Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Interesting Stuff & Products I Recommend

So, want to know what kind of a treat I learned my 5-month loves??? Breast-milk popcicles. She's been acting like her gums need lots of touch/cold/pressure for a while now. And I've been excitingly awaiting her 6-month mark on July 19th so I can introduce foods. So I broke out her Kidco BabySteps Healthy Snack Feeder and Beaba Babycook to clean and find a place for in the kitchen. And then I remembered reading about being able to freeze breastmilk in the little freezer-tray. So on a whim, since I have started pumping every day now, I tried it. And she loved them!!! It was like a teething ring and nursing all in one fun toy for her! As an added bonus, since we sit her in her highchair at dinner time with us, I feel like she can participate as well, rather than just play with toys. Really fun for us!

Secondly, I read this today in an article, "Need yet one more reason to yuk it up (i.e. laugh, be merry, joke) in the first year (of baby's life)? It seems good-humored moms have elevated levels of melatonin in their breast milk, so their baby sleeps more soundly." While I didn't go trace down the source of that, I think it is cool if it's true.

We are all doing incredibly well here. J got back from his 78 day deployment in early June, thank goodness! Being away from him was and continues to be really hard, emotionally. Physically, with a 2-month-old baby, it was very hard those first two weeks. Then we settled into a routine and it actually got really good in terms of predictability, sleep scheduling, and knowing how our days would go. For example, I worked out every, every single night he was gone, with the exception of about 1 every two weeks. Now? I find it hard to at all, because I am too lazy to wake up early, and too unmotivated at night to be apart from him to workout. That will have to change, I must learn self-discipline again, while managine dinner, laundry, and time with him. So though it's harder in that respect, I would SO rather him home and me just learn to be a more desciplined person. I think that's something I'll be doing my whole life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is me, finally updating.

Yeah, I am one of those bloggers. Have my baby and disappear from the bloggie world. There are a lot of reasons for this.... Let me list them, in order of importance.

1. I remember how painful it was to read about the joys and trials of mommyhood when all I wanted was to be pregnant and have my own child, and yet I never knew if I'd get to experience that. I would still read some of you guys' pregnancy/baby posts, but never comment. I know, sounds selfish. Self-preservation is what I call it. And some of you may do that too. I wouldn't blame you. But the idea of my going on and on about something that you may click on for amusement and then just leave hurting in the end for the longing of what you may not have.... Well, I just didn't want to do that.

2. I have had probably the most amazingly easy babies ever. She has never had any colic, health issues, tantrums, you name it. She is just happy, alert, a great nurser, great scheduler, great sleeper, and just perfect. My little buddy, I call her. And some of you going through IF and then having babies, who may read my blog, may feel pain with my success at having a good baby. So I didn't want to cause hurt there either. (On a side note, no, she's not sleeping through the night!!!! I haven't wanted her to. I love my nighttime nursing sessions. She goes 3 hrs during the day between feedings, and 4-6 at night. I nurse at 12/1am and 5/6am. I'd love to drop the 5/6am one. But I want to keep my supply nice and full, and I also treasure out nighttime cuddles and how drowsily she nurses. So don't measure my success as a parent by something I don't care about.)

3. Working 20 hours a week (with a desire to put in 30 hours a week), with a deployed husband, and a baby all to myself, working out my post-baby body daily (yay for Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and my stepper), a Bible study, church small group, and various friend get-togethers mid-week, and well there isn't much blogging time!

There you have it. And yet I feel like now I should at least post an update. Maybe I'll be better at this, maybe not. I am still subscribed to about 50 IF bloggers (and former IFers); I just don't comment anymore. Largely because I am too lazy to switch my usename back and forth between my personal google account and my IF one. How about some of you comment and tell me if you'd like to still read. I won't be offended if I don't get comments. Some things are just part of seasons of our lives... I'd resume this when we want to try IVF again, of course, maybe in 2010.

So, honestly this is how I feel about motherhood: If anyone had told me how utterly amazing and fun and wonderful it is, and I'd truly understood, I would have had an ever harder time waiting to be a momma. Motherhood fits me like a glove. I love every single minute of it. Really. Nursing has got to hands down be one of my very favorite, close, bonding, wonderful experiences. It took a while for me to truly adore it. The first few weeks I loved it, but with her nursing every two hours for an hour at a time, I had only about 45 minutes to do any task! So it was exhausting, even though rewarding. But Baby Girl is now on a 3-hour schedule, where she will Wake, Eat, Play for 1.5 hours, and then Nap for 1.5 hours. Repeat. All day. It suits us beautifully.

She went from taking an hour to eat, to 45 minutes, to 20 at around 9 weeks! I kept worrying she wasn't getting enough, because I guess I expected her to gradually get fast at eating. But I'd pump one side while she nursed, and I'd get 4oz every time in 10 minutes. So I knew she was getting around 6-8 oz if she ate at the rate I pumped. Plenty of good wet diapers and good skin elasticity as well, and weight gain, so again, proof she was well-fed!

I continually read about her development at what it should be, and what's coming up. She is always right on or slightly ahead. She loves being read to, and we go through all of her short books every day pretty much! I lie on the ground next to her, and hold it above my head so she can see the pictures. She loves this! She loves toys that dangle and shake and have bright reds and yellows. She does well for short periods of quiet time where I set her in a chair or swing just to watch me work in the kitchen or take a shower. In fact, every morning I wait to get my shower until she's up, so she gets 10-15 minutes of quiet time learning to sit and play by herself. Daily showers are not something I've ever missed since she was born, and I'm not ready to either! I have made it a priority.

She is however, very spoiled with all my attention. If I have someone over or have to put her in the car to drive to Atlanta, she will fuss and cry eventually because she is not getting face-to-face time with me. I have to be making eye contact with her. It's not good enough for her just to see me. I have to interact with her. Yes, I've created a firstborn with needs for my attention, but I love to lavish it on her, I don't know when she will have a sibling (whether via IVF or adoption), and so I'm willing to lavish lots of love and playtime on her. In fact, if she's awake, I try not to do much else, unless again I'm intentionally giving her the "quiet play time." I want her to learn that.

When she was firstborn, we pretty quickly implemented the 5 S's from Happiest Baby on the Block. They fit her to a T! She loves any kind of white noise (and now music, in the car, she loves), she adores being swaddled (I adore it too, so cute!), she likes the paci at times (it's a lifesaver when I've got 5 minutes to checkout at the grocery, but she's done. it'll buy me a little time!). I read in that book about the chart with how much newborn to 12 week old babies cry... Usually it was at least an hour a day. I felt shamelessly blessed, since she cried and still cries about 2-3 minutes a day. Less than 10 definitely. 10 if we've got a nap in the car or carseat if I was out running errands. Amazing.

I love carrying her in my whole-cloth wrap the best when I'm out at Wal-Mart or whatnot - she enjoys it so much as well! And my sling, if she's sleeping. She not as into that one now that she's bigger.

What else? Well, that's enough for now. Lots for you guys to read. And of course, here is the little princess!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Announcing Baby Girl!

As you probably guess by now... our beautiful baby daughter, Elyana, came into the world on Monday, January 19th at 4:05pm. It was after 35 hours of labor, but naturally (i.e. unmedicated), as I wanted!!! She weighed 7lb 13oz, 20 and 3/4 inches long!!!

My husband was amazing - I would not have continued on natural childbirth without his encouragement and clear-headedness at all the times I needed it! Here's a bit of a synopsis of her birth story.

My labor contractions started by waking me 5:30am on Sunday morning. I labored at home until about 8:30pm, when we headed to the hospital. There was never a "this is it" moment, or a surety we weren't going too early. But went we did. I was 4-5cm dialated, but with contractions 60-70 seconds long and ~3 minutes apart, so we did what we thought best. In retrospect it made the night very long and uncomfortable for J (at least at home he could have really slept in his own bed for a few hours!). I did not need heavy coaching during all that time, although he was coaching and helping me from the very beginning.

I was a classic "putterer" case, in Bradley-speak (I realized that myself, by Monday morning when I was only a 6-7cm dialated, and even told J that). My midwife had taken the weekend off entirely, and turned her cell phone off (I knew ahead of time she was doing it, but never really figured I'd go early). As it was, it did not matter because J was entirely what I needed. We had awesome nurses that were so so wonderful (another God-send), but they pretty much left us to labor ourselves as J had it well in control. By 12 I had the urge to push, and 12:50 started after the doctor came by and checked the baby and me (at this point, I let them break my water, since we thought it could hurry things up and I was tired of being in labor at this point). Let's just say after an hour and a half, the baby had moved further back! And the doctor started giving us a lecture on trying pitocin, possibly an epidural, and the moving to a c-section if those failed. He was ready to go and called me "failure to progress" (seroiously, after only 1 1/2 hours). J and I knew we should continue, as the baby had been doing awesome on the fetal monitor with every contraction. Let's just say, an hour and a half later, Elyana came into the world! Another doctor delieverd (which I was glad for) and it was amazing!

We are so so overwhelmed with this little girl. She is precious and so good and is just beautiful. She has stolen our hearts. Being a mommy is the most wonderful thing, I am loving it so much and treasuring every moment with her, even the sleepless nights. It is amazing how a child like this can erase the intense pain of the last three years. We stand in awe at what a precious gift she is.

Here are a few beautiful pictures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Baby Yet...

So, I'm 39 weeks today. No sign of when Baby Girl will make her grand entrance into the world. On Friday, I started having contractions. They were very different than Braxton Hicks! I'd always read that BH weren't painful, and I found that to be untrue. However, in light of hours of real contractions, I quickly realized the difference. BH are very uncomfortable and there is a lot of pressure, but it's not painful. Not truly anyway. Real contractions are obvious when they start (whereas my BH sort of dawns on me). Also, you have to concentrate or breathe or stop through a real contraction. BH you just sort of wait for the annoying sensation to go away. Anyway, I monitored them by writing the duration and length apart that they were for about 2 hours. They came between 4-7 minutes apart, and lasted from 25-35 seconds. I would have to concentrate through them, but could talk sometimes and I'd smile when they were done. If any of you have read the Bradley book on labor, you'll notice all these signs indicate I was still only in stage #1 of the emotional roadmap of labor (the 3 stages of labor are: Excitement, Seriousness, and Self-Doubt). At the time I didn't know where it was all leading, but by 11pm (they started near 11am) I went to bed, knowing I needed a good night's sleep anyway. By the next morning they were tapering off. I got out the Bradley book and re-read the chapter on labor out loud to my husband and it helped us immensely. We were able to identify where I was and where I never got. It should make next time much easier with this fresh in our minds after the real thing. I don't call this false labor, it's basically my body readying itself to get the baby out, but taking its time.

The good thing about all that too was that we finally got serious about really being ready! My bag and the baby's are all packed now, the car seat is ready to go, her clothes are all washed and ready to wear, we have newborn diapers at last (I had tons of size 1's from showers, but no newborn ones), and the room is ready (it's devoid of decorations on the wall, but everything functional is there)!

My appointment yesterday wasn't that great. I had a +3 protein level in my urine, but minimal swelling and my BP is its steady 100/60. So pre-eclampsia is something they're watching for (asking me to watch carefully for blurry vision, swelling of face/hands, headaches) and to monitor my BP over the next few days. I also went from measuring 36cm at 38 weeks to 35cm at 39 weeks. Not good. I'm always 2cm behind, but the baby's always been spot-on for gestational age. So they ordered an ultrasound for this Friday to check the baby's growth and amniotic fluid level. At first I freaked out and cried and worried (once I was in the privacy of my car), but now I'm just going to pray and not worry. The fact that they didn't make me do it right then and there shows me it can't be that urgent. (Right?) I know I'm small and maybe the baby just dropped more. She was at a minus 1 station last week.

Anyway, assuming I make it to Friday, I'll hopefully have some good news on the baby. At this point, I'd rather meet her in person than get an ultrasound. :)