there.  

Upon reaching the hospital we had a minor argument as to what entrance to park at and being that I was in pain and slightly irrational every few minutes where I wanted to park, the main entrance, was where we did.  Unfortunately it was the wrong side of the hospital, a good half a mile away from the birthing center.  Shawn calmly found me a wheelchair.  Despite my frequent contractions I still felt silly being wheeled.  If I wasn't amidst grinding uterine pain I was completely capable of walking, so I told myself. 

We went to the fifth floor where all the births happen, but quickly realized that our part of the fifth floor didn't connect with the fifth floor where the birthing center was located.  Due to the hospital's weird design and being built on a hill we were in the clinical office side of the building, not the patient care side.  That meant a dead end, lots of stairs, and walking during twenty minutes worth of contractions.  Shawn pointed out every single time I complained and began to hold back cries during contractions in the hallway that we parked where I wanted.  I may or may not have flipped out and yelled at him.

Mostly may.  

Finally, by the grace of God, we reached the birthing pavilion.  I was wheeled in to a triage room where they hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor and took a set of vital signs.  Immediately I was thrusted back to my clinical days during nursing school, only this time I was a patient.  Eventually the midwife and a wide-eyed intern came in to assess me.  After telling me I was 2-3cm dilated and 60% effaced the midwife turned the conversation towards going home and how to labor the best there.  She never told me directly I wasn't staying there, but rather just went right to talking about how I'd know when to come back and expect things to get a lot stronger.

Seriously?  You want me to go home, sit through these, and have them get stronger?  

I was trying to hold back tears, half from pain and half from disappointment.  While she assured me I was in labor she kept adding words in like 'long night' and 'pain coping strategies.'  I did not like anything that she was saying.  Neither did Shawn.  He had a look of fear since he didn't want to fathom how things could get even more painful.  After they undid the fetal monitor and helped me off the bed I walked to the nurses station to be handed paperwork on 'when to call the hospital during labor.'  The nurses and intern were there, smiling, and said "We'll see you later!"

...they had know idea how right they were.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Little Hormonal and a lot Happy,

The last few days have been nothing short of amazing.  Thank goodness I packed my bags when I did, huh?  Currently, I'm sleep deprived, but couldn't be happier.  I never knew I could love a human being as much as I love Emily and my husband is a close second.  When we were married I thought I loved him.  I mean, of course I did, but now its a whole different kind of love.

My hormones are also doing all sorts of crazy things. Sometimes I just look at Emily and tear up.  I want to cry my eyes out for no apparent reason and it takes a lot of restraint not to.  Sometimes when I look at my empty, still swollen belly I want to cry.  When I think of how short of time Emily is going to be this amazingly small I want to cry. 

And when I take photos like this one I want to cry...

Good lands... my aching heart.

There is so much I am going to post about and I have family coming in from all points of the East Coast over the next few days.  Its going to be a busy week, but so far Emily is as content and amazing a baby as I could ever hope for so hopefully I can find some time to write all about my adventures of laboring and delivering on Labor Day!

Also, to end on a funny note...
When I came home from the hospital this afternoon and opened my computer for the first time I noticed my browser was left open. The page was where I had Googled "How to tell if labor is real." Guess I figured it out!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meet Miss Emily

She is perfect.

How fitting that I labor and deliver on Labor Day. We are in the hospital until the middle of the week per usual standards. I am beaming. Shawn is beaming. Life is perfect. So, over the next two days I am going to grab motherhood by the horns. There will be tons to share afterwards!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Packing the Bags - In Need of Advice

So I've reached the point of pregnancy where all systems are go.  I've been given the "It could be any day now" lecture and handed a pamphlet describing when to call the hospital by the mid-wife.  Things are about to get real.  The moment will come where I will need to pile into the car, rush to the hospital, and birth my baby girl.  I've got to be prepared for that.  

But boy is it hard being prepared for something you've never experienced before.  

I've got a bag, actually two bags, that are sort of packed.  One is for myself and the other the baby.  My bag is full of things... toiletries, night gowns, flip flops, and various other articles of clothing for Shawn and I.  The baby's bag is a little more sparse...  two newborn outfits, because I can't choose just one, a receiving blanket, regular blanket, and a pacifier. Honestly, especially when it comes to the baby, I have no idea what I will need and what will just be excess crap to carry. 

That's where I figured you could help me!

If you've got the experience let me know what is a must to bring with you to the hospital and what sort of stuff will I not need or the hospital give me?  As a very organized and well prepared person for most anything there's nothing I hate more than being unprepared or wishing I didn't leave something at home that I'd really enjoy or need. 

So, what do I need for myself? the baby? Shawn?  What can stay at home?  What little comforts might I want?  And any other advice!  I can't wait for your help.  Its much needed. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Floods Come Full Circle

I know I've been posting exclusively about the hurricane for the last week or so, but I promise I won't dwell on it much longer.  There is just one story I wanted to share with you about the effects of the flood that I never even would have realized if it wasn't for my job...

On the day the hurricane hit my husband was out in the flood waters wearing a wet suit and straddling a boat as he rescued at least a dozen people, young and very old, from the raging waters.  They were plucked from homes that now are either rubble, moved from their foundations, or filled with mud.  In short, they can't go back home....

But they have to go somewhere.
The day after the storm hit I was at work.  It had been a long day, per usual lately.  My growing belly and swelling feet do not make an eight hour shift very easy.  Waddling, as I literally do now, up and down the hallway after patients is exceedingly tiresome, so when my day came to an end I was unbelievably grateful to head home and fall into the comfy cushions on the couch.  As soon as I did my phone rang....

I answered the phone and recognized the voice on the other end.  It was work.  I thought they were calling me back.  Perhaps they noticed something I had forgotten to do or had a question about something else.  Turns out that was not the case at all.  What they did want was for me to come in right away.  There was something unusual unfolding there.  Nine emergent admissions. 


You have no idea how many admissions that is to get in an afternoon.  Or maybe you do and you're thinking the same thing I did.... holy cow.  

So, I drudged my exhausted butt back to work to help put together all the paperwork and charts for these emergency admissions.  Never before had the facility had that many admissions in one day.  So, I wondered what caused such a mass of people to flock to the doors all of a sudden?  Then I remembered, as I was doing the charts and seeing where these new residents were from, the hurricane was to blame.  

People who were displaced by the floods, including some who were actually rescued by my husband, had no where else to go and were brought to our doors.  Some didn't even have more than a few articles of clothing.  Others had been emergently air lifted from some of the towns that were literally isolated from the rest of the world during the hurricane due to their health concerns and then brought to my facility.  

In all the emergencies I have been a part of over the years I never knew how far reaching the effects could be.  Who knew where the people displaced ended up?  I had never given it consideration before the moment they became my patients, but now I know.  Its crazy to think that someone my husband rescued is now in my care, too.  That's what I call full circle.