Monday, July 9, 2012

London Claire is two weeks old

I started this blog post last week, and then blogspot just crashed when I tried to post it. This is what we call losing.

This week was a little bit easier to swallow. London helped mommy celebrate by sleeping for three hours over lunch yesterday - which meant I got to enjoy my first margarita in 10 months!

Another major milestone of the two-week mark is that I am officially back under my pre-pregnancy weight! Of course I've not been trying to lose weight - just the opposite, in fact; I've been eating nonstop to keep up with breastfeeding. It's difficult and sometimes incredibly frustrating, but I feel fortunate that, for the most part, it's working for both of us. L is growing fast and I am thrilled!

Ben went back to work, which has been hard but has gone better than expected. It definitely helped to have the mid-week break.

Here are some of my favorite photos of L from her second week. Apologies for the ones that are repeats from Facebook and Instagram but really, can you ever get enough of this doll?
Thursday 6/28
Early mornings with this little pumpkin
My favorite time of day
Friday 6/29: Tarik's Birthday
Wearing her party dress from Emily & Ireland
She's only taken the pacifier a handful of times
Saturday 7/30: L meets her GrandPadge
She slept through ice cream and dinner at Noodles & Co
GrandPadge was a huge fan
Sunday 7/1: First time at church!
This adorable dress belonged to Aunt Sissy as a baby
L slept through most of service and brunch
Monday 7/2: Mommy's first day at home alone with L
Daddy went back to work, which was very sad for both of us
We discovered the vibrating Pack 'n Play (Praise God!)
Tuesday 7/3: First Mommy-Baby Trip
I drove for the first time since she was born
We conquered Target, TJ Maxx and Buy Buy Baby
Wednesday 7/4: Happy Fourth of July and Happy Two Weeks, L
We had lunch with friends (including Evan Hughes, who is a doll!)
Mommy couldn't make it through fireworks, too sleepy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

London Claire: The Birth Story, Part 2

When we last left off, we were heading over to the hospital to have our baby. Conveniently, my doctor's office and the hospital are directly next to each other, so we had about five minutes to process what was happening and call our parents and my best friend Kelly (L's Godmother). My mom and Kelly both had a 4-5 hour drive ahead of them, so I told them to take their time and even wait until the morning to come since we were told that the baby wouldn't be here until sometime Wednesday afternoon.
We got settled in our room (240, I think) and met with the people who would eventually deliver our little girl - Labor & Delivery Nurse Vicki, and Dr. Trollip. We could not have been blessed with two better women to help us through this experience. Dr. Trollip started me on the pitocin around 7:30pm, as my water had been broken too long for any other treatment options. She assured me that pitocin makes contractions come on very quick and strong, having had two pitocin-induced labors herself, so she put in orders for painkillers and an epidural if / when I wanted them. She told us we'd have a long night and day ahead of us, and she didn't want to check my cervix again for fear of introducing bacteria (at this point, my water had been broken for more than 12 hours, so risk of infection was high).

Let me just take this opportunity to tell you, pitocin is no joke

As I mentioned, I'd had occasional contractions during the weekend before, including - what I felt like were - some pretty strong ones Friday night at dinner. They did not prepare me for these contractions. At. All. I was limited to my room because of the pitocin, which required constant fetal monitoring, but I changed positions as much as possible in bed, and utilized the birth ball some as well. By about 10:30, Ben and I were trying to play cards to take my mind off the pain, but I was vomiting with the contractions and it got to be too much. The painkiller (fentanyl) was just enough to make me drowsy, which meant I was being woken up with each contraction and was even more miserable. I remember saying to Vicki, through a few tears, "I don't think I can do this," and she immediately asked if I wanted the epidural. In all our conversations, Ben & I agreed that I would go as long as possible without pain medication or anesthesia, but that I was open to it if the pain was so intense that I was crying and/or vomiting. The biggest fear we had was that the epidural would thwart the progress of my labor, which Vicki told us is not a factor when the labor is pitocin-induced. So, somewhat reluctantly, I asked for the anesthesiologist to come administer the epidural.

And I can now genuinely question, Why do women do this without an epidural?!

I barely felt any pain while having a giant needle put in my back, which is more than a little weird to say, but I was so focused on staying completely still while fighting through the contractions. And within minutes, sweet relief was mine. Dr. Trollip checked me at this point (now about 11:00pm, Tuesday night) and said I had progressed to 3-4cm, 80% effaced, and told us to try to get 4-6 hours of rest because, again, we were going to have a long day ahead of us. Sleep alluded me (although I think Ben was able to get a little bit) but I was able to rest comfortably for a few hours. Then, sometime after 2am, I paged Vicki into the room because I was having intense pain and pressure in my tailbone with each contraction. Even after increasing the epidural, the pain continued to the point that I was nearly in tears again. Vicki checked my cervix to find that I was 8cm dilated and the baby was moving quickly through the birth canal. She told us we'd be parents "before breakfast" so we anticipated several more hours before our daughter would arrive. 

At 2:45, Vicki went to wake up Dr. Trollip and told me to push "if I felt the urge" and that London would be here within 1-3 hours, so Ben alerted our families and Kelly that they might want to head up to the hospital. 

I pushed once before Dr. Trollip arrived, and Vicki and Ben said they could see London's hair. When the doctor arrived, she said I should be able to deliver the baby in about 10 contractions. Four contractions and 14 minutes later, I watched as my sweet baby girl came from my body into this world.

I never thought I had any desire to see her actually be delivered, but Vicki - whom we both trusted very much at this point - told me I "did not want to miss this" and boy, am I ever glad. What a miracle; a sight I will never ever forget. The cord was wrapped around our sweet girl's neck (which apparently happens in as many as 10% of births) but as soon as they removed it, she let out one sweet cry and they immediately placed her on my chest. Color filled her tiny little body and she was quiet and alert, she latched on and breastfed within 30 minutes of her birth, and she obviously recognized my voice and Ben's immediately. All the while, we cried the sweetest tears over our little miracle, and fell in love with her as we fell in love with each other all over again. 
Our perfect, precious London Claire. Born Wednesday, June 20 2012 at 2:59am. Seven pounds, eight ounces, 20 inches long. 

I don't want to take away from the beauty of London's birth, but things got a little scary after this. They were unable to deliver my placenta completely, so I passed the baby off to Ben just in time to have Dr. Trollip *literally* elbow-deep inside me. Nurse Vicki had me take off all my jewelry to prep me for surgery just as the doctor was able to get the remaining placenta out. Again, so blessed with thorough doctors. And so blessed that I did not have to be taken up to the OR minutes after delivering our sweet girl. They treated me with antibiotics during my hospital stay and there should be no long-term effects. 

London has had absolutely no trouble breastfeeding, gained 9 ounces in three days, and has given us at least a 3-hour stretch of sleep (often times, two 3-hour stretches!) since day one. She has slept in her crib each night since we came home and is already starting to outgrow her newborn clothes. She is the joy of our lives and we couldn't be more grateful for her, and for the love we've received from family and friends to celebrate her arrival.

Monday, July 2, 2012

London Claire: The Birth Story, Part 1

This is probably going to take me awhile to finish, but the baby is quasi-napping in her pack 'n play so I might as well get started. We're approaching two weeks and it's about damn time I share the story of how this little angel came into the world. As I mentioned in a disclaimer early in my pregnancy, there's no such thing as TMI here, so if you're easily offended, now's your chance to just "X" on out of here. I mean, it's a birth story. It's beautiful and miraculous but it's also pretty gross in some parts.

As y'all know, I was ready to not be pregnant anymore. "Ready" is probably the understatement of the year, but whatever. I was more than a little anxious to meet our princess, and get her out of my belly. But, with some encouragement from mamas who had been in my shoes not too long ago, I had embraced the idea that I could easily go until 42 weeks and was trying to make the best of it. I very much did not want to be induced if I could avoid it (what is it they say, God laughs when you make plans?), mostly due to my immense fear of having a C-section. So Ben & I spent the weekend before my due date experimenting with all the "natural induction methods" that have been the subject of old wives' tales for decades. We walked around the mall, I got acupuncture, we ate spicy food, I got a pedicure, we had sex (if you've ever been 9 months pregnant, you know this resembles the efforts required of Olympic athletes). But aside from a few contractions here and there, L showed no signs of coming any time soon. And honestly, that was ok with me.

Fast forward to Tuesday, 6/19: My due date. I woke up at 6am to pee (a normal occurrence at this point) and felt a little more discharge than normal, but honestly didn't give it much thought. We headed to work, where I was the subject of stares that were somewhere between pity and shock. I noticed more-than-normal discharge throughout the morning and it had a pinkish tint, so I assumed I was losing my mucus plug. As I started to walk into an 11:00 meeting, I felt a small gush, excused myself to the restroom and decided that perhaps this was something worth checking with my doctor about. Even though they said I didn't need to come in any earlier than my previously scheduled 2:45 appointment, I didn't feel like I should be at work if something were to "go down" so I grabbed Ben out of a meeting and we stealthily headed home.

Since we had a few hours before the appointment, we decided to make the most of it by getting lunch and getting my nails done. After we got home, Ben mowed the lawn and I shaved my legs "just in case" today was the day. I was having mild contractions very sporadically so neither of us legitimately thought I was in labor - I remember telling Ben that it couldn't be, because I was too calm. But we grabbed the hospital bags - again "just in case" - and headed to the doctor's office. After nearly an hour of waiting, Dr. Segal (my favorite doctor of the practice) finally came back to see us, just in time for me to have left several large puddles on the examining table. He immediately saw the leaking and told us we were going to have a baby - oh my gosh, finally! My emotions were a mix of excitement and disbelief and nerves, until he tested the pH - not amniotic fluid. Then he did an internal exam - not dilated, not effaced, not in labor. My emotions were now a mix of disappointment and frustration, and still some disbelief. But praise God for a thorough doctor, who insisted on an ultrasound to check the baby's fluid levels - still normal, still not in labor. And then, for good measure, he asked if he could do one more internal exam, just to be sure. He again walked back in the room just in time to see another large puddle on the table, to which I exclaimed "SEE! I'm not crazy!", and this time, the test came back positive - it was, in fact, my water leaking and Dr. Segal told us yet again that we were going to have a baby. Only this time, I knew somehow it was real. Tears welled up in my eyes, and my husband & I headed over to Labor & Delivery to have a baby. be continued