Friday, August 31, 2012

Future Insomniac?

Oh sheesh.

I really hope my sweet daughter does not inherit her mama's sleep habits.

I've struggled with insomnia since 7th grade.

Legit insomnia.

Luckily, last year, we bought a Temperpedic mattress AND I got pregnant.

Both cured me of my terrible sleep issues.

When I watch my sweet baby love as she sleeps, I get a little nervous. (Yeah. Yeah. I know she's only 11 days old. And healthy sleep habits will eventually develop).

But the girl is a MOVER when she sleeps.

Day 2, I watched her roll from her back to her left side to her back to her right side.

And she often moves from being vertical in the crib to horizontal. (Even while very tightly swaddled.)

Oh. And she flails her arms and kicks like a maniac...while sleeping. But, she particularly loves to throw her hands up in the air.

Now. We have swaddled her since day one. And I have just come to accept...that I'm pretty sure she hates it. At least most of the time.

Because she does everything in her power to bust out of swaddles.

So last night, we took baby steps. I let her have 1 arm out. Then 2 arms after the next feeding.

She slept like the little babe she is.

I would just not swaddle her, but she rolls all over the place and I'm so nervous she's going to get an arm or a leg stuck, or get stuck on her belly or something.

So for now, we'll stick with the "partial swaddle".

Every day throws us a new learning curve.

At least she makes us laugh in the process.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To post, or not to post...

I have thought. And stewed. And brewed. And felt sad. And mad. Then guilty for feeling sad and mad.

So, I must post. To vent. I am not looking for comments. I truly just have to get this off my chest.

I don't like to post negative things on le blog. Who wants to look back at that? But this is real life. And sometimes, you just gotta be real.

Now. It takes a LOT for me to get offended. I may be sensitive, but you really have to get pretty personal to offend me.

But I have been deeply offended. And hurt. By others who will never know they upset me...and it was never their intention. They do not read this blog. 

And I have also sat and reflected and thought how I at times have made the same mistakes they did...and it makes me cringe to think that I may have hurt others by my words (even if unintentional) at one point or another.

I am VERY big on accepting others' differences. At least I really, really try. I don't like to push my views or beliefs on others. I REALLY try not to judge others' lifestyles/views/decisions/how to raise children/etc., but of course I do at times. We all do. It's something I must work on.

So what is all this about? 

The very personal decision I made to have a natural childbirth.

Now. I had made several references throughout my pregnancy that I was planning to have a natural childbirth. But I also explained that I did not like to share this decision with others for two reasons:

1). Because I got SO many unwanted opinions: "No drugs? HA!"(accompanied with a smirk that said, "yeah right".), "Oh honey, you'll get the epidural. Trust me", or "Don't be a martyr, Angela".

2). Because I did not want anyone to feel as though I thought OTHERS should have a natural childbirth as well. Again, this was a personal decision. For personal reasons. I in NO way look at other births and think mine was "better" because of my decision. Period. Every labor and delivery is completely different. And every labor and delivery has the same end result - a little miracle!

But I must say. Now that I've actually gone through the extreme emotional, mental, and physical intensity that comes with the decision for a natural birth, I am proud. And I SHOULD be proud.

Does this mean I go around updating my FB status or telling everyone who meets Lyla that, "HEY GUESS WHAT? I HAD A NATURAL CHILDBIRTH. NANNY NANNY BOO-BOO."

No. That's silly.

But if someone asks, I'll tell them. Proudly.

It was not easy. At all. I did not have an easy labor by any means. In fact, it was textbook average: 20 hours total, 13 hours of medically defined "active" or "hard" labor. So, when others find out I had a natural labor (not even from me), and their response is, "Yeah. Well her labor was short and easy" - that COMPLETELY undermines the hard work I put into it.  Or when someone's response is, "Well, her baby was only 7.7 lbs...", it cheapens the extreme amount of work I put into my decision.

It says that I was lucky.

Yes. Labor could have been far worse. And I realize that sometimes, interventions are required to protect mom and baby (or simply to make us more comfortable, which is important too!). And I realize bad things happen - unavoidable things. But, I worked HARD to prepare. I worked even harder and learned exactly what I could do to try to avoid any interventions. I worked hard prior to labor to actually have an easier labor. 

  • We took a 3-month Bradley Method course with homework every night. (90% of Bradley couples go through with a natural birth - even those with big babies, who have had C-Sections before, have a posterior baby, extra long labors, etc.)
  • We practiced positions, did mental and emotional exercises as a couple, and read, read, READ about natural childbirth. 
  • I tracked every single thing that I ate - I had to eat 100 grams of protein a day and a specific amount of greens, vitamin C, dairy, etc. 
  • I worked out Even the day I went into labor!
  • We practiced relaxation techniques to help prepare for the intensity of labor. This is DEFINITELY what helped. And this is a very learned technique. 
So. Let's just say you accomplished something you were very proud of. Something you worked VERY hard for. A marathon. A job promotion. Your first house. Something you worked for, trained for, put in effort for. 

And then I went and said, "Well easy for you because: you were born a runner/the boss favors you/you got lucky with your interest rate". Instead of realizing that you WORKED to reach that accomplishment. 

So. I did not just get lucky. I worked really, really hard throughout pregnancy and during labor to reach my goal. And, my body has bounced back AMAZINGLY. Not because i have good genes (well...maybe a little to do with genes), but because I worked my BUNS off. (Not to mention, I avoided McDonalds and Taco Bell, even when I wanted it.)

Phew. Ok. I feel better now. I really just needed to vent. Because I was nervous that if one more person made a snide comment, I might absolutely snap. And they wouldn't know where my crazy came from. 

Plus, this helps remind ME not to be so critical of others...simply to make myself feel better.  

Mmmk. Rant complete. Let's end this on a positive note. 

Breakfast on the patio with my FAVORITES:

P.S. Promise, promise this is not directed at readers at all! You all have been so encouraging, supportive, and really big SWEETHEARTS all around. Thank you SO much!!!! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week-in-Review: Your first week

Week 1: 08/19/12 - 08/25/12

It's crazy to think that today is actually your due date. August 29, 2012.

I'm so happy you arrived when you did though.

It gave us an extra 10 days with you. At least that's how I look at it.

Your first week was a busy one.

A bit busier than I could have ever anticipated.

So many visitors. All showing up to meet you and to support mommy and daddy. You really are loved so much by so many people, Lyla. And everyone keeps commenting on how beautiful they think you are.

I couldn't agree more.

Some more happenings in your first week:

Your first trip to the doctor. We love your pediatrician. She's wonderful. And she's so proud of you for being such a good eater! At 3 days old, you are only 2% below your birth weight (originally 7.7, down to 7.3, and now back up to 7.4). She said she's NEVER seen that. So keep it up!

We have since nicknamed you our little Chunkin. Because you LOVE to eat. ;)

You got to meet more family! Your Auntie Abi has taken a particular liking to you. She snuggled you all day long and didn't want to let you go. And Uncle Brad made you the cutest little hat I've ever seen. Made me tear up a little.

We gave you your first bath. You loved it much more at home than you did at the hospital. There's something about a naked baby and that sweet smell after a bath that makes me just want to I might. I really might.

Daddy has become absolutely smitten. You already have him wrapped around every.single.finger. I don't plan on ever telling you that. Although, it is completely obvious. He begs to have you all the time. His favorite is skin-to-skin time with you. Makes mommy melt. Daddy falls asleep with you in his arms all the time, although I'm not so sure why he is so tired... ;)

You are so alert and engaged. Especially after mealtimes. You love the world, and you love being awake. My favorite time with you is in the middle of the night. It's just you and me. Love.

We celebrated your one week birthday. We did this by spending time together as a family. Our little threesome. (Actually fivesome). We had a low key day. Busted out the Moby, which Daddy loved. And your umbilical cord fell off. You have the cutest belly button. (Mommy misses her cute belly button).

We loved our first week with you and can't wait for SO many more!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week-in-Review: Your first days

Wow. It's crazy to love someone you've only known for 9 days THIS much.

Our lives have completely turned upside down, Miss Lyla. And I truly love every.stinkin.minute of it.

It makes me a little teary-eyed that the first week is already over. It has been a roller coaster of emotions. I'm blaming it on mommy's hormones. I've already cried about you getting your heart broken over a boy and leaving for college. (True story).

But, we are absolutely head over heels for you. And I'm trying to savor every single second with you.

Some of the big moments of your first week included:

Your first day in this world. You had so many visitors at the hospital. I wish I had gotten more pictures, but I was sort of in a happy daze and completely forgot. But you are completely loved, kid. My doctor even came by for a visit on his lunch hour because he missed your debut into the world. He was actually SAD. He really wanted to be there. He could't get over how healthy and strong you were, and he was pretty proud of your momma for the whole natural labor thing. He got a little teary and wanted to take a picture like he does for every baby he delivers, even though he missed you by one day!

Your first day at home: We were so excited to take you home! You wore an outfit from GiGi and looked so darn cute. When we got home, Daddy introduced you to your big brother and sister. They weren't too sure about you at first. But now, they LOVE you and can't get enough of you. After you met your siblings, then, Mommy couldn't wait to try out her new chair. Accidentally fell asleep with you in my arms. No better feeling in the world. And when I woke up, your little arm had found it's way into my shirt. So sweet.

Time to get out! Mommy was really feeling the need to get out already. So on Day 2 of your little life, we decided to take you on your first walk. It felt so good for you to be in the sunshine...but we were sure not to give you too much. ;)

You had a BIG first couple of days, Miss Lyla. Part II soon to follow. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Birth Story

Ok. I have to warn you right now. Just a year ago, the following post written by someone else would have been quite revolting to me. However, our birth story is just too important to me not to share.

So, stop reading now if you do not want the gory details of birth. ;)

It's a long one. (And I've even shortened it as my"personal" birth story was 8 pages typed. YIKES.)

I went into this pregnancy hoping for a natural childbirth, which for me, meant that I wanted to deliver drug-free and with the least amount of interventions possible (meaning I wanted to try really hard to avoid being induced or delivering via c-section.) At first, delivering naturally was something I thought would be great, but I was also okay if it didn't happen. Then, we took a 12 week course called The Bradley Method, and I became fully committed half-way through the class. After learning the benefits and understanding that our bodies really were made for this, I became quite motivated and determined to make a natural birth happen. And both Gabe and I were very educated and very prepared by the time I went into labor. But overall, the most important thing for us was to deliver a healthy baby - no matter the method!

As of Tuesday last week, I had been checked at the doctor. Although I was dilated to 1 1/2-2 cm and 70% effaced, my doctor told me, "You are definitely not having your baby this week." I was still carrying way too high.

Friday, after completing my first week back to school, I lost my mucus plug. And people kept commenting on how I must have dropped overnight. Didn't think much of it.

Saturday morning (38 1/2 weeks pregnant), I woke up to my alarm around 7:00 a.m. Gabe was just getting off the night shift and going to bed. I went to my favorite exercise swim class. During swim, I had two pretty significant contractions. I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions the entire last half of my pregnancy, but these two were completely different. I had to stop what I was doing and sort of focus on them. Still didn't think much of it.

Felt pretty crampy and sick all morning, sort of flu-like. This made me a little concerned because in class we had learned how one major sign of early labor is feeling like you had the flu. But I ate breakfast. Got a phone call from one of my best friends in Atlanta. Had 3 contractions during this conversation. Laughed about it and told her, "How crazy if I go into labor today...but that's obviously not going to happen because I KNOW I'm having this baby late".

Things continued to be sporadic like this all early afternoon. A contraction here and a contraction there. Then 2:00 p.m. hit. Things started to get a bit more intense. Contractions were coming on stronger, and it finally crossed my mind that this really could be it. I remembered from class to continue on like any normal day during early labor. So, I decided to let Gabe sleep...because if I was in labor I was going to need him bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We had work to do.

So, to pass the time, I went to my parents. Within an hour, I'd had 5 contractions. Strong, intense, and I couldn't talk through them. But I could walk through them.

At this point, I was still in denial. I truly thought I was experiencing "false labor". I think I was freaked out because I'd had several friends who went to the hospital too early due to false labor. But my mom thought otherwise. She encouraged me to start timing contractions.

So although I began labor early Saturday morning, I consider around 3:00 to be when things got real. Labor was in full force. The contractions were painful, intense, and were following a pattern. I had one every 20 minutes. Then by 5:00, I decided to head home to wake my husband because I was at 10 minutes apart.

I woke Gabe up by saying, "Well, I'm pretty sure you're going to meet your daughter tonight." He groggily looked at me...and I'm not so sure he took me seriously. Contractions kept getting stronger and closer together. We had a birthday party that night, and I still got ready to go. I mean, if I was going to be in labor for a super long time, I figured I should have fun, right?


I decided last-minute we should just go get pizza. Like a last meal, just the two of us. But we made it about 1/2 block down the neighborhood street and I yelled at Gabe to STOP THE CAR. I contracted. Then, I looked at him and told him there was no way we were going to get pizza. So he dropped me back of at home and went and picked one up. I scarfed down 3 pieces in between contractions.

By 7:00 p.m., I hit the "serious" emotional signpost (Bradley Method term meaning you are heading into active labor). My contractions were now anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart. Very painful. Some absolutely intolerable. I was rating them between a 6 and a 9 on the pain scale. But Gabe helped me relax through them. We spent about an hour in our living room. Right on a chair with pillows. He was timing with his iphone and recording in a little black notebook. I asked him if he thought I was having false labor, and he just looked at me and said, "Well, you're not due for another week and a half, so let's just wait this out." Thanks for the support, babe.

I told him if this was false labor, then I wasn't doing "real labor".  Just wouldn't happen.

An hour passed. Now, I was contracting anywhere from 1-3 minutes apart. We moved throughout the house. We tried to go for a walk, but couldn't make it out the door. We spent much of this time "dancing" (where we both stand and I lean on Gabe to contract). I got on the exercise ball. I got on my hands and knees on our bed and on the floor. Nothing felt good at this point.

Another hour passed. Some of my contractions were right on top of each other - no break in between. We debated whether to go to the hospital. You are typically supposed to go if you've contracted for an hour straight every 3-5 minutes. This had been going on over 2 hours now.

Gabe decided to call Wendy, our Bradley instructor, just to pick her brain. She coached me through 2 consecutive contractions. She told Gabe this was definitely NOT false labor. This was it! She advised us to try the bathtub, but if this pattern continued for another 30 minutes, we needed to head to the hospital asap.

I got in the tub. It felt amazing in between contractions. But that was only 1 minute reprieve at this point. Actual contractions were unbearable. So, we decided to go to the hospital. Gabe ran around the house like a mad man...because he hadn't packed his hospital bag like I'd been telling him to do for weeks. But he had to stop what he was doing about every minute to come and help me contract. I'm sure it was quite the sight to see.

As he loaded stuff in the car, I contracted on my hands and the front seat. He ran back inside to grab a few more things. Later, we would find out, in the chaos of everything, he left my purse on the front porch. All.night.long.

I contracted 7 times in the car on the 12 minute car ride. Not fun at all. Then, while waiting to be checked in (even though I had filled out the pre-admission paperwork), I contracted 4 or 5 times. I even went to the hospital bathroom to just keep moving. I ended up contracting on my hands and knees...on a public bathroom floor. Ugh.

We got to our room. Right in the middle of the nurse change-over. This was the biggest blessing ever because we ended up with Nettie. Most amazing nurse of all time. She was so supportive all night. It was about 10:15 p.m. She checked me. She yelled, "You're a 6, Girl!" We fully believe that at this moment, the hospital staff knew I meant business and completely respected our wishes for a natural birth.

My mom arrived and was the best little delivery/support person ever. She provided water and ice chips for me. She would rub my leg from time to time and tell me "you're almost there", but I would ask her not to talk or touch me. Sorry mom! :( And I know, even though Gabe was doing the coaching, my mom was standing there praying her heart out for her own baby who was in desperate pain.

After about one hour, I felt like I was starting to lose my mind. But I was dilated to a 7, which meant I was progressing.  I really believe I was progressing because I was able to "relax" through contractions. It's amazing what the whole relaxation technique can do. Nettie the nurse told me that even during my strongest contractions, my blood pressure was lower than she'd seen and sometimes she couldn't even tell I was in pain...even though the monitor was jumping off the scale. I assured her I was absolutely in pain, just trying to relax through it.

It's funny. We brought our "bag of tricks" to help us get through labor: rolling pin, tennis balls, towels, for massages, etc. and we never used one. At one point, I asked Gabe to turn on some music, he did. And I immediately told him to turn it off. We stuck to two positions pretty much all night: me sitting on the edge of the bed with my hands on Gabe's thighs (who sat directly across from me), and then switching places with him to be in a chair and he on the edge of the bed. The thought of lying on my back (which is how most people labor) made me want to die. The only times I had to lie on my back is when they had to check me. And it was by far the most excruciating part of labor. I would get up immediately when they were done. I HATED being on my back.

Then the resident came in to check me. Still a dang 7. And my bag of waters was "bulging" and completely intact. My heart sank. I grabbed Gabe's face and told him I wanted an epidural. Yep. I said it. More than once. But he and my mom reminded me that is not what I wanted and that I was almost there. So, I pushed through it. And an hour later, I was an 8!!!

This is when things got really dark and grim for me. (However, this is a sign that you're almost there!) I began to completely lose control of my body. I was shaking uncontrollably, and I felt the desperate urge to push and/or go to the bathroom. Nettie wouldn't even let me go to the bathroom on the toilet for fear I would push out a baby. The problem? I still had 2 cm to go, and she kept telling me, "Angela, you CANNOT push". Little did I know I was in the transition phase of labor (by FAR the worst, most awful part for me). I swore I would not yell or make weird noises while laboring. HA! I had absolutely no control. Some contractions forced me to scream, push (against Nettie's and the resident's orders), and groan so loudly. One time, I contracted so hard, I fell out of the chair onto the floor. During contractions, I can remember apologizing to everyone in the room for "being so dramatic." The residents all kept saying, "Are you kidding me? We NEVER see this. You are doing amazing." But I still felt so embarrassed for all my noise.

This continued for what seemed like an eternity (3 hours in reality). And I later found out that this is unusual as an average transition time is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. My body kept pushing, and the doctors did everything they could to make me not push. Sorry. No control there. After what seemed like days later, the resident came in to check me. I heard him say something about being "AC" - Almost Complete. This means that I was a 9 1/2. One half cm to go...are you kidding me? I told him to just stretch my cervix to get to a 10. He smiled and said he couldn't do that.

I think at this point I told everyone I was done. I just wasn't doing this anymore, and I'm leaving! But Gabe and mom cheered me on and reminded me the baby was almost here. Everyone said I was doing such a good job, but I kept telling them I wasn't doing a good job. At the time, I felt like everyone was just saying I was almost there just to make me feel better. But I really was almost there.

I somehow made it through transition. And I was finally a 10. Ready to ACTUALLY push. I did this with my mom and Gabe holding my legs up to my chest during contractions while I pushed. I pushed HARD for an hour. I have to admit. I thought this would be the "I'm in the clear" part. I had focused so much on the first part of labor, I was totally not prepared for how hard pushing was.

At one point, the resident said, "She has a FULL head of hair". I got so excited - "So, you can see the head?" He told me yes. I told him he was lying. He told me to feel it. I got scared to feel anything. But he encouraged me to, and I felt my baby's head. And that's all I needed. I pushed with all my might. And my water FINALLY broke.

But the look on the doctor's faces told me this wasn't a good thing. My baby had a bowel movement. This can be very dangerous. So, they told me I would not be able to do skin-to-skin immediately (this was my #1 on my birth plan). I began to cry. Gabe and mom encouraged me this was the best thing. To make sure baby was safe. So, I kept pushing.

After an hour, the doctor told Gabe that baby's head was too big and I was about to have a really bad tear. So, I got an episiotomy. Something I did not want to do. However, now, I am SO happy with that decision.

After the episiotomy and a few intense pushes that made me feel like I was going to explode, there she was. Our baby. Our sweet little angel.

To be honest, I was so exhausted. So relieved. I had given every ounce of myself. And I just remember being amazed the baby was out. And that we created her. But then they took her away. And I just watched from my bed. Exhausted and emotional. I didn't even realize (which turned out to be a good thing), that the umbilical chord was wrapped around baby. Another reason why they had to take her from me.

After about 2 minutes of checking her out, they brought her to me. And we did skin-to-skin for one hour. She immediately crawled (literally) to my breast to nurse. It was amazing. I was in awe of her. And I never wanted to let her go. So I didn't. This hour was so peaceful and calm and intimate. I truly felt like I was in a dream. And then they transferred us to my recovery room. Baby girl didn't sleep for 12 hours. She was so alert, so with it. She couldn't wait to explore the new world around her.

I will probably never, ever experience something as mentally, physically, and emotionally trying as natural childbirth. Ever. So, now that it has been 5 days, and I've had time to process...would I do it all over again? Absolutely. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. And yes, I will try to do it with Baby # 2. It was a beautiful experience, and I am SO happy I did it. And what I experienced with Gabe is something unexplainable. The teamwork, determination, and encouragement bonded us in a way that can never be broken. And now we have a perfectly healthy and beautiful baby girl that is part of US. And I'm not gonna lie. I feel like a champion. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My how things change

So...I had my first week of school last week.

I went from this (first day of school):

to this (four days later): 

Lyla Isabell Green. 
Born 08/19/12 at 4:20 a.m. 7.7 pounds and 19 inches long.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Le Nursery

Wait. I'm having a baby?

No. Seriously. I have been so CONSUMED with the first week of school that I seriously forget I should be focused on bringing our little lady into the world.

It's funny. Three teachers yesterday came into my room after school to say how exhausted/how much their feet and backs hurt after the first day. And I'm pretty sure every one of my teacher friends posted on FB that they were going to bed by 8:00 because they were so exhausted.

Then they realized they were preaching to a pretty large choir. ;)

I'm not kidding. Teaching is THE most exhausting job I've ever had. You are on-the-go for a consecutive 7 hours. With of course a 15 minute lunch break in there! No down time whatsoever. I usually pee twice a day! Not exactly conducive to being 9 and a half months preggo.

But I seriously LOVE it. I have the best class ever. I have an awesome para. And I'm so excited to be back in the grind of things.

Hence why I haven't had much time to think about le babe.

And how she could arrive at any moment.

But let's be honest. I'm kind of glad I'm so busy so I can keep my mind busy. And keep myself from going crazy. I feel fine. I'm sleeping through the night. And even though I'm dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced, the girl is SO high. I'm not letting myself get caught up on my August 29th due date. I'm just telling myself she is coming late.

I think Labor Day would be appropriate.

And in the midst of my crazy current life state, I realized something today.

I STILL haven't shared nursery pics.


Honestly, the nursery was an ever-evolving labor of love. I had the hardest time focusing on what I wanted: a theme or no theme? lots of color or neutral? classic or shabby chic? Too many choices!

So in the end, we just kind of started with one side of the room and ended up with something sweet, girly, and simple.

It's perfect for our baby Lyla.

My absolute favorite piece in the nursery: The changing table. We bought a dingy, old dresser on craigslist and then painted it an antique pink and replaced the knobs. Super easy...and exactly what I wanted.

Gabe's sweet bookshelves. He did such an awesome job. Love, love, love them. And, I'm OBSESSED with our daughter's current library situation. The girl's going to love reading as much as I do...I just KNOW it!

We needed a lamp. Couldn't find one I liked for the life of me. So, I bought a cheap, basic, white lamp at Target. Went to Hobby Lobby for some fun materials and paint. Love how it turned out. :)

I may be a teacher, but I'm definitely not crafty. But I'm pretty happy with how my "L" and elephant painting turned out. Oh, and I found an old ceramic elephant in our basement and spray painted it white. Currently loving elephants.

The closet is finally organized. Sad and quite surprised at how little clothes she has. :( I realized mama needs to do some SHOPPING!!!

So there you have it. The nursery. It's pretty much the new family hang out spot. And Lyla isn't even here yet...