Four Months!

So, our little girlie turned four months on Sunday. She’s growing like a weed these days. We seem to have fallen (finally) into breastfeeding with more ease than before. Or at least I can handle our difficulties–which would be her fighting me at the boob occasionally, probably due to teething. And yes, she’s already teething and has been for a month! I don’t feel ready to deal with this, but here we are.

IMG_1313AMy little munchkin loves:

– playing with her feet and gnawing on her hands

– screeching with delight

– snuggling up with her stuffed Minnie Mouse

– ‘talking’ with everyone 🙂

– cuddling up at night in bed with mommy and daddy!

She can:

– roll over, but rarely does since she abhors tummy time

– pop her pacifier back into her mouth on her own

– play with the toys on her play-mat

– splash in the bathtub!

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She had her first experience attending services at Shul over a month ago and has attended with her parents on a regular basis since. It’s so precious to see her daddy holding her while we go through the liturgy! She’s also met various aunts, uncles and her cousin over the course of the last month. I know she won’t remember any of it, but it makes me so happy to see her meet all of her family, finally…and hope that she will get many chances to get to know them further on down the road.

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Blogging about Motherhood

I’ve been trying to figure out how balance my desire to blog about my experiences as a mother with my resolve to provide my daughter with the privacy she deserves. I’ve had the chance to decide what the online world will know of me. If I blog about her freely, I deprive her of that chance and take her privacy away.

An online footprint is impossible to erase. I don’t want to ever create an image of her online that she wishes never existed.

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As a result, I’m going to try my best to keep posts about my adventures as a mother just about that: my experiences. I won’t blog about her specifically. I know that photos  of Baby K will be few and far between on this blog. Aside from that, I’m still trying to figure out how to make that work, so bear with me as I decide what it will look like.

In the meantime, I do have thoughts on what changes motherhood has brought to my life (outside of this little person) that I intend to share with you. So hang around and bear with my blogging schedule that has to work around a teething little one. 😉

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Baby K’s Birth Story

As I mentioned in my last post, Baby K arrived almost a week early. This was much to our surprise, since I had prepared myself mentally to go past due as first time moms often do. Still, we were delightfully surprised and in retrospect, I’m glad that things went exactly as they did.

On March 18th, I had a ‘test’ run of labor that woke me up at about 1 a.m. My husband was on shift and I couldn’t believe that it was the real thing. I started timing the contractions after an hour and they got as close as six minutes apart – but petered out by 3 a.m. I had other symptoms when I got up the next morning, so I called the midwife and she had me come in that morning to check things out. Everything was fine and I obviously was not in labor. She did, however, inform me that the baby was low, so low that she couldn’t check for dilation (baby was already close to +1 station) – and that I could probably expect her arrival sometime in the next few days.

“It could be tonight, it could be in a couple days,” she said cheerfully and sent me home.

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So, I went home and put some energy towards tidying the apartment. The nesting urges were incredible! I was exhausted, however, so I squeezed in a nap and went to bed early. I fell asleep…only to wake up with contractions at 12:30 a.m. This time, they stay consistent and by morning, we couldn’t help but feel it was the real thing, especially since I had other typical indications that my body was in labor (TMI: I lost my mucus plug!). Still, both Tyson and I worried that we were jumping the gun, so we stayed home as long as we could. By late morning, we called the hospital, texted my mom and headed out…hopefully this was the real thing!

Contractions had slowed down during the drive and I was once again worried that we’d made the trip for nothing. But we were there, so we made our way up to the birthing center and checked in. By this time it was close to noon. Our nurse, Ann, asked me what I wanted for my birth – she wanted to hear it from me rather than a piece of paper holding my birth plan. I told her I hoped to make it without any pain medication and wanted to try water/shower therapy, walking and the birth ball. We also expressed our desire to let the cord finish pulsating before it was cut and we wanted Ty to be the one to cut the cord. No pitocin or episiotomy unless medically necessary.

Ya know. The usual. 😉 I don’t think Ann believed I’d be able to make it without medication and I honestly wasn’t sure myself. Only time would tell! I also think she honestly thought we were jumping the gun and weren’t as far along in labor as we hoped – or were having false labor.  I changed into an absolutely adorable (not!) hospital johnnie, then they hooked me up to monitor my contractions and the baby’s heart-rate, got my vitals and finally, Anne checked to see how much I was dilated. Ty says the look on her face was priceless – total shock – and she actually went back to check my cervix again just to be sure she was right.

“Well, you’re going to be a happy camper,” she said, laughing. “I’d say you’re about 5-6 cm dilated, fully effaced and her head is RIGHT there.”

We were definitely having a baby that day! The OB on call stopped in and was very pleased with our progress as well. She smiled and predicted that I would be holding our baby by 5 PM that night.

The contractions picked up again and intensified. My mom arrived, which was a good distraction for a bit. They got harder and harder to handle and I vocalized a lot. Another nurse told me to moan lower so I wouldn’t make myself hoarse, but honestly, I was at the point where I was just trying to cope, never-mind switching tactics.

And by mid-afternoon, I had progressed to 8 cm. We all rejoiced over that and I felt like the end was in sight. We labored for another hour and I grew more and more exhausted. They had the fetal monitor on me most of the time, since the baby’s heart-rate would drop with a contraction every now and then. When they checked my cervix again, I was still at 8 cm and I deflated. At this point, I let myself think ahead instead of staying in the moment. I thought about the last two centimeters we needed to go and all the pushing that was left and I felt discouraged. I found myself telling my husband during contractions, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I just want it to be over.” My lower back and legs ached so much from tension and I was so tired!

Since I had done a lot of reading, I knew the stages of labor and felt frustrated that we weren’t getting to the final stages. Where was transition and back to back contractions? I knew if we got to that point, we’d be close to pushing and the end of the pain. But they never arrived. Anne kept encouraging me to use the birthing ball and frequently asked if I felt the urge to bear down and push. I didn’t feel any distinct urges and that frustrated me as well. Another thing that didn’t follow all of the birth stages I’d read about.

Finally, Anne suggested that we check again and see if we’d made any progress. “Oh honey, we have good news and not so good news. The good news is you are just about there. The bad news…”

I interrupted her, “I have a cervical lip?”

She laughed. “Yes, honey that’s it.” She suggested trying to manual push it and gave it a shot. The pain was excruciating, so she gave up immediately. So, we labored on and finally, I decided that I was ready to push.

The OB arrived at this point and this is where it gets rather blurry in retrospect. Both Tyson and my mom took places at my head and supported my legs. They along with Anne and the OB coached me to push with contractions. I still had no urge to push. This was one of the hardest parts because even then I still didn’t realize how close we were. Pushing was SO hard and required so much concentration and effort! The OB kept telling me to get mad at her and put the energy into pushing. I don’t get mad easily so that didn’t quite work!

At this point, Baby K’s heart-rate started dropping with contractions. The OB decided that it was time to get this baby OUT. Everyone started screaming for me to push and although I protested that I couldn’t do it (classic laboring mother there!), I gave two huge pushes. Her entire body emerged with that final push and she went flying like a cork out of a bottle. The OB caught her, but nearly dropped her in the juggling process!

The time of her birth was 4:17 if you go by my mom’s photo of the clock at the time. She weighed 6 lbs. 9 oz. and measured 21 inches long. She had an exceptionally long cord with a true knot, something neither the OB or the nurse had ever seen before. It explained her heart-rate dropping earlier in the pregnancy (resulting in a NST at a prenatal appointment at about 34 weeks) and during labor and delivery. They gave her to me and it’s weird, but I don’t think it all sank in for a full minute of holding her. I remember saying, “Oh, my baby, my baby!” in an attempt to convince myself that she was really born!

IMG_0435AAnd that’s when the rest of my life began.  I became a mom when I saw the positive sign on that pregnancy test last July, over a year ago, but I didn’t know what it would really be like until I held my daughter in my arms. And even in that moment when I first held her, I hadn’t the faintest clue how much my love could or would grow with every day and month. Bonding with my little K felt slow and sweet–I found myself falling in love with her over the course of the next weeks and now?

I cannot imagine my life without her. She’s my baby and I am her mother. And that’s an incredible thing.

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Three months later…

Almost three months since my last post – and coincidentally, almost three months since the birth of our daughter – I return. So, maybe it isn’t quite a coincidence, but rather that baby is the reason for my absence. 

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Our little girl was born six days early on March 20th and promptly turned life upside down in ways that I both expected and never imagined. When you add finishing the house and moving to the mix, well, let’s just say I haven’t even thought about blogging until recently.

But here I am, finally. It feels almost as though I need to brush cobwebs off this place after how long it has been neglected. My life has been sucked into a vortex of motherhood and homemaking; both are delightful occupations and exactly what I’ve dreamed of doing for the last three years, but nevertheless, I miss bits and pieces of the old me. And that includes the writing side of me.

So, here we are.  I can’t promise to write regularly, but I am going to give it a shot.

(I’ll be back next time with stuff on Baby and House!)

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A quilt for a little girlie

I finished my quilting project about a month ago and am finally sharing it with all of you. This was my second quilting project and I’m pleased with how much I’ve improved since my last baby quilt. I even made my own binding for the first time and mitered the corners beautifully.

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I cannot wait to let our baby girl experience tummy time on her very own home-made quilt! I picked out the fabrics and colors specifically with that in mind. ❤

Details: I followed a terrific tutorial I found over at Diary of a Quilter. I can’t recommend her instructions enough; they are clear, concise and make it easy for a beginning quilter to make a quilt.

The fabrics were scraps from previous projects, but also some new choices from a sale at JoAnn Fabrics (I go there and drool over pretty fabrics!). The batting is a light-weight organic cotton and the back is fabulous, brightly colored floral pattern that never fails to make me smile.

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And I even had some scraps left over for another special project I made in anticipation of our little girl’s arrival. I can’t wait to share it with you – sometime soon!

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Life a month later

So, here’s the thing. Life has been just a bit crazy, busy and a tad stressful – and when my life finds a groove in the combination of the above three, I generally find myself struggling to know what to write. It’s not as though there’s nothing to write about, but there is a lack of coherency in this pregnant brain of mine these days, at least when it comes to blog posts.

So, a brief recap of life as of late for starters and we’ll see if I can maybe, perhaps, write something a little more substantial over the next few weeks before Baby Girl arrives.

First off, I’m just about 38 weeks along now and sporting that classic basketball belly look. 38 weeks means that I could go at any time, but it also means that I could still very well be big and pregnant 3-4 weeks from now. That’s the luck of the draw when it comes to pregnancy! While I honestly don’t want to go past the 40 week marker, I still don’t feel *ready* to have her outside of me. Perhaps I’ll feel differently once she drops and my bladder and pelvis really start to feel her weight? I guess we shall see! We’re measuring right on track and in spite of a few minor scares, including a non-stress-test that was more than stressful, to say the least, we’re trucking along beautifully, little girl and I.

While the number on the scale still makes me wince, I can’t complain because my weight gain has happened gradually and is right on track. And she’s measuring in the 50th percentile, which makes this mama happy since she’s never been too psyched over the idea of pushing out a 9 pound baby. Still – there are days when I definitely feel like this:

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Second piece of news: my last day of employment was February 21st and I’m now officially a stay-at-home-mom/wife. I still get a rushing sensation in my stomach when I think, “Oh my goodness, what have I done?!” For the first time in over 10 years, I’m unemployed. And I did it willingly! It’s definitely the right decision for our family, but it feels terrifying at times. I am grateful for a hard-working husband who supports me in this decision, both financially and emotionally – we make a great team, in spite of our deficiencies and quirks!

Thirdly, it looks like we probably won’t be able to make the move and transition into the house before the baby is born. There’s just so much finish work that needs to be done. As we’ve gotten closer and closer to my due date, I have come to the realization that I need to accept this and prepare myself to bring a baby home to the apartment instead of the house. Since the apartment is in a state of packing and spring cleaning chaos, I’m diving straight into plan B, which is to make sure everything is less chaotic for her arrival. Packed boxes are going into storage later this week; meanwhile, I’m trying to clean and organize the rest of apartment to make room for a baby (!!!) and the necessary gear that comes with that bundle of joy. I’m not too psyched about the situation and if I could change things, I would! However, since there’s not much I can do about the situation, I’m trying to find peace in being prepared for her, in spite of worrying about the challenges that will come with final packing, moving and adjusting to a new house AND a new baby in the first few months after she arrives. I know that God is in control and we’ll survive. I keep reminding myself of this on the days that I struggle with stress and worry over it all. One day at a time.

So, that’s life overall. I’m unemployed, pregnant & bigger than a planet and staying very busy with baby and house preparations. What’s new with you?

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IMG_5204AAnd then there is a time in which to be, simply to be, that time in which God quietly tells us who we are and who he wants us to be. It is then that God can take our emptiness and fill it up with what he wants, and drain away the business with which we inevitably get involved in the dailiness of human living.

– Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

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