Monday, November 28, 2005

McKenna has won

I finally let her sleep in bed with me last night, and now I see what everyone is talking about. Except for her laying on my arm, I was comfortable and happy, she was comfortable and happy, and I actually got a decent amount of sleep last night.

But this is not going to be a regular event by any stretch. I still want to get her used to sleeping in her bassinette and eventually the crib. I don't want her to be one of those kids still sleeping with their parents at 8 years old! But for now, it's a great solution to calm her down. Even P admitted that she looked SO comfortable and happy snuggled with me. And I enjoyed being able to snuggle with her, rub her head and kiss her cheeks. She's such a cutie pie.

Not much else happening at the moment. I scrapbooked last night and now have fifteen pages completed, front and back. It's awesome!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Scrapbooking heaven

I'm in scrapbooking heaven.

Thanks to all the after Thanksgiving sales and coupons and everything in the paper, I have done quite a bit of adding to my scrapbook stash and have lots and lots of paper, cardstock, stickers, you name it! And it's going faster and faster as I get better and better at it. I now have eleven front and back pages completed, and at the rate I'm going, I will have all my pages done by the time I go back to work and THEN can concentrate on keeping up with McKenna and all of our other future events! I'm kind of bummed in a way that I wasn't more of a shutterbug over the years, but I guess it's working out to my advantage now because I'm able to complete pages quickly.

And oh, it's SO addicting. This reminds me so much of when I really seriously got into stitching several years ago and collecting fabric, books, threads, etcetera. New hobbies are SO much fun.

So far, I've completed our Cancun pictures in 1998, pictures from our New Hampshire trip in May, a few pictures from a trip to Lake Texoma that we made in 1997 (it was a day trip, so I only had a few pictures) and now I'm working on pictures from our honeymoon to Orlando in 1999, which I have a LOT of pictures of, so it's taking some time, but it's FUN time! I love this!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I got this idea from Shannon's blog, and thought it would be a cool thing to do in my own blog.

I am most thankful for the following:

-that my baby girl arrived in this world safe and is healthy
-that I didn't have any complications from childbirth and am recovering well
-that I didn't have to have a C-section
-that we (McK and me) are breast feeding like champions
-that my husband is chipping in and embracing fatherhood like a pro
-that my husband still finds me attractive even after watching a human being emerge from my body
-that I am fortunate enough to work for an employer that gives paid time off for maternity leave, even though it isn't paid for the entire time
-that I have an abundance of family both here in the Dallas area and elsewhere that love and support P and I and dote on McK

Things are going much better here. She doesn't love the Papasan AS much as she did the first day anymore, although it's still a good place for her to sleep, and we've realized that if we put her Boppy in the bassinette with a blanket over it (kind of like a nest) she will sleep in there (THANK YOU KARI!) so that's a relief as well. I actually feel like a human being today.

And...I've been able to scrapbook a little bit! Well, more than a little bit. All I've done since McKenna got here was go shopping, and finally I was able to sit down, organize my new stuff, and New Hampshire trip pictures are done from May! And these pages look fabulous. Oh, I'm so addicted. Next pictures up, my pregnancy pictures and shower pictures. I'm all ready to do those!

Today we are going over to my inlaws' house for Thanksgiving dinner (as usual) and I'm making yeast rolls, a coconut cream pie, an apple pie and a pecan pie, so today will be busy.

That's all from here. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My breakdown and the rescue

Okay, so I had my first REALLY bad day. P came home from work to find me running around in the backyard, naked, screaming at the neighbors in the alley and squirting them with breast milk.

Just kidding. Made you laugh though, right? That's what P said he was going to tell his coworkers happened yesterday, and it made ME laugh so hard this morning I told him I was going to write it in my blog.

The truth of what really happened though is that McKenna woke up at 7:30 am yesterday and would NOT go to all. I'm serious. Other than a few small naps here and there, she did not fall asleep for longer than ten minutes until about 7 pm when P got home from work.

And when he got home, he found us both in tears! Both from frustration and exhaustion. I hadn't slept much Sunday night either, so to have a day where I could NOT lay down and nap when she napped was just the last straw. I was doubting my sanity, my decision to procreate, and my abilities as a mother, and all I could hear ringing in my head was my mother saying, "I hope you have ten JUST LIKE YOU when you grow up."

But P saved the day. (I'm sure he's grinning right now reading this.) His solution was to immediately take McKenna into the other room and order me to go to sleep. I told him to wake me up for feedings, direction which he ignored and let me sleep for six hours, opting instead to give her the precious expressed milk that I was keeping in the refrigerator. Ah, that six hours of sleep was pure bliss. When I woke up, all was happy again and you know why?

THIS IS WHY!!!!!! The best baby invention EVER! And the best $50 I have spent YET!

Image hosted by

She LOVES this Baby Papasan. Not only did I get to sleep for those six hours, but when I took over the night shift, I was able to feed her AND put her down to sleep in it WITHOUT holding her in my arms. I woke up this morning able to feel my fingers again. It was heaven.

And today we had our longest outing yet today, just her and I! She had her two week check up with the pediatrician, then we were sent over to the hospital to have a newborn blood screen done. It was VERY weird to be there knowing that the last time I was there at admitting, I was pregnant. Then, since the drama of getting her first vaccination tired her out, I took her to the post office, Michael's and now we're home.

And I'm still alive! There's hope yet!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

McKenna's verdict on pumped milk

In three words, SHE LOVES IT.

I worked all day yesterday to produce milk for her to take over to my friend's house last night...every pumping yields more milk than the time before. In three pumpings, I managed to produce two ounces. So last night, I stuck it in my diaper bag, and as soon as she woke up, my friend gave it to her (since I've been unsuccessful so far at feeding her from a bottle...I think it's my smell).

She drank it right down, no spitting up, no refusing, no questions.

I only wish I had been able to give her more...because two ounces clearly was NOT enough for her. Thirty minutes later, she wanted to nurse...and then again an hour later.

But at least now my fear about her not taking a bottle is gone. She just didn't like the Enfamil we were giving her and that's fine with me.

Last night was very pleasant, both going to my friend's house and sleeping, even though it entailed me sleeping again all night on the couch. It's all right though...we're working on it. And today, P is home and I feel a little more free to do some stuff! Right now I'm trying to catch up on my expense reports from work.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thank God it's Friday

First of all, thank you SO much for all the comments in my blog. It really helps to hear that what I'm going through is normal and that it won't last forever.

Last night was a little better...basically because I didn't waste time this time. She slept for about two hours in the bassinette, wouldn't go back down in it, I tried the car seat, didn't work, so I just grabbed my pillow and got comfortable on the couch. I got more sleep, she got more sleep, and I woke up this morning only looking slightly tired instead of looking like I had been hit by a stick in both eyes. I'm getting better at totally relaxing when I'm holding her and sleep is coming easier.

I will try some more of the suggestions that were offered, but she doesn't like being swaddled like a burrito. I don't know why. I have tried it a bunch of different ways, I've bought the swaddling blankets that have Velcro, and she just doesn't like it. She likes to have her arms free and keeps her hands by her face, and is quite a kicker (as I learned from her Mia Hamm-like kicks in utero to my ribs). I try to wrap her up as tight as I can, but it usually just makes her more upset.

But we're hanging in there. Today has been a very pleasant day so far...mostly consisting of me and her just lying on the couch all day, and that's just fine with me. P will be off work this weekend and I can get some things done. I did give her another bath today and she's all pretty and sweet-smelling again. We're going to a friend's house for pizza tonight and I already have a cute footed-sleeper picked out to dress her in since the temps are dropping here.

I did start pumping last night and it's going well so far, although I'm not getting as much as I'd like just yet. I got a third of an ounce last night after I fed her and then an ounce this morning, and I'm going to pump again after I nurse her next. I'm getting the hang of it, even if I am only getting just enough to lighten a cup of espresso.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The battle of wills has begun

Ay carumba. What a day (and night).

Things started out pretty well last night...I went to bed around 11 while P watched McK for a few hours. When she woke up at 2:30 am, I got up and took back over while he went to bed.

With the exception of a few one-hour cat naps here and there, McK never went back to sleep until 4 pm this afternoon. I tried putting her down in her basinette several times and every time, she would just fuss ten minutes later.

I finally gave in this morning around 6:30 and just laid out on the couch with her in my wasn't terribly comfortable, but at least I was able to close my eyes for a few minutes.

Today, I tried everything. Swing. Warm bath. Letting her nurse at will (and I'm feeling it now). Putting a t-shirt of mine in with her. Turning up the womb sound on my sleep machine loud.

What finally worked was putting her in her carseat swaddled tight with the shirt I had been wearing all day wrapped around her lap so she could smell it. At first, she really cried, and as hard as it was, I did let her cry for a few minutes (I cried too) because I knew she was full and diaper was clean. After a few minutes, I went to her, rubbed her belly and talked to her, and rocked the carseat. The moment I touched her, she grabbed my hand with hers and just clung like she was drowning, and then fell dead asleep.

I said it before, and I'll say it again. Ay carumba. I was in tears all day. It's hard to know what's because of the baby blues and what's because of sheer exhaustion!

The fact that she absolutely is bonding SO tight with me absolutely warms my heart and makes me feel good in a way that nothing else can. I love it that she wants me to hold her all the time and feels so safe and comforted in my arms. If sleep was not a requirement for me to be a fully functional human being, I would hold her all the time. You can imagine just how tired I am right now. I did lay down and get a two hour nap while she was sleeping, only to be awoken by my boobs, but I feel like it just barely scratched the surface and I'm dreading the agony of tonight...fighting to stay awake. I'm even starting to DVR movies that are coming on throughout the day so I have something to watch in the middle of the night when this battle of wills resumes.

I'm going to start pumping tonight. I was going to wait, but my milk supply obviously is not a problem anymore and I don't think 48 hours is going to make a difference.

My Baby Papasan is supposed to be here soon, but with my luck, she'll hate it.

Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions...keep them coming. I'm trying everything at this point, and tonight I'm going to cozy up the bassinette with blankets and stuff to make it a little more snug and inviting for her. If that doesn't work, I guess she'll be sleeping in her car seat again!

The one thing that's helping is that my husband thinks that I'm being ultra-patient and ultra-caring with her...that's a quote from an email he sent me today. P, I'm glad you think that, because I feel like a true LOSER of a parent right now! I don't even know why!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

How can you not like the Pack and Play?

We bought a SUPER cool Pack and Play at's got a bassinette attachment, a changing table attachment, vibrates, plays music, plays outdoor sounds, has a's COOL and we have a quilted cover in there and McKenna's head positioner so she doesn't move around.

She doesn't like it. NOT AT ALL.

I don't understand this. Yes, I understand I'm her mommy and her first preference is to sleep ON me, bare skin to bare skin, and listen to me laugh hysterically at Meet the Fockers, whatever dumb ass talk show I happen to be watching, Nip Tuck, or Survivor, but at some point, I have to eat to keep up my milk production, sleep so I can be a good mommy with lots of smiles, and shower so I don't stink to high heaven.

She likes her swing, sort of, and we have a Baby Papasan coming, and she does like her car seat, and sleeping for this child is definitely not the problem. We've tried warming up the blankies a bit with a heating pad, and that seems to help a little bit.

I got some good suggestions already from Kari (thank you SO much!) who I have nominated as my go-to lady for ALL my parenting questions during the day, but if anyone else has any suggestions for how I can make this bassinette more appealing to this child, please, let me hear them. It's not an issue of getting her to milk is doing a great job of that all by itself.

Anyway, she's sleeping in there for the time being...I waited until she was COMPLETELY dead to the world before moving her to the bassinette so I could get a sitz bath and shower, and now I'm going to eat something and start some laundry, if I can even remember what laundry is clean and what's dirty. P's told me several times, but I can't seem to keep it straight!

Monday, November 14, 2005

My first experience breast feeding in public

Last night we had our first scare with McKenna...she started breathing fast again and we realized that she has kind of a phleghmy sound when she breathes. While I'm glad that there is so much information out there about SIDS, sometimes too much knowledge is a bad thing. P barely slept last night, he was so worried that she'd stop breathing.

So today, I took her in for our first outing out just us, to the pediatrician's office.

Overall it went great, although she really tested me, and I'm glad that she did. I've been scared about taking her out in public because I didn't know how I was going to handle it if she wanted to breast feed in public.

Fortunately, I live in a state that has laws protecting nursing mothers and giving us the right to breast feed in public and not relegating us to the bathroom. Don't get me wrong, I realize that not everyone wants to see me nursing her, but nursing in the bathroom!?!? How uncomfortable would THAT be to sit there for like thirty minutes in one of the stalls while I'm waiting for her to get full? It would be fine if all restrooms had couches, but they don't. The nice department stores at the mall do, but when I'm thinking about breast feeding while I'm out running errands, I'm picturing the average restroom at Target or Wal-Mart which is pretty pathetic...just enough for you to do your business and scoot.

So anyway, back to the story. P had bought me a privacy cape last week at Target for $6.99, and I really didn't know how I was going to use it, if at all. I tried it yesterday at my in-laws' house to get the hang of it, but it didn't quite work as well as I had hoped.

I realized today you must be in the presence of complete and utter strangers to make it work!

I woke her up right before we left to go to the doctor's office and by the time we got there, she was good and cranky. We sat down to wait to be called, and she starts to scream. I tried everything first...the bottle of formula I brought, her pacifier, holding her, rocking the car carrier, and she just wasn't having anything to do with it.

It was either nurse her in public or let the rest of the people in the waiting room be subjected to her screams of torture, including the girl that was painting a mural on the wall.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and do it! And I'm still alive! Albeit, I did get an EXTREMELY nasty look from this Middle Eastern guy sitting across from me...I chalked that up to a cultural thing and let it go.

So it's over, I did it and now I feel like I can go places with her and not be scared that she'll want to nurse! Yay!

Oh, and she's fine, by the said that I can stop supplementing now that she has gained three more ounces (three more ounces and she'll be back at her birth weight) and said that the fast breathing and the phleghmy breathing is probably a result of her swallowing fluids and that we shouldn't be alarmed since her lungs are totally clear. So that was a relief.

That was my day today! Total excitement. I nursed, read Beauty and the Beast to McKenna, did some laundry, took her to the pediatrician's office, and tonight I'm going to walk the dogs by myself.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I can't talk yet, but I have an attitude

That's the onesie that we put on McKenna today after she pooped on my brother-in-law's lap. QUITE comical and something I'm sure she'll be hearing about for years to come.

Things are still going well, although the beginning stages of cabin fever are starting to sink in. I always knew I was never cut out to be a stay at home mom, but I didn't expect that I'd start getting restless after only a week. It's kind of sad when the biggest event of your week is your friend's son's first birthday party, which I'm going to take McKenna to on Saturday. But I'm going to try to keep busy in between naps...I have a list of things to get accomplished this week around the house and I have a CD full of pictures to print out this week and start scrapping, so it'll be busy.

But first and foremost, tomorrow is my first day on my own with McKenna. P is going back to work. I know he doesn't want to...the last week with us at home as a family has been very idyllic and it's just a shame that we have to work!

Anyway, that's all from here for now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Frog Princess

Image hosted by

Okay, I could post a new picture of something cute my daughter has done, wore or whatever in my blog just about every day. I never get tired of looking at this child. She's just SO darn adorable, I can't stand it! This is a frog sleeper and stuffed animal we got from a friend at work.

And here's another one...with Katie protectively looking on...

Image hosted by

I don't really have much to report right now. Her jaundice is MUCH better and her pediatrician decided to wait on doing phototherapy since my milk came in the other day and we're actively supplementing. The next appointment after that day when her weight was 7 lbs, 15 oz, it jumped six ounces, which pleased her doctor immensely, so they want to just wait and see her at her next two week visit. We did switch to the powdered formula rather than the premade stuff since we can thin it out a bit more and it has cut down on the spitting up, which is great.

For now, I've discovered that the secret to me being able to hang tight with this mommy job is making darn sure that I don't get overtired and not even attempting to establish any kind of schedule. I've been really careful and diligent to make sure that I've been getting enough sleep and making sure to eat, and so far, it's paying off in spades. Our first outing on Thursday went great, and it was wonderful being able to do stuff for myself for a change. Yesterday, I went to bed at 10:30 and woke up at 10:30 am the next day...of course, I wasn't sleeping that ENTIRE time...I think I woke up four or five times for feedings...but the sleep that I did get when she was sleeping was wonderful. And I felt so good today, we've managed to get the house cleaned, take McKenna for a walk, make brownies for dinner at my father-in-law's house tomorrow, I finished thank you notes, and after she wakes up for her next feeding, we're going out to run some errands. I really feel like my old self, and it's a great feeling. It's amazing the little things that I'm treasuring. Such as...shaving my legs. Bending over to tie my shoes. Walking like a normal person with no waddle. Being able to eat plain grilled chicken and steak without gagging. Not craving ice cream and sweets 24-7 (which is something that went away almost immediately after birth). Being able to drink more than one glass of iced tea without feeling guilty. Being able to wear running shoes for a change and not my tired old beat-up flip flops. Sleeping on my back in bed. Being able to sit in the house with the air conditioner set at 75 degrees and not pouring sweat. Sleeping on my stomach in bed.

The only bad thing is that my carpal tunnel syndrome seems to have gotten worse instead of better. My hands and fingers hurt SO badly. My doctor told me to expect a lot of hand swelling for the next few weeks as the water retention drains away, but this is ridiculous. I can barely straighten out my fingers! So stitching, obviously, is out of the question, but we're going to get some pictures printed out this weekend so I can maybe try to scrapbook a little next week if I get some free time when she's sleeping.

So life is good. And I sure don't feel like I gave birth a week ago, that's for sure. I still am a little sore and my feet hurt a bit from all the swelling that they went through before she arrived, but it's not bad and overall, I feel really good. The only thing I've noticed is that apparently my hips have spread from the labor, because maternity pants that I was wearing the week I went into labor are now not fitting in ANY shape or form. It's just weird. I really hope it goes away, or I'm going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe for when I go back to work! (Anyone out there with experience in this, PLEASE tell me about your experience and encourage me that I won't be giving away my closet full of clothes?)

Now that the emails have slowed down a bit, I think I'll be able to start blogging more regularly, so keep tuned in...thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The first night...and I'm STILL in love with my daughter!

Last night I was chatting online with my best friend S and she was asking me I was nervous about the first night since it's usually the hardest.

I had thought the night before at the hospital when I had McK room in with me was the hardest night because I was on my own, no P to help out, and I was strong and didn't call the nurses for help.

Ha ha ha.

The entire first day went great. I nursed her on demand, she slept on and off, and it was great. But then she woke up at 2 am and would NOT go back to sleep or stop crying no matter what I tried. Changing diapers didn't work, she refused to nurse, walking her around the house didn't calm her down, nothing. We were freaking out. We checked her temperature to make sure she wasn't running a fever. I was tearing through my books looking for signs of colic. We could not figure out what was going on.

How many of you moms are reading this right now and thinking, "Yup, I remember those days"?

Finally after three hours around 5 am, I finally broke down and gave her an ounce of formula. It was a hard decision to make since I have been so adamant about breast feeding for so long and not supplementing, but when you are running on very VERY little sleep (two hours Monday night and about three at that point Tuesday night), you are much more loose and pliable. P is being this point, I think he's just doing whatever he can to keep his girls from crying. He was talking to my sister-in-law today on the phone when I was napping, and when I woke up he was telling me about the conversation that they had. Apparently G (sister-in-law) said something to the effect of, "Sometimes you just have to let her cry it out" to which I responded, "Let an INFANT cry it out?"

He said G was talking about me, not McKenna!

But the formula? Yeah, it was like giving an insomniac Ambien. McKenna was out cold about a minute after she drank that ounce down. AND she slept solid for three and a half hours after that. We had to call and reschedule our pediatrician appointment because we all overslept. And today has been heavenly now that we are supplementing. I was able to clean the kitchen, do some laundry, and I even got a three-hour nap this afternoon.

Our pediatrician's appointment went pretty well, although her jaundice is still's just more visible in the stark bright light of the doctor's office than it is in the dim comfortable light of my bedroom. And she's still losing weight. She's down from 8 lbs, 12 oz at her birth to 7 lbs, 15 oz. She's just hungry. So her doctor recommended that I breast-feed her on demand FIRST and then follow each feeding with an ounce or two of formula if she wants least, until her jaundice clears up, her bilireuben (whatever those are) count is normalized, and she regains some of her birth weight. My milk, while it IS coming in, is just not all the way there yet. They aren't watermelons like everyone keeps telling me they will be, but I can squirt milk, and that's kind of cool in a weird sort of mommy way.

But every time I nurse her, she's cuter and cuter and I'm falling more and more in love with this child. I love dressing her and holding her and I love how she curls her hand around my index finger when she's nursing. I love the sounds that she makes when she's having a dream. I love it (again, in a weird mommy way) when I'm changing her diaper and she's's kind of like wrestling a crocodile. I love the smell of her sweet skin and her hair. I love tickling her feet. I love holding her and looking at her eyelashes.

Does every mother just think that their child is SO perfect?

And every outfit I put on her is cuter than the last. I have so many clothes for her to wear, I actually get excited when she spits up on her onesie because it means I get to pick out something new for her to wear. Sick, isn't it?

We had our first walk today. We put her in the Chicco and took the dogs out around the neighborhood. She slept through the whole thing, so it's probably more appropriate that I enjoyed it more. It was FANTASTIC to be able to walk like a normal human being and to keep up with P for a change!!!! And the dogs were hilarious. They are so nervous in a good way around the baby. We keep encouraging them to smell her hair and stuff to get used to her, and they just get reminds me of how Katie acted at first when we brought Simon home, kind of like she's scared because she's so tiny and doesn't want to hurt her, but yet loves her to pieces and wants to be near her. It's a complicated emotion which I understand completely! When we were walking, I pushed the stroller in front of the dogs and P, and every time I'd get ahead, the dogs would pull P to catch up so they could be closer to us.

Tomorrow we have another follow-up appointment with our pediatrician, and then, if we are brave enough, we are going to venture out to go shopping at Target. Our ped said that as long as we don't let anyone touch her and keep her away from anyone that is sick, we are fine to go anywhere we want. I've just about mastered breast feeding in front of others by using a blanket to cover us up, so I think it'll be a success. Grandpa and Uncle M also have called about stopping by, so it looks like we might have some company.

Anyway, that's the scoop! Thanks again to everyone for all the wonderful comments...all your support and friendship means so much!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The arrival of Princess McKenna

Well, some of you have already heard on various boards that my labor from Friday night WAS true labor and I had my daughter on Saturday. Here's the story and pictures!

My milk came in tonight, so I've been alternately feeding my daughter tonight and pulling photographs off my digital camera. I delivered McKenna Lauren Saturday night at 5:25 pm. She was 8 lbs, 12 oz, and 21 inches long. She swallowed some liquid on the exit, so her pediatrician opted to keep her at the hospital one extra day. I was discharged yesterday, but the hospital was kind enough to let me move into a room down the hall at no charge so I could stay with her. Then, today we all came home together.

After I posted my last post on Friday, I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I showered, went for a walk, and scrapbooked. I got ALL my Cancun pages done and it was great. After I was done, I asked P to take me to Michael's and out to dinner since it was clear that my contractions were over and my water didn't break from my walk like I had hoped.

When we arrived at Michael's, things started to get interesting!

Almost as soon as I walked in the door, my contractions started up again. I had timed the contractions I had that morning and the day before, and none of them were closer really than about twelve to fifteen minutes apart with a few that were closer. These were different...they were a little more intense and a little closer. And I noticed that I was having a MUCH harder time walking around. We went out to dinner, and my belly felt SO big, I could barely reach my plate to eat. It was crazy. And the contractions kept on coming...quickening to about eight to ten minutes apart. I kept on doctor's office told me 3-5 minutes apart, so it wasn't labor. My husband on the other hand started to get excited and made me eat faster, saying that he was sure that I was having the baby over the weekend. He even took me to Target and bought new underwear and a button-down nightie for the hospital. And the contractions kept on going...still eight to ten minutes apart, but getting more and more intense. I finally went to bed about 2:30 am and took some Tylenol PM. At this point I still thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions, albeit PAINFUL ones, and thought that if they weren't the real thing, certainly Tylenol would take care of it.

I was SO wrong.

I woke up at 3:30 am in an incredible amount of pain. These abdominal cramps were enough to take my breath away. My husband was sleeping in the living room and said that he heard me gasping in pain all night. They were consistently fifteen minutes apart for the first two hours, but by 5 am, they had quickened to about ten minutes apart, but the INTENSITY was absolutely incredible. I've never had menstrual cramps like this. My miscarriage pains didn't even come close. It was unbelievable. I remember going out and telling my husband that if this was not the real thing, I was really in trouble!

Finally at 7 am, I couldn't take it anymore and called my doctor's office. They paged the on-call doctor since MY doctor is out of town until Wednesday. She called back immediately and told me the same thing that the nurse told me...that if the contractions were ten minutes apart, I was most likely NOT in labor, but that if I was that uncomfortable, I should go to Labor and Delivery, have them put me on the monitors and maybe they could give me something for the pain. She also stated that this was probably gearing up for the real thing, and that real labor could be as much as a week away.

Lesson #1 that I have learned through this: Not every woman's labor is the same and that if you feel in your gut that this is it, you should not disregard that feeling.

As soon as I hung up the phone with her, the contractions sped up to 2-4 minutes apart and were SO painful, I would double over in pain when I was walking around. I started packing the rest of my hospital bag, showered to go, and my husband drove me to the hospital. I had every anticipation that I would be told that I was not in labor and sent home.

The nurse that checked me told me that I was dilated to five centimeters and that I would indeed be having the baby today. They started me on a IV drip and put me on a pain killer called Staydol or something like that, and it DID take effect almost immediately and I was able to relax, although I could still feel every contraction. By the time we finished all the paperwork and got me settled in and ready to go, I was dilated to seven centimeters.

I was the only patient in Labor and Delivery at the time, and the nurses told me that they were paging an anesthesiologist to come in and administer the epidural if I wanted one. I really had every anticipation for this entire pregnancy of going natural, but I had those hopes obviously without knowing what this pain of labor felt like. It was also made pretty clear to me that it might be the last chance I had to get one, and all the nurses told me that since my water had not broken yet, the doctor would have to break it for me so I could dilate the rest of the way to ten and that once my water broke, the contractions would increase in intensity and frequency. The pain I felt between 3 and 7 that morning was so awful and I was so stressed and tired, I just gave in and let them give me an epidural. I did ask about having another dose of Staydol, but the nurses told me that they could only give me one more dose and that it probably wouldn't last for the entire rest of my labor or be as effective as the first dose had been.

And I am SO GLAD THAT I GOT THAT EPIDURAL!! I felt almost INSTANT relief and didn't feel any contractions for the rest of the afternoon. It was SO wonderful. My husband gave me my MP3 player, and I just laid back and relaxed the rest of the time. It was BY FAR the best decision that I made. Getting the epidural wasn't a piece of cake by any stretch, especially since by the time they gave it to me I could still feel every peak and fall of every contraction, but compared to the pain that I had felt earlier that morning at home before I even got to the hospital, it was a piece of cake.

My doctor came in and broke my water around 3 pm. I was dilated to eight centimeters. After that, my contractions slowed down and to quote my doctor, "my uterus just pooped out". The epidural was working very well, so they decided to put me on a Pitocin drip (another thing I didn't want originally) to stimulate the contractions. Two hours of that, and I was at a 10 and ready to start pushing.

At that point, one of the nurses came in (the one that was monitoring my epidural) and made one of THE best suggestions ever...he suggested that we turn down the epidural since I had planned to go natural and that way I would be able to feel the contractions on my own, control my own pushing, and most importantly, limit the recovery time after the birth. He told me that if something happened during the pushing, they could come in and administer an extra dose for the delivery.

My husband and one of the nurses helped me push. The nurse told me that most first-time mothers push an average of two hours. I did it in twenty-five minutes with no episiotomy, although I did tear just a little bit. At 5:25 pm, my daughter was born.

I had thought about how I would feel at that moment for months. I don't think anyone really accurately knows how they will react to it until they are going through it. I don't know whether or not it was sheer bliss and joy at seeing my tiny daughter and hearing her tiny cry for the first time or just relief that it was over and I wasn't pregnant anymore, but I couldn't stop crying and it was THE happiest moment of my life by far.

My recovery was very fast. I was up and walking within two hours of her birth. I was making phone calls to friends and family when I was in recovery waiting for my husband to come back from the nursery.

I had guests and visitors all day Sunday...the nurses called our room "the party room" because my visitors started at about 11 am Sunday and continued constantly ALL day until about 8:30 pm. I am really fortunate to have a lot of friends in the area and all of my in-laws to really made the day special and it was incredible!

So, that's the birth story! Thanks for letting me share it with you all! And without further ado, here is my daughter McKenna Lauren! I was really lucky that she is really good at breast-feeding...we have been able to pick it up fast and get a great rhythm going. Today before she was discharged, they said that she has some jaundice and has lost about 10% of her birth weight, and really were encouraging me to supplement with formula, which I didn't want to do and still don't want to do, and fortunately since my milk came in tonight, the jaundice has gone away (or at least has gotten better) and I don't think we'll have to supplement after all, which makes me HAPPY. And I am SO happy that I didn't have to have a C-section or induction, OR that she didn't make me wait two more weeks. It was the perfect weekend!

That's it! That's the story!!! :) Thanks again for all the great wishes and congratulations!

My daughter in her coming-home outfit:

Image hosted by

My daughter immediately after birth:

Image hosted by

My big girl! The ultrasound tech was only off by two ounces!

Image hosted by

McKenna in her Chicco...and not very happy about it:

Image hosted by

And McKenna in her Chicco after realizing how great riding in the car is...MUCH happier now:

Image hosted by

Our new family:

Image hosted by

The proud papa...and she is the spitting image of my husband when he was a baby:

Image hosted by

My daughter and I immediately after birth...and who is bawling harder? Can you tell?

Image hosted by

The delivery team! That's our nurse who really got me through the delivery. The doctor just was the catcher:

Image hosted by

And, a silly picture taken by my husband of me breast feeding for the scrapbook...I wasn't going to post it, but it's rather PG-rated, so here you go!

Image hosted by

And the dogs checking our the newest addition to the pack!

Image hosted by

So there you have it! Wish us lots of luck. So far at home, things are going great, especially now that my milk seems to have come in.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Contraction City

The contractions are continuing, but they just aren't close enough together yet, darn it.

They are varying from anywhere between thirty minutes apart to ten minutes apart to eight minutes apart. I did have a few minutes of excitement when I had a few that were four to five minutes apart, but then they slowed down again.

I called my doctor's office and they told me that they want me to wait to go to the hospital until they are three to five minutes apart consistently for an hour OR if my water breaks, which it hasn't done yet. I told them about some other things I'm seeing (too graphic for the blog) and they do seem to think based on what I told them that I'm in the early stages of labor, so this weekend could be it. Or, it could go on for another week until I'm induced. Either way, there's no way to know unless my water breaks or these contractions get more frequent!

I now have an answer of WHY my doctor did not schedule induction for later this week. I was informed when I called there this morning that she is out of town until Wednesday and so is her partner. They have a backup doctor that is on call. I know I have NO right to be mad because doctors have lives too, but darn it, I'm PISSED that I'm going to be delivered by a complete stranger if this weekend is it. At least the doctor that is their backup is the doctor that I was going to switch to if I "fired" mine, so I feel okay with that, I suppose. At this point, I'd be amenable to P delivering me, I want to have McK so bad!

Anyway. That's my status for now. I'm done with work and have nothing to do, so I'm going to shower, take a quick walk to see if maybe I can get my water to break on its own and then I'm going to come right back here and see if I can scrapbook for a while.

Tune in later.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Is this it? Is this not it?

Before everyone starts posting comments about how fake labor can happen, Braxton Hicks, blah blah blah, I am aware that my body goes through a long transition period to get ready for the big event. I've read the books.

But how do you know when it's really the real thing?

I've been having contractions on and off today since about 3:30 pm. Not with enough regularity to cause me to call the doctor, and not with enough intensity to make me double over in pain and cry for P to take me to the hospital, but they are uncomfortable and I'm just kind of sitting here thinking about how much they are bothering me. I've been timing them and they just aren't very frequent.

But what IS happening is that I feel like I'm about to start the rag any minute. I rather enjoyed NOT having that feeling for the last nine months, and I'm totally ready for the discomfort to start when it IS time, but how do I know? How do I really know?

I've got some other signs that labor is on the way, and I'll save them since they are graphic.

I don't relish running over to Labor and Delivery for them to put me on the monitors and then send me home, again, with McK still inside me and not in my arms. The nurses over there already think I'm a basketcase after the episode yesterday.

I finally gave in a little while ago and popped some Tylenol. I have a feeling this could be a long night.

And, possibly day tomorrow. I've worked my little tushie off this week getting ALL my stuff done JUST IN CASE, and now the end result is that I have nothing to do and only two hours left for tomorrow to log in for a full week. If I don't go into labor tonight, I'll be sitting on my bed tomorrow doing nothing but scrapbooking and watching movies.

I'm ready. P's ready. Both of our bosses are on standby. All the clothes are washed. My bags are packed. The champagne and sparkling apple cider are chilling. Come on, McKenna, let's GO already!

Can you tell I'm not a patient person? This would have been SO much easier had the ultrasound tech not told me on Tuesday how big she was going to be and that her lungs were fully mature.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Is biggish a word?

What another whirlwind day...very emotional.

I slept VERY badly last night. After dinner, I had really bad nausea and just did NOT feel right...and she was just moving all around and kicking me, squirming, etcetera. I took a nap and woke up around 1 am to eat a snack and go back to bed for real. All night long, my stomach gurgled and moved around and made noises, and then about 3:30, a doozy of a contraction woke me up out of a dead sleep. But it was the only one.

I woke up this morning SURE today was the day, but apparently not. I went to my doctor's appointment, waited for 45 minutes to see her, and for her to tell me that I am still 1 cm dilated (but a loose 1 cm) and 50% effaced, my blood pressure has gone down to a smooth 123/80, and there is no protein in my urine. However, the only cause for alarm was my baby who is "biggish" according to her (is biggish even a word?) and my platelet level in my blood which was low.

She sent me over to Labor and Delivery to be put on the monitor and have bloodwork done, with the instructions that they would call her, and she would make the decision whether or not I would deliver today. I thought that it would be a very short visit, but I was there for three hours while she "thought about it". Finally she sent me home with strict bedrest orders and an induction date of November 10 at 6 am. And the hospital took my blood pressure at a very nice 106/60, so obviously the bedrest is doing what they want it ankles and feet haven't looked this slender since I got pregnant.

So that's the scoop. McKenna is coming soon. Just not as soon as I would have liked. It was quite a disappointment, I admit...especially since she really gave me the idea on Monday that this week might be the week...and then again today that today might be the day. But she's been served her eviction notice...and I'll be seeing what I can do to make her want to enter the world a little early.

The good thing is that my office is being SO AWESOME about it all. If they wanted to be total jerks, they really could make me start taking my sick time now, but nope, they are going to let me work from home on my bed so I can save my sick time for when my daughter is here. I am SO grateful to them. They really have no idea. I'm going to come back in January with the best attitude they have ever seen as a thank you to them for being SO nice about all of this. I will never call my boss K a bad name ever again.

So, I've got seven full days left. One week before I'm a mom, if not less. I plan on spending it resting, watching television, scrapbooking, working, folding baby clothes, and on here on the internet.

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for all the good thoughts and well wishes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's a girl...a BIG GIRL!

My ultrasound went great today. I'm definitely having a doubt about it. She had her legs wide open. The pictures didn't come out really good, so I'm not even going to bother scanning them and posting them. She's just too big right now to see any details...other than the hamburger, of course. *grin* And that's all I wanted to see anyway! They can also tell that she's got some hair, so it'll be interesting to see what color it is.

But they are predicting that she is going to be VERY big. I know that ultrasounds aren't the most accurate, and the tech even said it would depend on whether or not she was a chubby girl or very dense and muscular, but she predicted 8 lbs, 14 oz, give or take a pound.

And she said that she hoped she was WAY off.

Based on that, I'm going to agree to let my doctor induce labor if that's her recommendation. I'll update you all tomorrow after my next appointment.

As for me, I feel pretty darn good. My feet and ankles are the slimmest they have been in months and I slept great last night. I see now why they put me on bed rest.

More tomorrow! I'm going to get busy cutting tags off clothes and washing them to get ready.