Monday, December 16, 2013

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Miss My Bump

This post semi-kills me to write. When I was pregnant, I just wanted to be done. For a lot of reasons, but there were two big ones. The first, I am horrible at being the slightest bit uncomfortable, which meant the first trimester was hell due to my body adjusting to it's new occupant and the third trimester was not fun either due to the bowling ball growing in my belly and putting pressure on all of my organs.

The second - and bigger of the two - I just wanted to fast forward and have Henrik HERE and safe. I've said it many times - I would give anything to be 22 and clueless on how life works. Unfortunately, I know bad things can happen and just because you're pregnant, does not guarantee you a baby. I am generally just a worry-wart and every time Henrik would go more than 10 minutes without kicking, I would start to panic. Of course, it always turned out fine and now that he is here, I worry about new things.
So now that I'm not pregnant, it kills me to admit that I miss it a little. I was looking back at my belly pictures today and was feeling a little nostalgic. I look at each picture and recall the events going on around each week. From how excited I was when the tiniest pouch started to form to when there was an actual bump to when I was unmistakably pregnant, each picture shows my baby boy growing and gaining strength. I wasn't the best at taking pictures each week, but I am so glad I took them on a semi-regular basis. Even though I was miserable in 2/3 of the pictures, they already remind me of how incredibly HAPPY Bryan and I were to finally be expecting our first child.

The thing I miss the most is feeling his movements. It's amazing to see him moving in front of my eyes, but every once in awhile I'll catch myself waiting for the next kick to come from within me. I also miss my bump for silly reasons - like, being able to balance my drink on top of it and not worrying if my gut was sticking out or not.

For as short of a time as my bump was apart of me, it's amazing how fast I got used to it. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I could not turn a shopping car around in the middle of an aisle without moving out of the way of it. The other day, I went to turn a car around and found myself stepping to the side before I realized, I was skinny again and no longer needed to move out of the way. For 30 years I did not have to move for it and the two months in which my belly was too big, I trained myself to step out of the way. It just goes to show how aware of your belly you are 24/7 when you're pregnant.

There are a lot of things you cannot fully appreciate until you're able to look back. I now know how incredibly special your first pregnancy is. While all pregnancies are special, with the first one, everything is new and exciting. When people find out this is your first, they give you an extra special smile and that knowing nod as if to say "you're about to find out what everyone is talking about". The first one means baby showers and shopping for all things baby for the first time. Researching everything from diaper cream to strollers to baby furniture.
While we are definitely not ready to start trying for number two yet, it does make me smile to know that I will get to experience this at least one more time. Maybe even two more times (wink, wink). I know the second time around will be just as special, but in a different way. And judging by how fast time seems to go now that we have a baby, the time will be here before I know it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Little Man: Two Months Old

Another month is in the books for our little man and as the pictures will show - he's growing like a weed! I hadn't looked back at his one month picture since we took it until today, and when it's right next to his two month picture, you can really see how much he's changed in a month!

We were told by our doctors that since he was so early, once he hit his due date, we would see a major change in his sleeping. As in, he wouldn't be sleeping for six hour stretches and would be acting like more of baby. Boy did we ever! He is awake anywhere from six to ten hours a day now, depending on the day. There has been a day here and there where we've been able to get four to five hour stretches out of him at night, but mostly it's still three hour stretches.

We also made it through Bryan's first overnight business trip since Henrik's arrival. I should say overnights - as in an entire week. Yeah, we didn't even attempt that by ourselves, I packed up Henrik, the two dogs and myself and moved in with my parents for the week. Kudos to all you single parents out there - I have NO clue how you do it! Bryan has another trip next week, but that one is only a one-nighter, so we'll be doing that one solo (but with dinner at my parent's house.)

We also survived Henrik's two-month appointment which included FIVE shots! (Normally, there are only three shots as certain vaccines are mixed. However, there is a nation-wide shortage on some vaccines right now, so little man got five pokes.) We learned during this that our son has got a set of LUNGS on him and can deliver some very high-pitched screams. Good to know the lungs are in good shape.

Weight: He weighed in at 11 pounds, 8 ounces at his two month, which puts him in the 28th percentile - definitely following in mommy and daddy's footsteps of being a string bean!

Height: 23.5" - 66th percentile

Clothing Size: Officially retired the newborn outfits this month and is in 3 months. Sleepers and rompers with legs are in the 3 month size are actually a little short on him, but onesies and things with waists are a little big. I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing battle for awhile. 

Favorites: LOVES being on his back, whether it's in the pack 'n play, crib or floor, he really likes to stretch out. He also does pretty good at tummy-time, but I wouldn't say it's a favorite. He's still a big fan of the Rock 'n Play and now likes the swing again, as long as it's going back and forth and not side to side. No longer a fan of the bouncer - at all. 

Oh - then there is his friend the ceiling fan. Those two are pretty tight. 

Milestones: As I mentioned above, first shots. He also had his first smile around five weeks and now give them regularly. He is holding his head up a lot better and making lots of eye-contact and focusing in on things. He is also coo-ing at us and moves his mouth a lot like he's going to talk. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Power Smoothie for Breast Feeding Mamas

I posted my go-to smoothie recipe a long time ago, but wanted to post an updated recipe. Now that it has been seven weeks since Henrik's arrival, I am focusing in on losing the baby weight. Back after I got out of college, I followed Weight Watchers to shed some beer and pizza weight, and it was pretty easy to follow. So I decided to follow it again to get these last ten pounds off. Additionally, I am very conscious about what I am eating, making sure I am getting enough of the right food groups to both keep my energy up and keep Henrik full of the right nutrients. This recipe is 7 PointsPlus and also contains a serving of dairy, two servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit. That's FIVE servings of fruits and vegetables before you even leave the house. Plus, it keeps me very full - I can barely finish it and I don't need anything else until lunch.

This recipe contains oatmeal, which is good for milk supply when your breast feeding. If you're not breast feeding, you could cut out the oatmeal and the smoothie would only be 3 PointsPlus.

  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 1/4c milk/almond milk/water
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh berries (I buy the big bag of frozen Target brand berries)
  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 c vanilla greek yogurt (You can omit this and substitute a scoop of vanilla protein powder)
  • Hand full of ice
In a blender, put the spinach in as well as the milk or almond milk or water and blend. This will ensure you don't have any chunks of spinach in your smoothie. Add the rest of the ingredients, blend until smooth and enjoy! (I have figured out that my smoothie is smoother if I add everything one at a time and blend, but if I'm in a hurry, I shove it all in and blend.)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Must Have Baby Products for the First Month

When we were shopping for Henrik (prior to his arrival), I tried to keep everything in perspective and not buy every baby item imaginable. Being the shop-a-holic that I am, I think I succeeded and failed at the same time. (Is that possible?) We have a lot of baby items we haven't used yet as he is not big enough, but here is a list of things we found useful the first month.

{Please note, I am not getting paid or receiving anything for free - I really just like these products.}
  • Fisher Price Rock n Play: Henrik has actually been sleeping in this since we brought him home. I have been trying to figure out why he likes it so much, I think it's because it creates this cozy pocket for him and combined with a swaddle, he sleeps like, well, a baby (in three to four hour increments). This picture doesn't do it a lot of justice (except for the cute little boy sleeping in it), but it is currently in our bedroom where little man is napping and you never do anything that might wake a sleeping baby.
  • Graco DuetSoothe Swing & Rocker: For some reason, when registering for a swing, I was really stressed about it and did a ton of research. We settled on this swing and have been very happy with it. You can switch which way it swings (back and forth or side to side), it has a vibrate function and you can take the seat off and it turns into a rocker that you can take anywhere in your house. I also like that it plugs in so we don't have to rely on batteries. Henrik has really responded well to the vibrate function and so it's been nice we can take the seat anywhere in the house with us. My one complaint is the vibrate function is rather loud, thus the yellow vice grip my husband implemented to quiet it. 
  • Aden and Anais blankets: I big-fat-puffy heart these blankets. They're light weight, warm and don't take up much space in the diaper bag. Plus, they come in some really stinkin cute prints!
  • Boon Lawn: One of my friends told me to get the Boon Lawn vs. the Boon Grass and I am really glad I took her advice. It's larger than the grass, which has been nice for putting bottles on. I also love the twig and flower attachments for holding lids and nipples - even my husband said this thing was the "coolest thing he's ever seen". 
  • Carter's Clothes: I have found I am partial to anything Carter's for our little guy. Their clothes are so soft and cute, I find myself reaching for those outfits the most. 
  • Halo Sleep Sack : I never even attempted to learn to swaddle with an actual blanket. Instead we have been using Halo sleep sacks and love them. We put him in a long sleeve half onesie and then swaddle him up in the sack and he does really well. I love that it has an inverted zipper (zips down, rather than up). This combined with a half onesie makes 3 am diaper changes a lot more manageable. So far I have accumulated four of these sleep sacks - two newborn (which he is almost too long for) and two smalls (which should last him awhile longer.)
  • California Baby bath products: Bath products were something else I stressed about. I wanted something that smelled good that was good for his skin. I started with Johnson & Johnson (despite all their recent negative press), but his skin was super dry and he kept breaking out. So I switched to California Baby and his baby acne cleared up in a snap and his skin stopped flaking immediately. Their products are a little on the pricy side, but I rarely have to use lotion on him now and I love the smell. 
  • Skip-Hop Studio Diaper bag: Besides being cute and roomy, this diaper bag is super functional. Nice big bottle pockets on each side are great for Camelback water bottles (Since I'm breast feeding, no bottles on the go for little man yet) and lots of pockets for both Henrik and I's miscellaneous items such as pacies and chapstick. The thing I have liked most so far are the stroller straps, which creates more room in the basket below the stroller. In addition to cute and functional, the price tag won't break the bank either. 
  • UppaBaby Vista Stroller: This was my splurge when I found out we were expecting. There are three things about this stroller I absolutely LOVE: 1.) The push bar extends up three inches. Three inches doesn't sound like a lot, but when both you and your husband are tall, it makes a BIG difference. 2.) It rides like a dream - this thing has better shock absorbers than our relatively new car. 3.) It comes with a regular seat or a bassinet and you can buy a car seat attachment. So far we have used the car seat attachment - which is great when I know he won't be in it for long - and the bassinet attachment - which is great for him to stretch out in... On a side note, while getting the stroller in and out of the car is annoying at times, my husband and I both love always having cup holders and something to hold our purchases. 

We are half way through month #2 already (not sure how that is possible) and are using different baby items already and some of the things listed above, not as much. I'll be sure to update you next month on our latest must-haves. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

MommyHood: Month One

I will try to write this post without being overly cliche or cheesy, but can make no guarantees. My first month of motherhood has been amazing, fun, full-filling, challenging, frustrating, exciting, overwhelming and more. People tell you it will be all of these things, but there is no way to appreciate all of the above until you actually go through it. I know that we are in sweet spot right now - I am still on maternity leave for another eight weeks and Henrik still sleeps a lot and is not mobile.
 If you've been reading my blog for awhile or know me personally, you know I tend to anticipate the worst and then am surprised when it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Case in point, my post on surprising things about labor and delivery. Same can be said regarding the first month as a mother. I was anticipating at least two weeks before I felt up to leaving the house and was surprised that five days later, I was dying to do something other than watch TV while Henrik slept. I was also anticipating spending a majority of my leave sleep deprived and trying to fit in as many naps as possible and have been surprised by how well I can do off of six (non consecutive hours) of sleep and the very few naps I have actually needed.
I have also surprised myself with how comfortable I have been with the baby - relative to how worked up I thought I would be. I thought I would totally be one of "those" moms who are calling the doctor once a week and panicking about everything. The first couple of weeks, I think I was "that" mom, taking his temperature all the time and convinced that a sneeze was the start of cancer. His early arrival did not help as premies  - even premies who were as large as he was - are at higher risk for a lot of things. I have found myself relaxing more each day and have cut back on the disinfecting of everything he could potentially come in contact with.
Everyone tells you how much your life will change once you have a baby and I totally agree with that, but at the same time I am surprised (what is another word for 'surprised'?) by how little our life has changed. Pre-baby, I envisioned our life coming to a complete stop once he arrived - no more dinners out, no more relaxing watching my trashy TV, trying to squeeze a shower in, etc. While these things have changed (deciding if we are going to grab a bite out totally depends on how Henrik is feeling that day and squeezing a shower in is questionable some days), it's nice to find out that pre-baby life doesn't come to a screeching halt with Henrik's arrival. (I am anticipating reduced trash-TV time once I head back to work.)
The thing I am enjoying the most about being a mother, is watching him develop on daily basis. He's four weeks old and asleep most of the time. But when he's awake, I can literally just stare at him as he looks around and starts to take in the environment around him. He makes the cutest noises when he is super content and I just sit and wonder what's going through his head. I'm starting to pick up on his different cries and know what he needs based on his cry and time of day, which makes things easier for everyone in the house (the dogs included.)
Looking back on the past 30 days, I can't believe he's a month old already. At the same time, he's fit into our life so well that I can't believe it's only been a month since his arrival. He's changed so much in the first 30 days and I can't wait to watch him over the next 30 and beyond.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Man: One Month Old

A month ago today, at this exact minute (it's currently 3:07 pm), I was in labor. I think I was about to receive my epidural, but that day was such a blur, that I'm not sure. It's even crazier to think that my due date was a mere four days ago! He certainly threw us for loop with his extremely early arrival, but I think we have adjusted pretty well. I'll have a mommyhood update for you tomorrow, in the meantime, here's Henrik's one month picture and a little update on him.

Weight: I unofficially weighed him this morning by getting on the scale with him and then weighing myself. Using this method, he weighed in at exactly 10 pounds this morning!

Length: At his two week appointment he was a little over 21" - 90% percentile for a full-term baby.

Clothing Size: The newborn stuff is starting to get tight on him, but three month is a little big yet. So he's in between right now.

Favorites: He is usually pretty happy in his Rock n Play or bouncer. At first he really liked his swing, but hasn't been into it the past week.

Milestones: Everything is a milestone at this point! Within the last month, he has had his first outing (Menards and Target); first bath (in the hospital... First bath at home was a few days later); his umbilical cord fell off around day 8 and the circumcision plastic-thingy fell off the next day; first time away from mom (a couple of weeks ago, dad took him over to Grandpa and Grandma's for a couple of hours in the morning so I could catch up on sleep); first bottle (with breast milk) and first actual tears while crying (a couple of days ago). I am sure there are more that I am missing, like I said, every day is something new right now.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Surprising {to me} Things About Giving Life to a Human

You may have picked up from my sarcastic comments in my posts throughout my pregnancy, that the thought of delivering a baby terrified me. Beyond that, being responsible for another human was even scarier. Prior to getting pregnant, the thought of my stomach being stretched to house something the size of a watermelon completely weird-ed me out. For me, pregnancy was like going off the high-dive at the swimming pool for the first time: close your eyes and jump.

In the 3.5 weeks since I gave birth, I have been asked many times how I was feeling/doing. I am surprised to be responding with "I feel fantastic!" and actually mean it. Here are some things I am pleasantly surprised by when it comes to pregnancy/delivery and the aftermath.

1.) Your stomach actually returns to it's previous size pretty quickly. Of course, my stomach is not near as firm and/or flat as it was before and I have about 15 pounds to lose before I will fit into my pre-pregnancy pants again, but I am shocked at how fast my stomach deflated. I won't be rocking a two-piece any time soon, but it's amazing to think three weeks ago, there was a baby in there!

2.) The epidural doesn't really hurt. I totally wanted an epidural, I wasn't attempting that naturally. But the thought of a needle going into my spine!? I can barely handle getting a flu shot, let alone a needle in my back. Some people had told me that I'd be in so much pain that I wouldn't even think about what was going on. To an extent, yes. But honestly, it really didn't hurt!

3.) Despite having an epidural, the actual delivery will still hurt. There is pressure and stretching that no amount of drugs will cover up. I even had an injection of lidocaine "down there" and I could still feel it all. The pain really is worth it and you really do forget about it quite quickly. {Not right away though, as some lead you to believe.} But within a few days I wasn't banishing the idea of more kids anymore.

4.) After the baby is born, you won't even pay attention to what the doctor is doing "down there". The placenta was delivered, stitches were put in, my stomach was pushed on - I know all these things happened and I was dreading them. But I was so happy to be holding my baby, that I honestly didn't even notice what was going on.

5.) The bleeding isn't that bad. Everything I read going into this prepared me to see more blood than I had ever seen, to the extent that I would wonder if my uterus was still in my body. I bled, but it wasn't THAT bad. I am assuming a majority of the bleeding happened immediately after delivery, when I was oblivious to what was going on.

6.) The real pain in the days following {at least for me} was back pain. I am not sure if it was from the epidural or the pushing or the dramatic shift in weight distribution {probably a combination of all of the above} but my back was SORE and really weak for at least a week after delivery.

7.) The pain "down there" afterwards really isn't that bad. Did it feel like I got kicked in the crotch multiple times for a few days? Totally. But it was manageable. I took the drugs they gave me, when they told me to take them. They gave me some spray at the hospital that numbed the area and told me to use it every time I peed. I loved that spray.

8.) Breast feeding feels weird, but it doesn't hurt. The first time he latched on, it was a really weird sensation. I wouldn't call it a good sensation, it was just different. But I got used to it quickly.

9.) Engorgement hurts. That wasn't the surprising part. The surprising part was how badly it hurt. When my milk came in, I was questioning if I would continue breast feeding at that point. Nothing gave me relief. Even after he ate or I pumped and I was empty, they still hurt. Luckily, the worst lasted about 24 hours for me and within a few days, they only hurt when I go too long in between feeding or pumping.

10.) The instant love you feel for the baby is... Indescribable. Overwhelming. Amazing. All at once.  I knew I would feel instant, overwhelming love - I love him before he was born - even before he was conceived.  But to actually experience such love - at the risk of sounding cheesy, literally completes me. How this tiny thing that doesn't really do much at this point except scream, demand food from my body and poop can weasel his way into my heart and completely take it over in an instant, is beyond me.

Then again, how could you not love this face!?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BumpDate: Henrik's Birth Story

Two weeks ago I had a blog post titled "BumpDate: 36 Weeks" all ready to post. I wrote it on Sunday, July 14th and planned on posting it over my lunch hour after my doctor's appointment at 10:30 am on the 15th. Well, little did I know that I'd be going from my appointment to Labor and Delivery and told we'd be having a baby THAT DAY - four weeks early. As I started to write this post, I went back and re-read the post that was never posted and found the opening paragraph pretty funny:

When I first got pregnant, I was praying I would be one of those women who went into labor at 37 weeks - now that date is a week away and I am totally fine if I'm not one of those women. In fact, I am banking on not being one of those women. A month ago, all I could say was I over being pregnant. While it is still not my favorite thing, the reality and enormity of this huge change is getting all too real.
Final belly picture, two days  before Henrik was born {36 weeks}

They say the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans, so he must have been rolling on July 15th.

The weekend preceding the 15th was Heritage Days in Mount Vernon. Bryan and I went up Friday evening and I just wasn't feeling well. I was even more tired than usual and was extremely irritable, but I didn't think much of it. That night when we got home, I felt some weird menstrual-type cramping on my lower abdomen, but again, didn't think much of it. Saturday evening, we stopped by my parents for dinner and then went back uptown. I had been feeling the menstrual-type cramping on and off all day and had self-diagnosed it as actual contractions. I didn't time them or anything and I knew women could have them for weeks before giving birth, so again, didn't think much of it. I was again not feeling well while we were up there and it wasn't long until I just wanted to go home.

Sunday (the 14th), Bryan and I spent the day cleaning. I wouldn't say I felt this insane urge to have my house clean, but it had been a few weeks since we cleaned it well and there was dog hair piling up in the corners. While we were at it, I washed all of our bedding and made some banana bread. Looking back at it, I was totally nesting.

As the day wore on, it became more and more painful for me to bend over and the contractions continued. When I say painful to bend over, I mean, every time I tried to bend down, I braced myself for a gush of water. Around 4, I decided I was going to sit down and do a kick-count with the baby. The goal was 10 kicks within two hours, a feat he usually accomplished within 20-30 minutes. An hour and a half later, he finally reached ten, after I got up multiple times to drink something sugary and ate some cereal. This had me concerned. I called Bryan who was helping some friends bale hay and told him to come home because I wasn't feeling good and I was concerned about the baby's movement. We talked about it once he got home and decided that since I had a doctor's appointment the next day and the baby technically reached his goal of kicks, I'd hold off on calling the doctor and bring up my concerns the next day.

That night, I told Bryan that since I was 36 weeks, we needed to get our hospital bag packed. I had almost everything I wanted for it, but had nothing assembled. He totally gave me the brush off, but I made a note to make sure to get that done during the upcoming week.

I tried to go to bed early that night, but sleep was hard to do that night. I woke up probably every hour and just plain didn't feel good. The next morning, I was getting ready and noticed the contractions were much more intense. I decided to time them and was shocked to find they were seven minutes apart. They were strong enough that every seven minutes, I'd have to stop what I was doing and concentrate on breathing for 30-45 seconds. I remember thinking "Oh God, if this is going to go on for four more weeks, I will lose my mind." I mentioned to Bryan what was going on, but told him this could go on for weeks and to not get worked up about it. I certainly did NOT think I could be close to delivering.

I got to work that morning and told my co-worker what was going on. At one point we were having a conversation about something and a contraction started (again, exactly seven minutes apart) and I looked at her and said "This really hurts." We had a meeting at 10 and my doctor's appointment was at 10:30. While waiting for our meeting to start, I was telling another lady about the contractions I was having and how they either needed to stop or something needs to be going on down there because I wasn't going to be able to tolerate these for four weeks. In my mind, I assumed they would stop.

Once I got to my doctor's appointment, I continued to time them to make sure I wasn't making a big deal about nothing. I also paid more attention to his movement. The contractions were now six-ish minutes apart and while he was moving, it wasn't as much as normal. My regular doctor was on vacation, so I saw another doctor in the practice, whom I really liked. He measured me and did the fetal heart beat check and everything checked out. I told him what was going on with the contractions and the baby's movement and after some discussion, he decided to send me up to Labor and Delivery for a non-stress test, just to make sure the baby wasn't in distress. I said to him while I was describing the contractions that I had a really low pain tolerance and this was probably nothing. We both agreed this was probably not labor.

My OB's office is attached to the hospital I work for and would be delivering at, so after I checked-out, I headed up to L&D. On my way up there, I called Bryan and told him what was going on. I told him this was just to make sure the baby was OK and he didn't need to come and I'd call him after it was over. At the time, I was more annoyed that I was losing two hours of precious work time than I was worried about the baby. After I talked to him, I called my mom and told her the same thing. She asked me if I was excited and I said no because I'd be back at work in a couple of hours.

Got up to L&D, got checked in and into a room. This was probably around 11:45. Around noon, a nurse came in, I went through what was going on and she told me to change and got me hooked up to the machines. Before she turned it on, she checked me. She said that the less dilated I was, the more it would hurt. It wasn't pleasant, so I looked at her and said "I'm not dilated at all, am I?" She looked at me and said, "Actually, you're four centimeters and your water sack is right there and bulging."

I can not even describe to you the complete shock I felt at that exact moment.

I asked her what that meant. She went on to explain that she was going to call my doctor and he'd come up and break my water to get things going. I stopped her at that moment and said "Wait a minute, you mean I'm having the baby TODAY?" She looked at the clock and said "Yep, he should be here tonight sometime."

At that moment, I think I string of profanities came out of my mouth. There are very few times that I have been in shock in my life and I was definitely in shock.

The nurse then went on to say "You probably have some phone calls to make" and handed me my cell phone.

I called Bryan first. I am not exactly sure how the conversation went, but I think I told him how far along I was and that he needed to get there NOW. I then called my mom and told her I was wrong before and that I was in labor. My mom works in the town we live in, so then I asked her if she could go to our house and at least get our camera. Since we hadn't packed the bag yet, I told her I'd go over what I needed her to grab from our house when she got to the hospital.

I then called my co-worker and told her to bring me my laptop and some files from my desk. Since I was still four weeks away from my due date, I had nothing wrapped up at work, so I told her we'd have to go over a few things while I was laboring. Yes - you read that correctly, I was working on work while I was in labor. More than a few people thought I was off my rocker, which I slightly was at that point.

Wrapping up work from my hospital bed. 

A few minutes later, the doctor came into the room, checked me himself and not only confirmed I was dilated, but informed me I was now five centimeters. He then went on to tell me that my pain tolerance is a lot higher than I thought because getting to four was the hardest part. He then broke my water (at 12:20 pm) and asked what I wanted to do for pain management. I said I definitely wanted the epidural, but didn't need it quite then.

Bryan got there shortly after that and my parents arrived about an hour later. Right before they got there, I asked for the first round of drugs. I am not sure what the drug was called, but it instantly made me feel drunk - it was amazing, but did little for the pain. The nurse then suggested we order the epidural to make sure we got it in time. I agreed. About 45 minutes later I was BEYOND ready for the epidural and the anesthesiologist arrived about 15 minutes after that.

I think the thing I was most petrified of the most prior to labor was the epidural. The thought of a needle in my back made me want to pass out. However, I write this for all of those who are as squeamish as me - I felt nothing. My doctor called it a "perfect" epidural, meaning it was fully effective equally on both sides.

Shortly after the epidural, around 3:45/4 pm, they checked me again and I was at 10. I think if they had checked me before the epidural, they may not have given it to me. The nurse said they were going to let me "labor down" for awhile and when I felt the intense need to push, to tell her. I asked her if I would know when that was and she said "Yep, you'll know!"

Sure enough, at 4:20, I knew what she was talking about. I pushed for a little over an hour and finally started to make some headway. The nurse kept saying "You're almost there!" After the fourth time she said that to me, I told her I didn't believe her anymore. Finally, she spoke the truth and at that time, they started calling in the troops. I am honestly not even sure how many nurses were in the room, but I think there were three, plus the doctor and Bryan by the time everyone arrived.

Here is another myth I wish to dispel for anyone who has not been through this. The epidural makes it so you can't feel contractions, it does not make it so you can't feel the pressure of the baby coming out. And that was not pleasant.

The rest of the delivery is a blur. I kept pushing when the doctor told me to push. I said "OW, OW, OW!" a lot and kept saying "It hurts!" I think I only swore once. (For those of you who know me, that in itself is amazing.)

Then I remember the nurses and my doctor telling me to open my eyes and look down. I looked down and saw his tiny little head, but all I could think was "He's not out yet!" because it still HURT! I think I said to "Get him out!" about that time and then, he was out. It was 5:46 pm, just over five hours since they broke my water.
Our first picture together.

I looked down again, it took him a second and then he started screaming. Hearing his cry... I can't even describe it. They put him on my chest, he cried for a minute and then was completely calm. It was amazing.
Dad and Henrik

They let me hold him for a long time before they asked me if we wanted to know how much he weighed, which I was dying to know. Bryan and I were both big babies, but since he was four weeks early, I thought we'd be lucky if he was over six pounds. Everyone's jaw hit the floor when the scaled read 8 pounds, 5 ounces. He later measured at 21" long - which is the 90th percentile for a full-term baby! (Both myself and daddy are tall, so that wasn't a huge shocker.)

After everything had settled, my mom said that his birth was exactly what I needed. It was fast and I wasn't able to anticipate and get worked up about things. More than one person told me I was incredibly calm during the whole thing, which is not a word often associated with my personality.
Meeting JD for the first time. 

Being born at 36 weeks and one day classified him at a premie. However, he was more than ready to come. His weight was one big indicator. Another is his complete lack of complications. No jaundice, no breathing issues, no blood sugar issues and no temperature control issues. Additionally, the nurse pointed out to me that his finger nails were really long, apparently another indication.

Before you ask if my doctors had the dates wrong, we had a miscarriage the month before he was conceived. With that miscarriage, they followed my hormone levels down to zero, so there is no way that I didn't actually miscarry. Additionally, we had several dating scans in the first trimester due to the fact that I spotted from weeks four to ten. Finally, due to our fertility issues, I was diligent about knowing my cycle to a T and I know the exact day he was conceived. He's just an early bloomer. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

BumpDate: 35 Weeks

So... My last BumpDate was about six weeks ago... Whoops! I can't even believe how busy June was for Bryan and I. Luckily, after yesterday, I think it's slowing down - just in time for the home stretch of this pregnancy! Since it's been so long since my last update, I'll just cover the highlights:
  • Since 29 weeks, I have blown past being in the double digits for weeks remaining and am now down to just FIVE! I feel like time is flying and crawling at the same time. As each week has passed, I am definitely feeling the baby's growth more and more. {In terms of the weight of my belly, the pressure on my pelvis, etc.}
  • My two "complaints" {although, I'm not really complaining, just stating the symptoms} I am dealing with  are very mild carpel-tunnel syndrome in my hands due to some mild swelling in my fingers and insomnia. The carpel-tunnel isn't bad enough for braces, just annoying. My insomnia I have been combating with one-quarter tablets of Unisom {totally safe for pregnant women, thank God!}
  • Baby Ripke had two baby showers thrown in his honor over the weekend of the 15th. They were both beyond perfect and our friends were incredibly generous with gifts for him. In fact, I am pretty sure we need to build a bigger house already. You can read more about my showers over on the Iowa City Mom's Blog
The theme of Baby R's friends & family shower.
  • The Wednesday before our showers, we had some maternity pictures taken. I was on the fence about taking them, but they turned out great and I am super glad we got them taken. {I will see if I can get some up on the blog for your viewing pleasure.}
  • The Sunday after my shower, my mom came over to help this overwhelmed mama organize all of our baby gear. On top of putting everything together and finding a home for everything, we also washed a TON of baby clothes... Let's just say garage sales have been good to me and this kid is never going to be able to wear everything in his closet/dresser. And - I think we are finally getting close to being done with the nursery - that's the goal for next weekend. 
  • My bi-weekly doctor's appointments have been going great - my blood pressure remains on the low end of the spectrum, the protein is staying out of my urine, Baby R's heart rate continues to hover in the 140's and he is measuring right on schedule. {I am not sure HOW is measuring right on schedule because I feel like I am carrying a three month old around in my belly right now.} My next appointment will be on July 15th when I am 36 weeks and will make the start of weekly appointments from here on out!
Josie claimed all of Baby R's presents for herself following his showers...

Our Fourth of July weekend has been busy so far. On the Fourth, Bryan and I embarked on a "Baby Shopping Spree" to get the rest of the stuff we will need for Baby R. Things like an extra car seat base, baby wash and a video monitor were on the shopping list. It was a successful shopping trip topped off by a trip to Carlos O'Kelly's for a late lunch/early dinner. I have to say, this no alcohol thing has gotten A LOT tougher with summer being in full swing. Bryan's raspberry margarita looked AMAZING. Having a beer is definitely at the top of my "to-do" list as soon as we are home and settled from the hospital. 

After our shopping trip, we were both beat. I spent the evening on the couch and experienced my first {known of} round of braxton hicks contractions while Bryan spent the evening prepping out yard for sod the following day. 

On the fifth at approximately 8:45 am a large semi pulled up in front of our house and delivered 9000 square feet of sod. It was a sight that brought a tear to my eye. For those of you who don't know, we sold our old house {complete with a huge fenced-in yard} in May of 2012 and moved into a rental condo, without a fence, until March 2013. This spring has been so rainy and cool that is has been impossible for us to get our yard graded and ready for seed and then ready for a fence. With two dogs, this has been a nightmare. Especially as I have gotten larger and handling our 110lb dog has been come more challenging. Fast forward to the end of June when we received six inches of rain in a very short amount of time and we watched as our yard eroded into the street, we decided to bite the bullet and lay sod. 

Seven short hours after the sod arrived, it was all in place. {Huge thank you to our friends that helped us out!} Being as pregnant as I am, I wasn't able to do much to help, but I ran errands, made sure the coolers were always full of cold beverages, assembled lunch and held the hose as much as I could. T minus 16 days and our fence will be installed and our poor dogs will be able to run free for the first time in over a year! Let's just say July 22nd will be the third most exciting day of 2013 for me. {Third to finding out the baby's sex and of course, the day he comes into this world.}
Our new front yard!

The remainder of the weekend has "laying low" written all over it. An all-day shopping spree and helping with the sod yesterday was far more activity than I've had in months and I'm paying for it today. I think this evening we are going to run into town and grab a nice dinner and get groceries for the week. {This is what our date nights have come to already...}

Here's my 35 week belly picture... Bryan made a comment to me over the weekend that he felt like I wasn't growing as much as before. After he took this belly picture, I showed him a picture of me six weeks ago and he was able to see how much I have grown. :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

BumpDate: 29 Weeks

Yea for the last week in the 20's! It's almost like turning 30, except, this time I'm happy. As of this upcoming Sunday, we will be 3/4 of the way done and then the following week, we will be out of the double digits for weeks left! How is that even possible!?

Over the long weekend, Bryan and I made the rounds at area furniture stores to find a rocker/glider. I wanted one that looks like a traditional living room chair, but glides, but apparently those are not a popular style 'round these parts. After hitting up every major furniture store in our area, I resorted to ordering one from JC Penny's website. I am a little worried about ordering it without sitting on it, but it got really good reviews and was only $500 for the chair and ottoman. So fingers crossed that we like it and I don't have to pay a $48 restocking fee and start our search over.

Saturday we also made a trip to Babies R Us/Toys R Us to look at gliders. Proved to be a big mistake to take my husband/six-foot-tall-kid into a toy store. After perusing the action figure aisle for almost an hour, I finally convinced him that we should go. But not before I found a stuffed chocolate lab and stuffed beagle for Baby Ripke's room - how cute are they!?

Sunday, we finally tackled painting the baby's room. Here is a picture of the possible colors, but I am going to wait to reveal the final look until the nursery is finished.

While I re-taped the room and taped plastic to the new carpet, Bryan finished a few projects around the house for me before taking over the actual painting so I could take a nap. {He seriously is an awesome husband.} Following my nap {I am pretty sure he snuck one in}, we headed out to a friend's house for a rainy Memorial Day BBQ.

Monday I went shopping with my mom and finally broke down and bought some maternity shorts. Ug. I am not a huge fan of shorts on my non-pregnant legs - they're always too tight. I am even less of a fan of them on my pregnant legs. They were buy one get one half off though, so I bought a couple of versatile pairs and between those and skirts, refuse to buy any more maternity bottoms.

All in all, we ended the weekend tired, but pleased with our progress. I feel less panic about getting baby-related tasks completed now that the all the furniture is on order and the room is painted.

Physically, I am still feeling good but tired. Now that all my regular TV shows are in re-runs for the summer, my goal is to be in bed by 8:30 every night. Baby Ripke has been active as ever this past week, I am pretty sure he has his own dance party every night around 9 pm. This does not work well with my new bedtime, so we're going to have to talk about that. I got myself on my scale earlier this week and I am up about 24 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. (Gulp!) Most of my friends say it's all belly. Hopefully they're not just being really nice friends. I am not too terribly concerned, 25-35 pounds is normal and if I end up at 40 pounds, I have the rest of my life to lose it. Aside from that, still no swelling (all the swelling I had has gone away!) and no signs of any pregnancy concerns such as preeclampsia thus far {knock on wood}.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

BumpDate: 28 Weeks & THE LAST TRIMESTER!

Sunday marked the first day of the THIRD and FINAL trimester! Super-excited/terrified/anxious/freaking-out/happy about summarizes how I'm feeling about it all. So excited to meet our little guy in approximately 12-ish weeks, terrified of what we're supposed to do with him once he's here, anxious about how he's suppose to actually get out of my body and just happy to be where we are. Freaking out? Well, I am freaking out that there are less than 12 weeks to my due date and we've done about, oh, nothing to get ready for his arrival.

Yeah, yeah, all the kid needs is a roof over his head. While I appreciate everyone trying to calm me a little, well all know, that's not good enough. We've got furniture on order, at the latest it should be here early July. We finally bought some paint for the nursery this weekend and Bryan started taping off the room, working on that this next weekend is definitely a priority. I bought some materials for some decorative DIY projects for his room and his bedding is in the works thanks to a very talented seamstress in my area. I suppose that is all something, but we still need to get a closet put together for him (the closet is currently empty as in, no rod, no shelves, etc.), actually paint (as mentioned above) and find a permanent home for the items we've collected so far. (I may have gone a tiny bit crazy with the great deals at garage sales...)

Last week was my glucose test, which I was very happy to learn I passed the next day. While my sugar levels were awesome, my iron levels are low (per usual for my body), so I have to start some iron supplements, no biggie. Other than that, Baby Ripke has been moving around like crazy; mama is usually spent by about 3 pm (I totally understand the appeal of early-bird specials these days); and my swelling, to my surprise, has gotten better - not worse - as I had expected with the warmer, muggier weather. 

I had a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment today, which marks the start of bi-weekly appointments until we hit the 36 week mark. I still can't believe we are at this point already. In some aspects, it seems like it has taken forever to get to this point and that August will never be here. On the other hand, I won't even let Bryan say how many weeks/days we have left anymore because I will have a mini-anxiety attack. 

The doctor's appointment went well - BP still super low (per usual for this girl), pee tested fine (still don't know what they're testing for at every appointment), baby's heart rate in the upper 140's. He's still in the breech position, which my doctor is saying is still fine at this point. However, little man has been in said position for the past six weeks, and I think he's pretty comfortable that way. I had to have the Rhogam shot (because I am Rh negative blood type) again today. I had to have this shot around six weeks due to spotting and I knew I would need it again at 28 weeks and will probably need it once baby gets here. 

Wow - today's post is pretty long and only one picture! I need to get better about taking pics for you guys. Here's this week's belly pic!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Husband's Favorite Dinner

Before I get to my recipe, I have to freak out for a minute. Bryan informed me this evening that over the course of the past three-ish days, he has found a total of five-ish (I think he is underestimating a bit) ticks on HIM and a few on our dogs. No sooner did he say this, that I demanded that he check Josie where he found three just tonight! Then he found one crawling on my wall!

This is by far one of my worst nightmares. I feel the need to sanitize my entire house somehow.

The current view of half of our backyard and the wooded area beyond the yard. 

The ticks are totally coming from the wooded area that lies right behind our lot line. When we bought this lot, the wooded area behind our lot was a huge selling point. (Especially because the chances of it being developed while we are living in this house are slim to none.) Now, I am rethinking it's appeal.
Josie hanging out on top of the dirt pile while Bryan works outside.

I guess the sudden increase in temps (finally) combined with Bryan working outside as much as possible to get our deck built (so we can then level our yard and put our fence in!), has brought this tick epidemic to light. Josie, being a beagle, loves to be outside, so Bryan has been taking her outside with him as much as possible.

Bleh. Meh.

On a happier note, I am happy to share with you my husband's favorite recipe. Every time I ask him what should be on the menu for the week, he immediately says "Dorito Chicken". As the name suggests, it's not the healthiest of meals, but it's quick, easy, has protein in it and tastes great. Serve it with a couple sides of vegetables and you're good to go.

(I didn't take a picture of it, so you'll have to use your imagination on it's looks.)

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (I pound mine out with a meat tenderizer to get them to cook faster)
  • 2c crushed Doritos
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 c. grated cheese(we use taco flavored cheese)
Line casserole dish with Doritos. Mix Rotel and soups. Layer chicken then mixture. Top with grated cheese and bake at 375 degrees until cheese is melted approximately 30 minutes. You can serve it on top of rice or by itself. I usually serve it with a huge side of broccoli and mix it in with the extra sauce. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

BumpDate: 26 Weeks

The past week has actually been pretty eventful for Little Man and myself. Shortly after my last BumpDate, I started noticing this weird pain near my ribs, right under my bra line on the right side. I wasn't really worried about it but it HURT! Nothing I did seemed to help, except for laying flat on my back, which all pregnant women know, you're not supposed to lay flat on your back. Sitting seemed to make it worse, which was awesome because I sit for a majority of my day. I turned to Dr. Google and found an article that described the exact pain I was having - it was like a burning mixed with a dull ache mixed with a stabbing pain. Turns out (according to Parent's magazine), that as my uterus pushes up, my lungs have less room and the expanding of the diaphragm irritates the cartilage on my ribs. Well, I was happy it wasn't serious and didn't warrant a call to my doctor, but the article also said I could be dealing with it until the baby drops - which is a ways a way! Ug.

Let's be clear, I am not complaining. I am SO beyond happy to be pregnant and to feel his every kick and movement. But man, that hurt.

Luckily, I think the baby switched positions a few days later, because the pain has subsided. Whew.

Which brings me to Saturday. Long story short, I was walking quickly for about 3.5 blocks to get out of the rain. Got into my car, drove 30 minutes home, got out of my car and could not believe how badly my back hurt. Well, me, being the smart one that I am, didn't take it easy on Sunday. Sunday night/Monday morning around 3 am I woke up and oh, man. I had a hard time even getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. I moved myself out to the couch so I could lay on my side and press ice up against it at the same time, but I had a hard time even standing to get the ice pack out.

Needless to say, I didn't make it to work Monday. Let's just say, I would be the world's worst bed-rest patient. I spent the whole day staring at my sewing machine thinking to myself "I could sit with ice on it and work on my sewing project..." Knowing full well that sitting is the worst thing for my injury. (I've been through this a time or two before.) Luckily by the end of the day, I could at least get up to move around. I made it back to work today, but my back is still pretty far from 100%.

Finally, our last event came to a head today. I'll try to avoid TMI here, but I do need to be little descriptive. The past couple of days I have noticed some clear, very watery discharge. Well, I Dr. Googled it again and every site said to call your provider if you have clear, watery discharge. So, called my doctor, got in for an appointment at 1:45 today. Turned out, everything was fine, but they did want to check me just to be sure I wasn't leaking amniotic fluid - especially because what I was experiencing had a sweet smell to it (apparently a sign) - or have an infection. Thankfully, it was no to all of the above, but not going to lie, the possibility of leaking amniotic fluid had both Bryan and I more than a little freaked out.

They say things come in threes, so hopefully the next week will be a little quieter. In other news, I am pretty sure Baby Ripke is going to be a Kung-Fu fighter based on how much he kicks anymore. He definitely is a strong little boy!

Another exciting milestone - I scheduled our maternity pictures today! I was on the fence about doing them, I have very strong opinions about poses I will NOT be doing, including no kissing of belly, no ribbons tied around belly, no bare belly and no hands forming hearts over my belly. (No offense to anyone who likes such poses, they're just not my cup of tea.) I found a reasonably priced photographer in Vinton we are going to use and her maternity pictures she has posted on her website are very tasteful and not too cliche. I figure I'll be glad I took them some day.

Finally, here is this week's belly picture!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weekend Rewind

One thing that I love about weekends now that I did not anticipate loving, is the inability to sleep late anymore. I think if I could stay up past 10:30, I might be able to sleep a little later than 6:45/7, but why bother? I have found that it has been helping Mondays as well as I am not as tired as I used to be sine my sleep schedule it not all thrown off.

That being said, I have found myself with some extra time on Saturdays and Sundays. This Saturday morning started off a little on the weird side. Bryan called me Friday night when I was on my way home to let me know that Josie (the beagle) was peeing blood. Let me clarify - there was not just a little blood in her pee, she was straight up peeing blood. Having already put one animal down this year, my mind immediately jumped to the worst. He had already called the vet's emergency line and they said it sounded like a urinary tract infection. Now, I have had a UTI or two in my life, and I have never peed blood,so I did not think this was a good diagnosis, but whatever. They told us to bring a urine sample in the next morning. After three potty trips, we managed to extract maybe 3/4 of a tablespoon of pee/blood from her and I dropped it off on my way to garage sales with my mom. The vet called Bryan back a couple of hours later to let him know that they think it's kidney stones. So we have to bring her in Monday and they'll sedate her and take some X-rays to determine the next course of action. On the bright side, I think she may have passed them because she is no longer peeing blood and she doesn't have to go outside every five minutes. Guess we'll find out tomorrow!

My sick puppy

On to brighter points of the weekend. As I mentioned above, my mom and I hit up garage sales this weekend. Oh lord - I am SO thankful our baby is being born at the end of garage sale season - we are scoring some awesome deals! No big purchases this week, but we did spend $140 between the two of us on clothes, toys and a Tigger Halloween costume. I am talking name-brand, BARELY worn clothes.  I sorted out all of his clothes when I got home and I am feeling pretty good about his newborn and three month stash - we might need a few more fall-ish outfits for three months, but other than that, I feel good about the amount of sleepers and summery outfits. We have a good jump on six months and a small start on nine months. I am going to focus on six to 12 months for the rest of this garage sale season.

Garage sale loot this week

Saturday afternoon I met up with a friend from my fertility support group. She and her husband and have been through far more than we have been through and I admire her strength. Following coffee with her, I met up with the girls from Iowa City Moms Blog - where I am a contributor. (I can't remember if I mentioned that before or not...)  Following THAT meeting, I made my first trip to Molly's Cupcakes. All I can say is AMAZING! (I should have taken pictures of them, but they got a little jostled on the trip back when I got caught in a downpour. They still tasted amazing!)

Remnants of Molly's Cupcakes...

By the time I got home, my back was KILLING me. I have had sciatica problems since I was 14 and man oh man, Baby Ripke is making them worse. I woke up Sunday and it wasn't much better, but it was a beautiful day and I didn't want to spend it inside. I put some ice on it, popped some Tylenol (what I would give for some Advil right now) and made my way into Cedar Rapids. I added a few things to my registries, got a pedicure, picked up a paint sample for Little Man's room, picked up some sewing supplies for a project I am working on and made my way home. And then I put a lot of ice on my back. I am probably going to pay for this tomorrow, I am still in A LOT of pain. I'm not complaining, just stating a painful fact.

Sewing supplies!

Pink tooties - hello spring!

It's been a great weekend - I think the cold weather is finally behind us, Bryan is making progress on our house projects and I am in the double digits (out of the triples!) for days till due date. :) I am going to try to post more often on here, so look for a BumpDate tomorrow or Tuesday and maybe a sewing tutorial.