Showing posts with label Pregnancy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pregnancy. Show all posts

July 22, 2023

Jude's Birth Story

While I have a few moments to myself, I thought I'd write about Jude's birth.  It certainly wasn't as harrowing a tale as Soren's, but I was pretty nervous about the delivery. Having had a prior C-section, my options were another one or a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian).  Being the uncommitted decision-maker that I am, I still wavered over what I'd do, even during my last weeks of pregnancy.

In the end, I scheduled the C after my due date with the intention of doing a VBAC if I went into labor before hand.  Well, the due date came and went with nary a contraction, so when the day for the scheduled C came along, I prepared to be cut open.
Here I am the morning of the surgery, reluctantly awaiting my fate (aka scared shitless).  This is my last pregnancy photo too.

Though it's not like the alternative--pushing a baby out of my nether regions--was a less painful option.  In the end, I'm glad I went with the C, since my biggest fear was my labor not progressing again and having to spend hours laboring in pain with the end result being a c-section anyway.

So the morning of my surgery, my mom picked up Soren to take him to her house, and Chris and I headed to the hospital, where we waited and waited and waited.  I had a feeling my C would get bumped due to emergency Cs, so our 10:30am turned into a 2:00pm birth.
The surgery wasn't so bad, other than how cold it was in the room and enduring the spinal by a med student who didn't seem to be able to find where the needle should go. That was the hardest part, hunching forward over my huge belly, trying to hold completely still while they jabbed my back.  But once that was done, things were ok.  The OR staff was all very upbeat and casual, talking about music and not about the surgery, thank heavens.  And I felt quite drowsy the entire time, so I just rested my eyes and focused on my breathing.  Before I knew it, Jude was born.
He was covered in an incredible amount of vernix, which was really weird to see.  Other things I remember from his birth: Chris announced that it was a boy (since we weren't sure during the pregnancy) and when he came out, Jude peed all over the doctors, lol.

Chris went with Jude to the nursery while they stitched me up.  Before I knew it, they were done. Once I made it into the recovery room, they monitored me for a little while, then brought Jude up.  Immediately he started nursing, which was so relieving for me. I just wasn't sure what to expect, hearing stories of other mothers' difficulties with nursing.  However he was quite adept at it from the start.

The hospital stay was fine, with nicer nurses than my last birth, though I was ready to leave sooner, mostly because those beds are so hard to sleep in/nurse in/get out of.  Plus all those check-ups throughout the night, like every hour.  It's a wonder anyone can rest.

My recovery has been absolutely wonderful. I was up and about within a week, and off of pain pills (Motrin) in about a week too.  I'm not sure why, but I felt mostly back to normal within 10 days, though I'm still careful to not overdo it.  My recovery was the same with Soren's birth, but I was anticipating more pain and a slower healing this time.  Thankfully, the recovery has been great, which is helpful with keeping up with 2 children now.

Despite my efforts of trying to mindfully be present in every moment, good and bad, of the birth experience, I am relieved that it's now a memory of the past.  It was tough, those days leading up to the c-section, worrying about what might happen.  But in the end, I'm so grateful that I have a healthy baby to show for the efforts.  That moment when you see your baby for the first time is really love at first sight, and just the beginning of getting to know your new child.

July 10, 2023


The newest addition to our family,
born Wednesday July 6
7lbs 4oz.
We're doing well, just settling into a new routine with the two boys.  More to come!
For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof; the work for which all other work is but preparation.--Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet.

July 1, 2023

Weekend Musings and Beautiful Things

After an uncomfortable night of light sleeping, I'm convinced that this baby is on its way! Yay and oh no! are my simultaneous reactions.  Am I prepared enough? Will I wimp out on labor? Will it still end in a c-section, despite the hard work and pain?  So many questions that we'll just leave up to the universe to answer.
(random photo of the gorgeous hydrangeas, yarrow, and false indigo picked from my parents' garden.  It makes me happy looking at them)
Assuming that I don't go into labor in the next few hours, we're hoping to spend the weekend close to home and hospital, maybe cooking out with my in-laws tomorrow.  Tonight we're going to a member's dinner at a local cooperative gallery/independent space, which we're so glad has moved into town.  They have all kinds of cool stuff that's right up our alley, like story time for kids, yoga classes, local foods for sale, and other activities. It will be fun watching it blossom and being a part of a community center with other folks who are like-minded.

In other news, I received the most loveliest of lovely baby blankets from my friend Shana.
The colors are beautiful (I believe it's Lion Brand cotton) and it's stitched so tightly.  It will definitely come in handy when we're indoors this summer due to chilly air conditioning.  She's got a leg up on me via her awesome crochet skills (one day I'll learn), and I'm hoping she'll leave a link to the pattern in the comments.
It's pretty pathetic that I haven't really knitted anything for this baby.  I'm hoping to make a pair of booties tonight, at least.

Onto other beautiful things: pulling out more baby stuff, particularly the old books from S's babyhoood. I forgot about these Eric Carle ones!
Naturally, we had to sit down in the nursery and read them again, Soren and I.  Ah, the memories.

I'm not sure when I'll be back in this space again, definitely not during the weekend, as I'm taking a break from the laptop.  I do hope you have a great weekend, and that my American readers enjoy the 4th!
PS. Here's the link to the coffee filter bunting tutorial if you want to make one like in the photo above.

June 30, 2023

5 Days! (And My Big Fancy Butt)

Holy moly, I'm due in less than a week!  Still kind of hard to believe, though my body certainly knows it.  I'm a waddling, achy, heartburnin' lady-in-waiting.  Plus I'm panicking that within a week I'll have a newborn in the house, all while minding an emotional 3 year old.  Soren must know what's up; his mood swings have been epic around here, though he does talk about the baby frequently, and in good terms.

He's also constantly talking about my butt, my "big fancy butt" that is.  Not sure where that came from, but depending on MY mood, it's either hilarious or irritating, lol.  His butt obsession often progresses into a conversation about how when he grows up, he wants to have a big butt like mine.  Aim higher, kiddo, aim higher!

I'm biding my time with stocking up the fridge and pantry, visiting an old friend, and just tidying things around the house and keeping up with laundry.  And sleeping and relaxing too. I don't feel an urge to do weird stuff like organize the medicine cabinet or paint the ceiling fan, so maybe this baby isn't coming so soon after all.  Though I am 1cm and 60% effaced, according to the doctor yesterday.  And occasional, painless contractions where my stomach is really tight and it's hard to take a deep breath.

Thankfully, the nursery is finished, diapers are ready to go, and my bag is half-packed.  We're hoping to enjoy the weekend, just hanging around locally and maybe grilling something.  I also want to take some photos, documenting the last days of pregnancy.

Any recommendations for enjoying these last few days (or hours?).

June 21, 2023

Two Weeks!

The time-lapse of pregnancy has been so weird for me. In some ways, it has really gone slowly, especially those sleepless nights and those days when I'm so exhausted but am not able to lie down to rest (yes, Soren, I'm talking about you).  However, I still can't quite fathom that I'm due in 2 weeks.
 Photo from a few weeks ago; trust me, I'm much larger now, and have not liked seeing any pics of myself lately, puffy and blah, definitely not one of those cutesy pregnant ladies
Because I've inherited my grandmother's habit of never being able to make a decision and stick to it, I'm still up in the air about the c-section.  Yes, truly!  Nothing like waiting until the last minute, deciding whether to have my stomach cut open and all.

At the advice of my OB practice, I've scheduled my C anyway, after my due date, even though my intention is to do the VBAC if I go into labor early.  Because Soren's birth in general was not an ideal experience (painful labor, failure to progress, huge head wedged in the birth canal, finally ending in a caesarian), I'm fearful that I'll end up laboring and having to get a C in the end again anyway.  I know, I know, I'm a wimp (my friend Shana, a true natural birth champion is frowning right now, with good reason) but I have such a terrific fear of labor, stemming even from childhood (being the eldest of 5 kids, it seemed like my mom was always pregnant and somehow I knew what she had to go through to get us out).

I guess I'm leaving things up to fate, hoping that whatever method it takes to get this child into the world alive and healthy will be the "right" one, if there is such a thing.  Though I wish my worries about it weren't keeping me up at night; I already have sleep issues as is!

June 20, 2023

Nursery Makeover Challenge: We’re Going Green

I'm tremendously excited to share some news that I've been sitting on for quite a few weeks.  As many of you know (and regular readers of my blog are probably tired of hearing), I am expecting my second child in early July.  While my husband and I cannot be more thrilled to be adding to our family, we were given an additional, unexpectedly wonderful surprise--$2000 to be used toward a makeover our baby's nursery, courtesy of Chase, as a participant in the Blueprint Baby Challenge.
Above: A "Before" photo of the space
As many parents of more than one child know, additional children often begin life with hand-me-downs, and in our case, our eldest child's nursery would have been just fine for the next baby.  But thanks to Chase, we are able to give this baby a fresh welcome into the world.  My son's room, while charming and efficient, was itself a collection of hand-me-downs too, save for the crib, so it is especially nice to be able to outfit the room with "real" furniture and items that will be essential for keeping both baby and parents happy and comfortable.
 Above and below: The remnants of my son's nursery, waiting to be transformed.
When shopping for the nursery, I used my Slate card, including the free Blueprint features which have been helpful in keeping track of purchases.  Blueprint is a first-of-its-kind set of free features offered by Chase that is built into many of their credit cards and which helps you manage your expenses while saving money on interest on certain purchases.  Those of you who have been pregnant probably understand the term "pregnant brain" and can recall how important it is to have someone or something else remembering and calculating things for you.  What's great about Blueprint is that I can use the features in so many ways to pay off purchases faster and save money on interest.  For example, with Blueprint, when charging a large purchase, like the nursery furniture, I have the option of designating a set amount to pay each month toward a larger purchase, or I can decide how many payments I’d like to make.  Blueprint does all the math for me, and I can design a plan to pay down my balance faster and save money on  interest, as well as track the progress I'm making toward paying off my larger purchases.

As for my ideas for the nursery, I really want to focus on items that will grow with my child and that are eco-friendly.  Rather than buy a changing table that will only be used for a short time, I want to invest in furniture that my son or daughter might even take with him/her when she leaves our home.
Some ideas for the space
Because babies and children are so sensitive to chemicals and smells, I've chosen paints with low VOCs, environmentally-friendly, formaldehyde-free wooden furniture, organic crib sheets and a natural fiber area rug.  I plan on reusing my son's crib as well as creating some handmade items like a mobile and textiles for the room.  Decor will most likely be repurposed from other areas of our home and will include things like toys and objects that can be admired and played with.  As a former art teacher and artist, I'd love to include prints and artworks by artists and craftspeople in the space too, and hopefully convey a sense of both calm and whimsy in the decor.

I'm really looking forward to sharing the experience with you, both with outfitting the nursery and using the Slate card with Blueprint.  The Blueprint Baby Challenge nursery makeover is also a contest, where I’m competing with two other bloggers, Trisha of MomDot and Sarah of Minnesota Mama’s Must Haves, for additional prizes.  The blogger whose nursery is deemed the most creative by voters will win the top prize, $3000 while the second and third place bloggers will each win $1500 and $500, respectively.  Starting July 15, you’ll be able to vote for your favorite nursery (hopefully mine!) so stay tuned for updates.

This is such a special time in my family's life, and I'm happy and grateful to be marking the occasion of my child's birth with the Blueprint Baby Challenge.  I hope you enjoy following my progress and seeing the results of my nursery makeover.  Head on over to the Blueprint Baby Challenge website for more information, as well as to check out the other two bloggers' nursery ideas.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Chase. All opinions are my own.

June 14, 2023

Countdown to Baby: 20 Days!

I can't believe I'm nearly done cooking this baby.  I'm both eager to meet him/her, but also nervous about labor, and of course how I'm going to parent 2 young children.  Mothers have been doing it since the beginnings of civilization, so I'm guessing soon enough it will become second nature.  However doesn't it just seem wrong in this culture how isolated we are from each other, family and otherwise?  I wish there was more help available for families, and not of the kind that requires the transaction of money.

Despite the late pregnancy tiredness, I'm making extra efforts to do some fun things with Soren before the baby comes.  Yesterday we tagged along with friends to the Philadelphia Zoo, and had a great time.
It was a perfectly breezy and pleasant day to visit, and I was surprisingly able to keep up with all the walking and standing.  I did sleep exceptionally well last night though.

I think the boys spent more time climbing the bronze animals throughout the park instead of gazing at the real ones!
The Philly Zoo is such a kid-friendly place, lots of things to climb on, a carousel, interactive kiosks with puppet shows, and even a train and swan boats to ride.  I definitely see us returning again; maybe we can convince one of S's uncles to buy a family membership for us as a Christmas present this year, since they're often stumped for ideas.
Soren's favorite thing was the children's petting zoo, where he got to brush and pet goats and sheep.  It was so sweet to see, and unfortunately I left my camera outside the pen with the stroller.  The funniest part was when he got wedged between 2 goats and the fence and was a little concerned.  My friend Amy got a picture of it, so it will give us a laugh later on.

Now if only I can get that Simon and Garfunkel song out of my head: "someone told me it's all happenin' at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it's true."

Other than being tired, things are going well with me physically.  The nursery is 99% done, I have a stash of diapers waiting for a baby butt, and have ordered some more cloth ones.  I still haven't packed my hospital bag, but I'm not too concerned as I'll be packing light this time. I just hope I don't forget the camera!  And I do apologize for not being as speedy with returning emails and responding to comments.  It's been tough finding much time to be online lately, especially with being exhausted come evening.

I'm also considering a gift for the new big brother, maybe a sand table, since he loves the one at our friends' house.
I think that might keep him busy while adjusting to the new baby.  Did you get your older child a gift from the new baby if you have more than one child? What did you buy? 

June 8, 2023

It's Unofficially Summer

Muddling through these few hot days has been rough on me, so Soren and I made our first trip to the beach this season.
We spent the day mostly at my parents' house in Delaware, swimming in the neighborhood pool and digging in sand along the bay.
In the evening, we headed to Ocean City, MD with GG (my mom) and strolled the boardwalk and beach.
Ice cream was in order, complete with drippy sprinkles
as were a few rides on some of the boardwalk amusements.  My son looks so serious, but I assure you he had a good time.
My brothers and I loved riding these sort of cars at our local amusement park growing up.
It was an exhilarating and exhausting few days, especially that I'm in the last weeks of my pregnancy.
But I still want to try and get out and do things this summer.  With a baby, I'm sure it's going to be harder than it is just with a baby belly.

May 31, 2023

Pregnancy Update: Month 8

It's nearly June, I'm hot, and exhausted.  After the warmest weekend so far this year (low 90s), I feel wiped out.
It's a miracle that I'm able to get dishes done and make it through the day.  Add to the mix that I have this funny feeling that this baby is coming early--I'm hoping I'm wrong, as I still have so much to do.  Plus he/she still seems to be in a breech position.  That feeling of a head jammed up into my ribs is not very pleasant, however the baby is moving around and I'm hoping will flip over soon.

I don't remember feeling so uncomfortable this early with Soren--I think it was those last two weeks or so, plus the 10 days he was overdue.  I think it was easier being ripely pregnant in March, rather than May.
Predictably, many things get neglected, like the weeding of our garden.  However the lettuce and radishes have gone crazy loco wild in their growing.  We can't keep up with eating them, even Soren who occasionally will pull one out for a bite.
Thankfully I knew my limits this year, and stuck to herbs, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, peppers and one eggplant.  And they're all growing well so far.

I think once this freaky warm weather dissipates, things will be much better in my world.  The energy is just zapped right out of me, never mind that we haven't installed our air conditioners yet (waiting on our upstairs windows to be replaced next week).  So if you imagine me, this whale of a body, parked on the couch in front of an oscillating fan, you wouldn't be too far off from what life has been like here of late.

Any advice for coping with a summer pregnancy?  I might just have to go to the town pool tonight to cool off with S.

May 18, 2023

Be Kind

During this last stretch of pregnancy, I'm reminded of how the growing of a baby incites so much kindness in people around me, both friends and strangers.  Holding open doors, checking to see if I need some water, asking after my health, and just generally smiling and being friendly and helpful, in so many little ways.  It's so touching and humbling, and I'm enjoying it.

It's a great reminder to be kind to ourselves, especially as mothers. It's often the time when we feel the most frustrated (and often failing!) as human beings, and it's amazing how hard we are on ourselves about it.  And don't get me started on other people and their opinions of how we're parenting our kids.  The early years of parenthood are not always the time and place to be critical! Believe me, we're hard enough on ourselves about our kids' behavior, eating habits, and educational growth.

I need to remind myself, beyond this pregnancy, to be gentle to Kathleen.  Eat well, think well, smile often, and rest, even without a baby in my belly.

May 14, 2023

Procrastination and Panic

I'm having a rough couple of days here, mostly because I'm a highly organized (bordering on obsessive) person and I'm panicking about all the things I want to get done before this baby arrives.  I mean, check out the sidebar ticker--I have 8 weeks at the most!
Don't let that smile fool you.  Just look at that huge belly--it's almost time! And that wall paper is a little sneak peek at the room.

I'm most worried about getting the nursery together, not because the baby will be sleeping in there necessarily, but because there's no way I'll have time to fix up the nursery once he/she arrives.  Being with two kids alone all day is already freaking out my sense of order and timeliness in getting just the general stuff like meals and laundry done.
I'm trying to rope some family and friends into helping paint the room. It's truly a mess! The walls are all banged up, holey from things I've drilled and hammered into the walls, and the moldings are atrocious and haven't been painted since the previous owners.
And we need a doorknob!  I'm embarrassed to admit that the door has been like this for quite a while, even when Soren was using this room as his nursery.
I generally adore our old house, however there are so many quirks and weird measurements that never add up to "normal" renovations.  Chris was going to replace the crappy doorknob months ago, but didn't realize until after drilling the hole that the door was too thin for a standard knob.  Somehow we'll get that fixed, eventually.
And the crib---well that has to be repositioned to the highest level.  Aaaaghhh! I'm overwhelmed with tasks!  Plus, where in the world have I stashed all the crib sheets?

Thankfully the dresser and wardrobe have arrived; the wardrobe is in pieces all over the room, in the process of being put together.  And the paint is here too, which I'm eager to get on the walls along with the wallpaper.  The paint is from Yolo Colorhouse, which manufactures gorgeous, eco-friendly colors with low VOCs.  I went with Stone .04, a soothing light gray.

I really just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the last few weeks of this pregnancy.  But of course, the nesting instinct is making me insane, wanting to re-caulk our horrible bathtub, sew burp cloths, finish the mobile I started making, sort and wash baby clothes, and de-gunk the fridge.  There are too many things on my mental to-do list.  What's the most crazy thing that you've done as a result of nesting before your baby?  I'm fighting the urge to scrub the pantry closet and lay down contact paper on the shelves.

I'm sure you're wondering what the hold-up is with getting the nursery together?  Stay tuned--it will be worth the wait, and the surprise.

May 4, 2023

Baby Month: Packing a Hospital Bag

With the birth of my son 3 years ago, I was eagerly over-prepared and over-packed for my stay in the hospital. Looking back on it, I feel bad for my poor husband, who shlepped not only the unnecessary things that I packed along for labor (like a small CD player that was never used!), but all the floral arrangements, gifts, hospital swag and, well, a 9lb 5oz baby too!

This time around, I'm definitely taking the minimalist route.  I'm tempted to just show up with my insurance card, purse, and a pair of slippers.  Really, what else is needed? :)

Here's what I'll most likely be bringing. I'm making this list a lot for myself too, just so I can go back to my blog to refer to it once I'm closer to my due date.

  • Insurance cards, hospital paperwork
  • Purse (already contains my wallet, hairbands, phone, paper/pen, lip balm, etc.)
  • Slippers
  • Glasses
  • Lightweight robe
  • Nightgown
  • Loose-fitting clothes/sandals to wear home
  • Nursing bra/pads
  • Toiletry items (toothbrush, contact lens solution, etc.)
  • Phone charger
  • Camera/ Flip video camera
  • Onesie/ baby pants
  • Outfit for photos
  • Lightweight swaddle blanket
  • Car seat
Am I missing anything? I'm sure I'll add or subtract to this list once I think about it some more.  And Chris will most likely be coming home at night so he can always bring things I forgot, plus get showered and changed there.  What is the best item that you brought along with you when you went into labor?

April 27, 2023

Easter Wrap-Up and My Big Belly

Easter was gorgeous here is PA, so we spent as much time outside as we could, with an egg hunt

and chocolates, of course, which S happily shared.

My dyed brown eggs came out ok, much deeper colors than on white eggs. 
Though I think I used too much vinegar, which seemed to make the dye flake off.  Oh well, the eggs were still perfectly cooked, and were delicious on our Easter dinner, a Nicoise Salad with Salmon.
What did you have for dinner?  I hope it was as tasty as ours.

In other world news, I'm getting huge!
Here I am filling holes in the walls of the nursery.  This belly is out of control, as is my hunger.  We spent some of the weekend organizing, donating, and trying to clear things out for the baby.  Our attic looks spectacular, and I feel so much more organized about baby things.

I'll also share a little secret: this month I'll be working with and Chase Financial with a makeover of the nursery. I'm so excited, and ready to start working, or more accurately, ready to start directing others to start working (like friends and family).  You know, my belly is just too big and all for all that bending!  Stay tuned for more on the nursery project this May.

And if you have a moment and don't mind clicking over to Belli Beautiful, I entered that huge belly in a photo contest and hope to win some pampering goodies. It just takes one click to vote, no signing up or anything.  My belly thanks you for your support!

April 19, 2023

The Nesting Instinct

We had these visitors last year, who sort-of moved in, made a mess, then moved along.
I think they ended up knocking over their own nest last year, so they split.  They're not the smartest of birds (is a smart bird an oxymoron?).
Already they've made quite a pile of twigs and nesting material.

Mourning Doves are so pretty and gentle though, with their soothing coos, that I can't help but want them to stay, especially being pregnant and awaiting my own little chickadee to arrive soon.  However that would mean no swinging on our balcony until their babies have hatched.
Hmmm, that swing has been quite a nice spot for nursing and relaxing.  Maybe those birds will just chase themselves away after all.  Or perhaps Oscar the cat might scare them off.
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