Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Week Update (Long, as usual!)

Well, folks, believe it or not Miss Lena is one week old today! It does not seem like 7 days since I was in that hospital bed giving birth! Crazy.

So I'm going to break this down into 4 parts: Lena, My Recovery, Breastfeeding, and Anxiety. A lot of it is just for my records, so feel free to skim. :-)

Lena (and a little bit of Lucy :-))
She is amazing. I'm pretty sure I could just watch her sleep all day. She has been such an easy baby. *knock on wood!* I still can't believe how easily she caught onto breastfeeding, and she has been an incredible sleeper since day one! The first night home, she was up every hour and a half wanting to eat, and wouldn't sleep anywhere but on my chest. The next day, I put her in the Rock N' Play during the day and she slept for a solid 4 hours, so I decided to try that at night. Wow. Now I get why that thing gets such rave reviews! (Yes, I know it's been recalled, but it was just because moisture can get stuck in the folds and get moldy. That's not too much of a safety concern for me.) That night she slept two 4 hour stretches, getting up once to eat. The next night she slept a 5 hour stretch and a 4 hour stretch. And last night she slept from 11:30pm-6:30am! That's 7 straight hours!! As long as she's swaddled and snuggled in that Rock N' Play, she's out without a peep! I sure hope this isn't just a fluke. (And that my boobs adjust soon. Haha. More on that later . . .)

She had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I had three concerns: the whites of her eyes are yellow, so I was worried about jaundice (even though all her tests were normal in the hospital), I wanted the doctor to check and see if she's tongue tied because she has a shallow latch, and I was worried about how disgusting her belly button looks. But the doctor ruled out problems in all three areas! She said that her body is pink enough that the yellow eyes aren't a big deal - and since she's already a week old she's past the danger stage. She's not tongue tied, and her belly button is a normal level of disgusting. Haha. She did lose a fair amount of weight. I thought the scale said 8 lbs. 3 oz., but the paperwork they sent me home with said 8 lbs. 7 oz.? Either way, that's down quite a bit from the 8 lbs. 13 oz. she was at birth. Again, though, the doctor wasn't concerned since she's eating well and having a good amount of wet and dirty diapers. Woohoo!

We're having so much fun snuggling and getting to know each other. And Lucy is doing great with her. If Lena's binky ever falls out, Lucy rushes over to put it in her mouth, saying, "Sh, sh, sh. It's ok, baby sister." Melts my heart. She loves to help change diapers, get her dressed, and give her sponge baths. She asks about 15 times a day to hold her, and is overall just so sweet with her. She's had a little bit of an attitude the past few days. Anytime she gets told no, she runs to her room wailing and throws herself onto her bed so dramatically. Haha. I know it's just because of this big life change, though, and we've been working on giving her lots of attention. Justin has the whole week off, so that's really helped.

My Recovery
Ugh. Did I just block out the recovery process after Lucy's birth or has this time really been that much worse? I am such a wimp. Haha. Everything from the waist down is healing nicely and not bothering me much at all. I'm very grateful for that. My upper body, however, is a different story. After being confused for days about where this pain came from, I've finally decided that pregnancy ruined my core. Maybe I just didn't use it for 9 months? Or my body got so used to being pregnant that it's protesting now? Either way, I can't stand up straight for more than 10 minutes without excruciating back pain. It is so frustrating. I was in pain for the last 20 weeks of my pregnancy, and now this pain is cramping my lifestyle. I'm just really really ready to be back to myself - able to move and walk and stand at the kitchen counter making lunch without having to hunch over. I just keep telling myself my body's been through a lot and will have to recover eventually! Haha. Although if this pain lasts much longer, I'm going to go see what the chiropractor can do for me. Until then, I'm exceedingly grateful to have Justin here to help me out. He's pretty much been at my beck n' call for the past week and I don't know what I'd do without him. (Semi-terrified of him going back to work on Monday!)

Oh, breastfeeding. This is the other upper body pain that is affecting me. Haha. It's funny how I have the opposite problem I had with Lucy, but it's causing me just as much frustration! Lucy took forever to learn how to latch and it took forever for my milk to come in. But apparently my milk came in slowly and nicely and Lucy was a gentle nurser with a perfect latch. Neither of those things are true this time around. My milk came in with a vengeance. I've never gotten truly engorged, but I am uncomfortably full most of the time. And Lena is a vigorous sucker with a shallow latch. I'm experiencing the "cracked and bleeding" nipples for the first time. Lucky me! And I just can't figure out what to do about the engorgement. I've been feeding on demand and letting her go as long as she wants. Usually, though, she fills up on one side and my other side is in agony. I do everything in my power to get her to wake up, but even if I get her awake enough to latch on, she only downs a couple gulps and is out again.

My biggest source of frustration is not knowing whether my nipples just need to toughen up, or if her latch really is that bad that I need to correct it. She usually starts out really shallow because she doesn't open her mouth wide enough, but I have no clue how to make her open it any wider. There are about 20 seconds of toe-curling pain before she finally starts sucking deeply at which point I think the latch is good. But are those first 20 seconds doing too much damage to my nipples? Will it get better? I'm fine toughing it out if I know there's an end in sight!

And then what do I do about the near-constant fullness? Even right after she eats, I don't feel like I'm really empty. I've pumped a few times just to give myself more relief, but is that just teaching my body to make more milk? Do I just need to tough that out too? I'm so paranoid about clogs/mastitis!

I'm still doing well on the anxiety front. I cried a little bit last night because I'm so frustrated about the amount of pain I'm still in, and the confusion about how to solve my breastfeeding problems. Over all, though, I'm doing so much better than last time. I'm eating like a hog and truly enjoying this time with Lena. If anything, I have anxiety over how fast she's growing up and how quickly the newborn stage is slipping away. There's nothing better than a tiny baby snuggled up against your chest. So worth all the pain. And I haven't felt too much anxiety about Lucy feeling neglected. She's getting plenty of attention. I'm really focusing on playing with her a lot while Lena sleeps (which is pretty much anytime she's not eating), and Justin has been doing great with entertaining her as well.

So there's the ridiculously long 1 week update. Any advice about breastfeeding would be greatly appreciated!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lena's Birthday Part 2

Part one - the actual birth story - is below. Here are some more details.

While the nurses were working on Lena, the doctor was finishing up with me. I felt the placenta come out - something I didn't experience with Lucy. But I purposely did not look at it. Haha. Gross. Then I waited anxiously to hear if I tore. Having just delivered a baby 3 oz. short of 9 lbs who came out totally sideways, I was pretty nervous. You can imagine my surprise (and immense relief!) when the doctor said I didn't tear at all!! Praise the Lord!

After we were both checked out, Lena and I got to do skin to skin and attempt nursing for the first time. My breastfeeding experience with Lucy was not ideal - especially those first few days/weeks. She could not figure out the latch so it was frustrating and exhausting for both of us. So I was amazed when Lena rooted around for a minute, then latched right on and sucked like a pro!! More on that later.

Finally, they gave her a bath and let Justin hold her for the first time. Then our families got to come in. I always feel bad that they have to wait so long. My mom and Niki were standing in the hall while I was pushing, so they heard Lena cry (and saw all the NICU nurses rush in!) but then had to wait over an hour before they could come meet her. Justin did go out and give them the details so they weren't totally out of the loop. They called my dad and told him to head down to the hospital with Lucy, so she was there too when it was time for everyone to come meet Baby Sister for the first time.

Lucy was so adorable. She came in with the biggest smile on her face, climbed right up in bed with me, gave me a kiss, and checked out her sister excitedly. She held her and kissed her and exclaimed about how she was sticking out her tongue. I thought I'd be a basket case when they met for the first time, but I really wasn't. So funny how my emotions surprise me.

Eventually it was time to move up to recovery. Of course I was still completely numb and couldn't move. It always amuses me. The nurse decided not to try and get me in a wheelchair, but put me on a gurney instead. It was very strange - she made Justin help move me. They threw me onto the gurney and my leg flopped off. I was like, "Justin, will you put my leg back on the bed please?" Haha. Things you never expect to hear yourself say . . .

Unfortunately we got put in the janky wing of the hospital. With Lucy, we had a nice, updated, big room. This time we got stuck in a closet. I didn't even have my own shower! And the room was so tiny we could barely fit my bed, Justin's chair/bed, and Lena's bassinet side by side. You can imagine how tiny the room felt when we crammed it full of visitors! Haha.

My family left shortly after we arrived in recovery, and we tried breastfeeding again. Seriously, the girl is amazing. She latched right on and ate for 20 minutes on each side. I could hear the tell-tale suck, suck, swallow so knew she was actually getting some colostrum! Such relief! And if I wasn't already proud enough of my little rockstar, she slept so well that night! I woke her up at midnight to try and feed her, but she was sound asleep and refused to budge. I asked the nurse if it was a big deal and she said not to worry about it and just try again later. So different than with Lucy! The nurses were so on me about nursing every 2 hours then. Anyway, Lena slept a good stretch and I tried to sleep, but could feel the epidural wearing off and the pain creeping in. I'm actually pretty disappointed that despite not tearing, I've still been in a lot of pain.

I know the doctor was really digging around in me trying to get her to turn while I was delivering, and she came pretty fast, so my body certainly had a fair amount of trauma and I'm feeling it. Yuck. I've also been surprised by the amount and painfulness of the cramping - especially while nursing. It feels just like those first contractions I was having. I don't remember cramping hardly at all with Lucy. But again, Lucy never nursed as well as Lena did those first few days. Also, the nurse said it gets worse with subsequent pregnancies because the uterus has to work harder to contract down to size. Oy.

That first night, Lena was sleeping in her bassinet at the foot of my bed, Justin was out cold, and I was dozing when I heard her gurgling a little bit. I told Justin to go check on her, and when he lifted her up she puked all over the place! Great. We have another puker! Haha. The nurse said it was actually a good sign because it meant she was definitely getting good feedings!

She did even better the second night. It's kind of a blur, but I'm pretty sure I got two 3-hour stretches of sleep that night. Amazing! And breastfeeding has continued to go well. She's usually eating every 2 hours, but occasionally makes it 3. She's hurting me a little bit, so we had the lactation consultant stop by before we checked out yesterday. She gave me some techniques to help Lena latch better/correctly, but I'm not sure how well they're working. Hopefully it's just a matter of time and practice. The good news is my milk came in last night! That's a huge improvement over last time when it was 7 days before it came in!

One more bit of good news: So far, I'm doing much better this time on the anxiety front! I know there's still time, but I'm feeling a lot more stable. Maybe it's because I knew a little more what to expect, or because Lena has been an easier baby so far, or because Justin took more time off work this time. I just don't feel as out of control. I've even been eating! Woohoo! And I don't feel too badly about eating, because I've already lost 20 lbs! That's my kind of diet. :-)

Well thanks again for reading to the end. I also have to thank our huge support system - all the people who have watched Lucy, brought meals, came to visit, brought gifts for Lena, brought gifts for me, brought gifts and cake and balloons for Justin - did I mention yesterday was his birthday? :-) We are so so blessed and loved. Love you all!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lena's Birth Story

I go back and read Lucy's birth story so often and have been looking forward to writing Lena's for months! So excited to finally have the opportunity!! If you know me at all, this next line is a no-brainer, but you know . . . it's going to be long! Haha. And consider yourself forewarned that it's semi-graphic.

Wednesday was my due date. I stayed up late Tuesday night re-reading my blog entries about Lucy's first 6 months of life and getting so excited to meet the little one who'd been using me as a punching bag for months! That night I dreamed about giving birth all night. I woke up Wednesday morning at 8:05 to Lucy an inch away from my face saying, "I want to watch a movie on your computer." I got her settled in bed next to me with my laptop and fell back to sleep. At 8:21, I was woken up by the worst contraction I'd had to date. I thought to myself, "Wow! That one really hurt," checked the time on my phone and went back to sleep. When the same thing happened again, I checked my phone again - 8:29. Again at 8:37. I got a little flutter in my stomach, getting excited that I was finally having semi-painful contractions that were time-able! I knew that could last for days, but I also knew that Justin was on his way to Lansing for work. I texted him, asking what time he was leaving and he said, "I'm already on the road. Do you need me to turn around?" I decided to get up, take a shower, and see if the contractions went away, and told him just to keep going. I was sure I'd be fine.

The contractions seemed to be one on top of the other in the shower. They weren't lasting very long, but were coming every couple minutes! I started to get a little bit worried. Haha. So I got out, called Justin again and told him he should probably come home. He said he would be home in an hour and I told Lucy I thought the baby was finally going to come out today! She replied, "Yes! Me so excited! I can't wait to see what she look like! Me going to hold her and kiss her!" So precious. I finished packing our last minute stuff, stopping every few minutes to breathe and write down the time of my contraction. Pretty soon they were 6 minutes apart and I was texting Justin saying, "Are you almost here? I'm ready for my epidural!" Haha. Such a wimp.

Justin got home at 10:45 and we were out the door by 11. We dropped Lucy off at Niki's house and grabbed a towel from her for me to sit on in case my water broke. :-) I did really well with saying good-bye to Lucy. I didn't feel too emotional at all, which totally surprised me! We pulled into the ER at 11:45 and once again they whisked me upstairs before Justin even finished parking the car. The guy who took me to triage was this sweet old man who told me he has a horse named Sadie. Haha. I timed a couple contractions 4 minutes apart while I was in triage. They were really hurting and I was already whining to Justin. 

A nurse came in right away to check me - 4 cm and 90%. But she said she stretched me to a 5 while she was checking. Then she took my blood pressure: 150/something. That's super high for me. I figured at that point, they probably wouldn't be sending me home. Woohoo! The nurse was asking me questions during a contraction, but I didn't want to be rude, so I did my best to answer her. A few minutes later she asked me what level my pain was on a scale of 1-10. When I hesitated she said, "I noticed you talked through that last contraction" (I was on the monitor). Haha - aka - it must not be that bad yet! She asked if there was anything I wanted before she left the room and I jokingly said, "Yes, my epidural!" She said she'd ask my doctor and see about getting me admitted.

By 12:30, she was back with the good news: My doctor said to admit me and get that epidural! Haha. We walked down to the delivery room and the anesthesiologist's assistant came in to give me the spiel. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted the epi, but I was feeling much more nervous about getting it this time than I remember being with Lucy. My nurse got the IV in on the first try (it took 4 tries with Lucy!) and started the fluids. Then the anesthesiologist came in. This is where it gets interesting. Haha. His first question was if I'd had an epi before. I told him that I had an amazing one with Lucy and didn't feel a thing. His face dropped and he said, "Well I can't guarantee that. All epidurals are different." Ok, thanks for that word of encouragement! Then he asked us to turn off the TV, saying that he was "easily distracted." Just want I want to hear from the man who's about to stick a 4 foot needle in my spine!! He proceeded to poke and prod my back, tell me that I have slight scoliosis and the epi might not work. At this point I could feel the panic rising a little bit. I got into position with the help of the assistant and the anesthesiologist said, "Ok, here comes the numbing shot. It's going to sting." He put it in and said, "Hurting, hurting, hurting. Burning, burning, oh here comes the stinging!" Way to take my mind off the pain! Lol. (It really was not that bad.) Then he put the big needle in, which just felt like pressure. He kept telling me to hold really still which scared me to death. Haha. Finally he started to thread the catheter (for the medicine - not like a pee catheter). He tried and tried, then said, "I can't do it. I can't get it threaded. I've never had this problem in 20 years of doing this." Ah! I'm already such an anxious person. And my blood pressure was already high! Haha. Fortunately, the assistant had much better bedside manner than the anesthesiologist. She assured me that he'd get it and everything would be fine. He eventually did, but then went on to tell me that it might be in my spinal fluid and they had to run a test. Again, the assistant assured me that I wouldn't be paralyzed or anything if it was in the wrong spot, they'd just have to re-do it. I prayed like crazy that it would be fine . . . and it was. Whew! Pretty soon my legs were feeling warm, tingly, and heavy, and I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore. That was 1:00.

My mom and Niki showed up with McDonald's for Justin while I was getting the epi. They were sent to the waiting room, but came in by 1:15. We all got comfy and started placing bets about when Lena would appear. 

At 2:45 a resident came in to break my water. My nurse (Tammi - who I loved) said I had a lot of fluid. I wanted to say, "Yeah! Did you see the size of my belly?!" Haha. She checked me and said I was now 5-6 cm, still 90% effaced. She predicted we'd have a baby by 5:30. 

As soon as my water was broken, my contractions started getting much harder and stronger - at least according to the monitor. I wasn't feeling too much! Although I was surprised to be feeling more than I ever did with Lucy. It wasn't painful, but I felt my belly tightening with most of the strong contractions - just like Braxton Hicks. We sat around talking and facebooking for a couple hours. It was kind of strange that the nurse never checked me. I got checked like once an hour with Lucy. At some point, I started shaking like crazy. Tammi said I was probably transitioning and guessed I was 8 cm.

At 5:00, she checked me: 9-10 cm, just a lip of cervix. She switched my position to try and encourage that lip to disappear and left to page the doctor. My doctor wasn't there, so I had the on-call: Emily Dietrich. I was so surprised when she walked in. She was young and cute and bubbly. Haha. She was so loud and enthusiastic while I was pushing! She checked me at 5:45 and declared me ready to push.

This is where it gets exciting. My mom and Niki went to the waiting room and the nurse started to break down the bed. I got in position and started pushing. Apparently I wasn't being very effective because they decided to try a new technique: the doctor grabbed a towel and essentially played tug of war with me. She pulled one end and I pulled the other, which caused me to lean forward and push. I actually really liked doing it that way because it seemed to be working. Although my arms have been sore for days because of it! At one point, the nurse turned up the fetal monitor really loud and I heard her discussing the heartrate with the doctor. I wasn't concerned because I could hear Lena's heart beating and could still feel her moving around and kicking inside me. 

It's amazing how good the medical staff is at being nonchalant and discouraging panic. I was pushing with my eyes closed and opened them one time to see a whole slew of NICU nurses waiting by the warmer. Finally Dr. Dietrich said, "The baby's heart rate is just too low and it's not coming back up between contractions. Here are your options: vacuum or c-section." I was so shocked! I'd only been pushing about 10 minutes. I couldn't believe we already had to resort to that! I quickly chose the vacuum and the doctor told me they were going to pull her out, cut the cord, and immediately send her to the warmer. She put the vacuum on her head and I pushed with all my might, praying with everything in me that I wouldn't have to have a c-section and that Lena would be ok. I didn't even make it through a full push before the vacuum popped off the baby's head, though! She said she had too much hair and it wouldn't suction! Haha. I didn't have time to panic though before I heard the nurse saying, "Oh, she's turning . . . here she comes!" Apparently Lena was sunny side up. All it took was that little nudge from the vacuum to get her to turn enough to slide out. She didn't turn all the way, so came out completely sideways. I did feel more this time than with Lucy. I felt Lena crowning, but it wasn't painful. And I definitely felt relief as she slid out of my body. So crazy. 

Despite the doctor's earlier warning about whisking her away, they laid her right on my belly and Justin got to cut the cord. (I think the doctor expected the cord to be around her neck, but it wasn't at all. I never did hear why her heartreat was so low. Maybe just because she was posterior?) She cried, but didn't scream as hard as she should have, so they did take her away pretty quickly. I never really even saw her face. But everyone assured me that she was fine and as they suctioned her, her cries got louder and louder. Justin and I both agreed that she looked smaller than Lucy and were shocked when they weighed her and declared her 8 lbs, 13 oz! 5 oz. bigger than Lucy!! They were exactly the same length though: 20 inches.

So she was born at 6:04 p.m.on her due date, 19 crazy minutes after I started pushing, not quite 10 hours after I felt that first contraction. Not too bad! 

I want to record how amazing she has been with breastfeeding since the first try, what a great sleeper she is, Lucy's reaction to her, etc, but this is already sooooo long that we'll save that for another entry. Congrats if you made it all the way to the end! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Name Explained

Now that she's here and you all know her name, I can share the details. We really didn't set out to find another 4 letter L name. I actually kind of wanted to avoid it. Now that I have Lucy and Lena, I feel like the next baby will be getting the shaft if we don't stick with that theme. But Lena was the only name Justin and I both really liked. So there you have it. Here are the weekly clues explained:

1. Combination of 2 family member's names. This one was tricky because one of them is a family member most of you don't know. Haha. Justin's Grandma's name is Leora and his mom's name is Donna. Combined: Lena! Also, she shares a middle name with Justin's mom (Kay).

2. In the book Deeply Devoted, the main character had a baby named Lina. We changed the spelling to honor Justin's grandma.

3. The actress from a show that I used to love but isn't on anymore is Lena Olin from Alias. :-) (She played Irina - Sydney's mom.)

4. The social security rankings: In the US, it was ranked most highly in 1884 at #41. It started to move back up the ranks in 2002. It's currently at #360.

5. The actress on a current cable show is Lena Dunham. She apparently created and stars in the HBO show "Girls." I've never seen it.

6. I said the name was ethnic and popular in other countries. It's actually very popular in Europe. According to, it's rated #3 in Austria, #9 in Poland, and #13 in France.

7. One of my clues was that it's sometimes used as a nickname, but can also stand alone. It could be a nickname for a plethora of names (Magdalena, Helena, Selena, etc.) I briefly considered giving her the full name Melina. But I knew I'd never actually call her that, and it was just a little too weird for me.

8. When searching for name meaning, I usually just found "diminutive of Magdalena" or "woman of Magdala," but the more I searched, I started to find meanings like "bright" and "light." Lucy's name means "bringer of light." So I guess we're going with a light theme. :-)

So there you have it. Congrats to Amy Evans for figuring it out so early. My sisters can't actually take too much credit. Lucy spilled it to them and then they confirmed each week with the clues. Haha. That's what I get for telling my 2 year old.

Birth story to come!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Top 10 Reasons This Baby Needs to Get Out Pronto!

10. I'm starting to itch. She needs to pop out before I get PUPPS again.

9. I'm getting dangerously close to 180 lbs. Actually that was as of my appointment last Wednesday. I might have hit it by now.

8. My fingers are swelling so much, I'm going to have to have my rings cut off soon or they're going to cut off my circulation!

7. If she stays in there much longer, she's going to be so big she's not going to fit in all the adorable newborn outfits I have for her. (Not to mention the box of newborn diapers!)

6. I'm not going to be able to keep her name a secret much longer. (Especially since Lucy knows it now . . .)

5. We are spending way too much money on fast food because I never cook anymore.

4. Justin's dad is leaving for a month-long work trip/vacation to the Gulf Coast/Florida on Saturday!

3. I have to do laundry way too often because half of Lucy's underwear is packed in her "go bag."

2. I don't think my skin can stretch any more. If she grows much more, my stomach's just going to rip open and all my organs are going to fall out.

1. None of my clothes fit, and my grandma's really going to think I'm immodest when my belly starts hanging out of my shirts!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Saturday "7"

1. I'm pretty sure I could eat restaurant food every day of my life and not get sick of it. Last night I really wanted Trini's and this morning the Big Boy breakfast buffet is sounding amazing. Too bad we're not made of money.

2. I'm sure you've seen this on facebook, but I want to record it here too. Lucy and I had a much needed play-date with Kelly and Presley yesterday. Kelly and I sat on the couch stuffing our faces with cinnamon rolls while the girls ran in and out of Lucy's bedroom playing. Eventually Kelly said, "They're being very quiet in there . . ." Never a good sign. We went in to find this:
Haha. Fishy is well-fed! I'm not complaining if that's the worst of their antics.

3. This is going to be a TMI point. Feel free to skip it. These are the things I did to induce labor this week: Ate steak, ate pizza, bounced on a yoga ball, had a dance party with Lucy, did the hot washcloth trick, had sex, and used my breast pump - that was very odd. The first time, I got half an ounce of colostrum. The second time I got a whole ounce! Crazy to think my body is making that much already. I totally saved it and stuck it in the freezer. Obviously nothing has worked. Everything I read online said pumping should start contractions almost immediately. I didn't have a single one. Haha. I give up. She'll come out when she's good and ready - or when my doctor induces me.

4. I asked Lucy this week what she wants to be when she grows up. She said, "Big sister!" Haha. We've obviously been talking about that a lot. She also told me that she's a big girl now because she has a freckle. I told you she was excited about that thing. Lol.

5. Ok, I'm not going to make it to 7 this week. My life pretty much revolves around waiting for this baby to pop out. I feel like I've gotten some flak for wishing she'd appear early. Yes, I'm ridiculously huge and in pain 24/7, but I want her out for more than just my comfort. I'm super excited to meet her. I can't wait to see what she looks like. Justin and I look pretty similar, so it's pretty unlikely she'll be anything but dark. I just can't wait to see how much hair she has and if she looks like Lucy (aka me) or if she'll have some feature of Justin that didn't come out in Lucy. And I'm really anxious to see how big she is.

I'm also really really ready to be back to myself. I can't do anything. I hate relying on everyone to help me all the time. I can't wait to have the energy/ability to clean my house, to make dinner, to get down on the floor and play with Lucy. Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy these last few days with Lucy, but I can't really enjoy them when I'm constantly telling her, "I'm sorry, babe, Mommy doesn't feel good and needs to lay down." I know in the grand scheme of things a few days is nothing. In a couple weeks I'll look back on this post and be annoyed with myself for my impatience. Haha.

I've decided that she's going to be born on Thursday, the 24th. That's when my next appointment is, so it's possible that the doctor will find a reason to induce me. It's also Justin's birthday, and the day I had my D&C last year. Poetic irony, no?

Well there it is. I'd apologize for making it so pregnancy-centric, but I doubt anyone expected anything less! Really trying to be less annoying on facebook this week. Wish me luck. Haha. :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

39 Week Appointment

Still just 3 cm, made it up to 90% effaced, -2 station.

Only gained 2 lbs! Whew! Although that officially puts me up 40 lbs total. I gained 42 with Lucy. Better hurry up and pop this baby out before I exceed that!

My blood pressure was a tiny bit high for me - it's still in the normal range for most people, but higher than my usual. When I mentioned I've been having headaches, she sent me to the lab for bloodwork, and said I'd have the results by "this afternoon" - whatever that means. She said if there's any concern at all in the bloodwork, they'll get me in for an induction, but I'm not counting on it.

I begged and pleaded for her to induce me, but she said we have to wait 'til my due date. And of course she didn't have any appointments available on my actual due date (Wednesday), so my next appointment ins't until Thursday. Really hoping I don't make it that far, but I'm starting to think I'm going to. We'll do an ultrasound and NST and discuss my options at that point. She did say that even today I'm very favorable for an induction - my body is progressing and baby is descending. So by next week I should be golden.

So all of you who are concerned about me being induced one measly week before my due date can just relax. And when this baby is overdue, over 9 lbs, and tears my poor little body to shreds, you're the ones who are going to have to listen to me whine and cry. ;-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

39 Weeks

I was really hoping I wouldn't make it to this post. I shouldn't even say that, though, because I'm going to be even more depressed when I have to write a 40 week post! Haha.

Baby is the size of a watermelon this week. Oy.

How far along? 39 weeks
Total weight loss/gain: + 2 lbs, +40 lbs total!
Maternity clothes? Only a few left that actually fit.
Sleep:Hit or miss. I usually sleep pretty well. One night this week I was up for 2 hours in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Last night, I took a sleeping pill because I wanted to avoid that. Slept like a rock for almost 10 hours! 

Best moment this week: Finding out my step-grandma thinks I dress too immodestly for a pregnant woman and should be sewing my own clothes if I can't find appropriate ones in the store. Lol! 
Movement: I don't understand how she moves as much as she does. I'm pretty sure her head is engaged in my pelvis, but her body is still twisting around like crazy. 
Food cravings: Chips, Reese's pb cups, chocolate
Food aversions: Vegetables. ;-) 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Labor Signs: I've been having mild contractions here and there. BH still non-stop. Pretty sure I'm losing chunks of my mucous plug. Nothing is working, though!

Belly Button in or out? Flattened out mass.
What I miss: Everything (e
xcept my period - don't miss that!)
What I am looking forward to: Getting this baby out of me!!!
Milestones: Making it to the March of Dimes approved "full term" today. 

I've had a headache for over 12 hours and am getting a little concerned about preeclampsia. I'll check my blood pressure at Meijer tonight and I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow at 10 am, so I'm sure I'll be fine. At this point, I might welcome a little bit of high blood pressure as an excuse to induce!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Saturday 7

1. Lucy spelled "mom" this week. I told her how to spell it weeks ago, but we seriously haven't talked about it since then. The other day, we were playing with her V-Tech letter game and talking about how M is for Mommy. Out of the blue she said, "M-O-M. Mommy." I teared up. Lol. She can do "Dad" too. And she counted to 13 this week. I didn't know she knew any numbers past 10! Haha.

2. The sticker chart has been working wonders for getting her to go potty and brush her teeth every morning and evening. Although I'm realizing why I didn't enforce tooth brushing. It's really annoying. It takes forever. Those teeth are all going to fall out anyway, right? Haha.

3. This is a Lucy heavy update, but she's just been so cute lately! A couple weeks ago she started pointing out all my freckles, calling them "owies." I explained that they're freckles and she'll probably have some someday. One day this week I noticed she has one on her side. I pointed it out to her and she was so excited. Lol. She randomly lifts her shirt all the time and says, "Wanna see my freckle?"

4. After a long, difficult day yesterday I decided to treat myself to a pedicure. I get pedicures very rarely, but every time I do I always think, "Man, I'm so going to blog about this." Lol. It was actually a very nice experience. The girl didn't try to talk to me too much, which I appreciate, because I'm horrible with accents and can never understand what they're saying! I just sat and read my magazines in peace while she whittled away at my feet. She seriously went into the back room and brought out a special tool to scrape all the dead skin off my feet. Haha. And she kept laughing at me because my legs were twitching so badly while she scrubbed the bottoms of my feet. I can't be the only one who's so ticklish! Toward the end, one of the other techs came over to ask when I was due. I noticed her name tag - her name is what we're naming this baby. I told you it was an ethnic name. ;-) Hahaha - no, really, she said she took an American name because her Vietnamese name is too hard for us English people to pronounce. Anyway, I feel so much better about my feet now, even if it's ridiculous to pay so much to have them look nice (especially in the dead of winter)! I think I'm going to start buying pedicure gift cards for baby showers. Every pregnant woman needs one at the end!
At least my feet aren't swelling yet!
5. So here's the baby update: I have mild, sporadic contractions every evening. I time them every night, but they're anywhere from 6 to 20 minutes apart. I always go to bed hoping they'll keep me up all night, but I've actually been sleeping even better than usual lately. Grrr. Haha. I have very few if any contractions during the day, then they'll start up again around 7:00 p.m. I'm in agonizing pain all day though. Baby is obviously descending. I'm kind of losing my mind. (In case you haven't been able to tell from facebook. I'm so sorry about that. Going to try and be less negative/pregnancy obsessed.)

6. I've been a failure as a wife lately. Justin and I have a good system where he works 40 hours a week and does all the lawn/snow care, and I do most of the housework and cooking. (He chips in a lot with laundry and dishes and always does the vacuuming.) But in the past few weeks, I have completely given up. I did make dinner Monday and Tuesday this week, but on Wednesday I texted him to bring home a pizza, Thursday I texted him to bring home Wendy's, and last night he got home, asked what was for dinner and I snapped, "Why do you people always have to eat?" Haha. He made a frozen pizza. All that's to say, I was feeling guilty one night and decided to make this crockpot oatmeal recipe I saw on pinterest. Here are the directions:

Throw 2 sliced apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour 2 cups of oatmeal and 4 cups of water on top. Do NOT stir. Cook overnight for 8 - 9 hours on low. 

It was kind of slimy and needed way more sugar. Haha. 

7. This morning, Lucy got up way too early and climbed into bed with us. (Way too early meaning 7:45 instead of her usual 8:30-9.) Part of me was super annoyed, but the other part thought, "What if this is the last time we do this as a family of 3?" I've really been trying not to think about all the lasts. I'm already an emotional wreck. I can't handle that. Haha. Mostly I'm just excited to start our lives as a family of 4. I've been telling myself over and over that Lucy will have no memory of these last awful couple of months when I was a worthless mother, or what will inevitably be a difficult next couple of months as we all adjust to a newborn and Lucy gets much less attention. Lucy and Baby Sister will be almost exactly the same distance apart as my brother and I am. I don't remember him being born (and I have a crazy memory). I don't remember feeling replaced or neglected. Haha. Lucy won't either. She will love having a baby sister now and will (hopefully) forever appreciate having a sister to grow up with. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Haha.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Incredibly Disgusting Bare Belly Pictures

You thought my belly looked gross at 35 weeks? Check it out now at 38:

That thing in the front of my belly is the doorknob, not my belly button. Haha.
I give you my permission to show these pictures to your teenage daughters as a precaution against unsafe sex! Lol.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

38 Weeks

Baby is the size of a pumpkin week. That cracks me up. 

Had my 38 week appointment today: 3 centimeters, 80% effaced. Up from almost 3 cm and 70% effaced at my appt. 5 days ago. The doctor stripped my membranes today, so hopefully that'll move things along. Although that was 2 hours ago and I'm still not feeling much. Blurg.

How far along? 38 weeks - are we done yet?
Total weight loss/gain: +3 lbs since last Friday. Ha! +38 lbs total. I hit 175 - which is what I was the day I delivered Lucy. Time to have this baby!!
Maternity clothes? Obviously.
Sleep:Ok. Sweating like a hog again. It really hurts to roll over (RLP). She likes to move a lot when I'm trying to sleep. 

Best moment this week: Finding out I'm making progress. 
Movement: I actually think she's slowed down in the past few days. I know that's normal in this stage of the game since she's getting so low, but it makes me kind of nervous.
Food cravings: Sweets sweets sweets
Food aversions: Vegetables. ;-) 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Labor Signs: Had some bleeding after my appointment last week. (Nothing so far after today's.) Have been having a few contractions here and there. Mostly just the BH and cervi
x pain.
Belly Button in or out? Flattened out mass.
What I miss: I really miss being able to hold Lucy on my lap - especially when we rock at night. I also miss my body, my regular clothes, being comfortable, being able to breathe, etc.

What I am looking forward to: Getting this baby out of me!!!
Milestones: Hitting 175 lbs! Haha. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Saturday 7

Is today Saturday? I've been so confused about my days this week. Haha.

1. We had a splendid New Year's Eve. We were supposed to spend it with our small group, but the hosts ended up in the hospital with their one year old who had RSV and Broncholitis (or something like that - I don't remember the exact spelling)! We went to Niki's party instead and had a blast stuffing our faces and playing some awesome games - well, I did. Justin mostly just watched football. :-)

2. Since then, I feel like my life has been consumed by this pregnancy and wondering if every little twinge means labor. I hit 37 weeks on Wednesday, and despite the fact that I went overdue with Lucy and know with every practical bone in my body that it's very unlikely I'll deliver early, I still think I'm going to. Haha.

3. Last night after my internal, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable, having a few minor contractions, and bleeding. I was sure I'd be up all night with painful contractions. No such luck. I had Braxton Hicks every 2 minutes like clockwork until I laid down in bed. They completely stopped and I slept all night without a twinge. Bummer. Pretty sure this is the only time in my life that I'm wishing for pain!

4. The good news is that little "scare" incited me to finish some of the last minute things I've been putting off - including making a plan for Lucy. Wouldn't you think that'd be something I would've planned a long time ago? Haha. I just wasn't too concerned. We have a million people that will watch her at a moment's notice.

5. We had Christmas with my mom's side of the family on Sunday, where Niki took my new favorite picture. I think this just might be the picture of 2012:
That's my sister, Libby, who thinks my belly is disgusting. Haha.
6. I'll never forget when we were in high school, Justin once announced to the class that he would never have tea parties with his daughters. I was sitting on the opposite side of the room, hopelessly in love with him (though he didn't know it), and said to my friends, "He will when those daughters are mine!" He absolutely had a tea party with Lucy this week, complete with raising his pinkie and everything. If that isn't enough, later this week, he was reading a ballet book to Lucy and ended up demonstrating how to leap and curtsy. Lol. He's going to kill me for writing this, but I want to illustrate what an amazing dad he is. My girls are so lucky to have him. As am I. I'm totally over being pregnant and in pain all the time, but he has been wonderful with stepping up and doing so much of the housework and cooking and childcare. I don't know what I'd do without him! (Probably wallow in filth.)

7. I realized this week that Lucy never goes potty on the toilet. She's not having accidents. She just trained herself to hold it all morning until nap time, then all evening until bed time - the 2 times a day she gets to wear a diaper. So I made her a sticker chart that we're going to start on Monday. It also includes toothbrushing because she refuses to do that, and I'm a wimp and won't enforce it for some reason. Hopefully the sticker chart will be incentive enough! Wish us luck!

Friday, January 4, 2013

37 Week Appointment

I had my much awaited 37 week appointment today. Got my lovely Group B Strep test, and then she checked me: almost 3 cm and 70% effaced!! Woohoo! I know, I know - that could mean nothing. I could walk around like this for 3 more weeks. But I'm so encouraged that my body is doing something and all the cervix pain and Braxton Hicks are worth it.

Speaking of BH, I decided to time them last night. They came every 2 minutes like clockwork for over an hour. My doctor said that doesn't really mean anything unless they become so painful I can't talk through them, but again, my body is doing something. Come on, Baby!!! Let's do this!!!!!!

*Edit* Forgot to mention: I gained 5 lbs in 2 weeks. Yay, Christmas and New Year's! Haha. I have 3 lbs to go before I reach my 40 week weight with Lucy. Here's hoping I don't pass that! +35 lbs total this pregnancy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

37 Weeks

Baby is the size of a winter melon this week, whatever that is. They're having a hard time coming up with produce big enough! Haha. 

How far along? 37 weeks - full term!

Total weight loss/gain: + 5 lbs in the past 2 weeks. +35 lbs total.
Maternity clothes? Yep - growing out of them.
Sleep: Better than last week. I don't know what that was about. Still in a lot of pain. I have to sleep on my side, but then my opposite side hurts from the weight of my belly pulling forward. So I sleep with a pillow between my knees and wedged under my belly. I really take up a lot of room in our bed. Haha.

Best moment this week: Making it to full term!!
Movement: Alll the time. She's getting restless and flipping from side to side. 
Food cravings: Reese's PB cups. Mmmmmm. 
Food aversions: Vegetables. ;-) 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Labor Signs: Still lots of Bra
xton Hicks and cervix pain. The latter really takes my breath away and leaves me doubled over in pain. I sure hope it's productive pain! 
Belly Button in or out? Pretty much gone. 
What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach.

What I am looking forward to: My first internal on Friday. I better be making progress! If I'm all closed up, I'm going to cry. Also, hoping to find out what position this baby's in. I originally wrote this entry this morning and said I thought she was transverse. But as of the past few hours I think she's moving head down! She has been contorting like crazy in there and I'm feeling alllll kinds of movement way down low. She just had the hiccups down there too. I've always felt her hiccups on my sides up until this point. Thank goodness! Let's do this!
Milestones: Full term.

I think today would be a great day to have a baby. It's my sister's birthday, and it was my due date with our first baby. My goal for today is to get my hospital bag packed and throw some stuff in a bag for Lucy. Then we'll be ready to go! Or I'll just have to look at my packed bags for 3 more weeks . . .

I've been reading lots of birth stories lately. Part of me is super excited to do it again and part of me is terrified that I won't have such a great experience this time around. I had an amazing epidural with Lucy. I would really like to replicate that. And I hardly tore despite having a fat lard baby. It'd be great if I could do that again too! Haha. (It'd also be great if I could have a slightly less fat lard baby this time!) I guess we'll see! There's no going back now - she has to come out one way or another! :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 In Review

2012 was a pretty exciting year for us. We had some big changes, some traumatic experiences, many opportunities to see God provide for us, and many blessings. Here's a quick recap.

- I lost our 3rd baby on Justin's birthday - January 24. 
- My boss got a new job and the hours at my nanny job changed drastically.
- Justin took up running: he did a 15K in March and the 5/3rd Riverbank Run in May. 
- Lucy turned 2 and learned and grew sooooo much in one year!
- She also did a fair amount of puking. Haha.
- I found out I was pregnant with baby #4 on May 16 - 5 days after Lucy's birthday.
- I planted a garden for the first time (with my dad's help).
- We had an uncharacteristically hot summer and didn't harvest much. 
- My van died and my mom gave us hers for free!
- Justin's car had all kinds of trouble. We put a lot of money into it!
- I discovered and tried all kinds of new, wonderful recipes.
- Justin and I both had job changes. He took a new position at his company, and I left my nanny job after 6 years. 
- My baby sister got married! I hardly fit in my bridesmaid dress and Lucy was a scowling, adorable flower girl. 
- Lucy had her first ER visit after swallowing a penny.
- We found out we're having a girl on September 10!
- Justin and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and 10th dating anniversary!
- I went Black Friday shopping with my mom and Niki at 31 weeks pregnant. 
- Lucy and I did all kinds of fun crafts and activities thanks to Pinterest!

At the beginning of the year, I read a few great books (they're all linked on the right --->)
- Forgotten God by Francis Chan
- Trust in an Age of Arrogance by C. FitzSimons Allison
- Choosing to See by MaryBeth Chapman
- Radical by David Platt - not my favorite, but it sure made me think!

I also discovered Colleen Coble and read pretty much everything by her. 

2013 promises to hold a few changes of its own. Hopefully we'll be bringing a baby home around Justin's birthday this year, our living situation is likely going to change, and I can only imagine how much Lucy will grow and change again in this year! 

My only resolutions are to pay down some of our debt and read more. I started out reading so much at the beginning on 2012. I grow so much spiritually when I have those kinds of books to challenge me and make me think about what I believe. I've got to get back into that! I'd also like to lose a bunch of weight this year. Maybe within a couple months. Haha. ;-)
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