Monday, August 29, 2011

Excitement Abounds

We got to enjoy a lovely weekend with Chris' family this weekend. His mom, dad, aunt, brother, sister-in-law and their two kids came up from Omaha to visit. We took Agatha to the pool at their hotel and she splashed around for a few minutes before remembering she was hungry. At least I got to put her in her suit (below).

Chris' new band played their first show on Friday night and his mom and aunt watched Agatha so I could go support him. It was the longest I had been away from her and I was told she did really well. I, however, should have pumped before I left and I would have saved myself some pain. Trying to express milk by hand in a dingy bathroom stall is not my idea of fun. The band was great and it was awesome to see Chris on stage again. He is so talented!

Today, our friends Noah and Michel are visiting from Brooklyn, with their one-year-old daughter, Margarita. We haven't seen them since before Margarita was born, so we are very excited to meet her and to catch up with them.

My goal this week is to take photos of my cards and actually put them on Etsy. I can't believe I have procrastinated this long. I did take some pictures about a year ago, but I didn't think the quality was good enough. I am thinking of getting a beginner DSLR camera, I think it would be nice to have some nicer pictures of Agatha, instead of just snapshots.

This coming weekend, we are planning on taking our first road trip. We'll be going to my brother and sister-in-law's cabin for Labor Day. It is ab out a 3.5 hour car ride, which I'm sure will be made longer with the baby. It should be good practice for a trip to Omaha we'd like to take before I go back to work. I'm excited to show her off and to see my family. My dad hasn't met her yet, so I am looking forward to that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bathing beauty

The darling Agatha in her bathing costume.

In other news, I cannot wait to start working on her Halloween costume. I saw the pattern THREE years ago and wished I had a tiny baby to dress it in then. I finally have my chance!

Monday, August 22, 2011

One month in

I have officially been a mother for one month (and 3 days). Wow! The time has flown by, although some of the days (and nights) have seemed to drag on and on.

I have to's hard. It has gotten a lot better since the second week but still, HARD. Part of it is just being home alone during the day with no help and part of it is just that it is going to be hard. That's it. You're taking care of a helpless human being who can't really communicate their needs in any helpful manner. Apparently, I'm going to be able to determine what different cries mean at some point. That has not happened yet.

The first week we had Agatha home was so, so tough. The first night, especially. Apparently, there is something called "Second Night" or something that babies have. It is supposedly their crankiest time. I will say this was right on for Agatha. I thought I was going to go crazy the first night home. We were running on very little sleep and got home about 10 at night. We really had no idea what to do with her and set up the Pack N Play in our room for her to sleep in. We didn't have a swaddle sleep sack to put her in so we tried to put her in a sleep dress thing, that is open on the bottom, but it was super bulky and just didn't work for us. I honestly can't remember what she ended up sleeping in. She cried a lot that night and I kept nursing and nursing her but she was very fussy. Chris was a super rock star, and took her and tried to rock her and calm her down so I could get some sleep. We were both exhausted the next day.

On top of that, I of course had the baby blues and was anxiously awaiting my placenta pills. (Yes, I had my placenta encapsulated. No, it's not gross. I highly recommend it.) They showed up the next day and really helped a lot. Every day got better than the day before but I remember thinking that first day, "I don't know if I can do this." Every time someone mentioned Chris going back to work I would burst into tears. I cried about everything.

We had a home nurse come on our third day home. We were still exhausted and my milk came in that morning so I was pretty uncomfortable. When she showed up, Chris was in the shower and our cat, Henry Thomas, was misbehaving something terrible. He was jumping on lamps, jumping on the nurse, biting the nurse. I was breast feeding Agatha at the time, and there was nothing I could do. Luckily, the home nurse was very understanding and was a cat person and Chris eventually came out and rescued her but I had never been so embarrassed in my life. She weighed Agatha, watched me nurse and answered a lot of questions for us. It was really nice having her come.

Agatha and I really struggled with breast feeding. By day 10 I was ready to give up. WARNING: Gratuitous breast talk ahead. She had a really shallow latch and my nipples were cracked and bleeding and JUST PAINFUL. Every nurse in the hospital tried to help and said everything looked good, but obviously it was not okay. We ended up going to a lactation consultant at the hospital, because I was ready to just buy a pump and bottle feed her. I really wanted to avoid formula, so I never really considered that, but I was ready to give up on nursing if something did not change. The lactation consultant examined my nipples, watched me nurse on one side, weighed Agatha and then watched me nurse on the other side and weighed her again. She said she was getting enough to eat, and that my latch looked good on the left side but we needed to correct the right side and let it heal. So I got a nipple shield and ended up using that on and off for about a week until it healed. Since then, we have not had any problems and I really enjoy feeding her.

My mom came up and stayed with us the week Chris went back to work. I was so grateful for that. She was a really big help. We took a walk almost every day and it was just nice to have an extra set of hands. She, of course, loved spending time with Agatha. She ended coming back 10 days later for a few more days. It was great.

The days by myself are not so bad. I try to sleep as long as possible (usually until 9 or 10) and get what I can done in the morning. Agatha is usually more fussy/more work in the evening. I try to take a walk with her every day in the afternoon or take a nap with her. The days can get pretty boring and she doesn't like to sleep anywhere but someones arms during the day, so I can't accomplish very much. I can put her down for about 15 minutes before she wakes up, so I have to be quick with my chores. Sometimes it is just not worth it to put her down, but I am trying to get her to sleep in her Pack N Play during the day. She did really well at it the first few weeks.

It is amazing to see how much she has changed in such a short period. She is vocalizing now and stays awake for longer during the day. She is kind of getting into a routine at night and we are starting to see her little personality. What a joy. What a gift.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Agatha Rowan

I had a baby! Here is my birth story, if you are interested (copied from DH means "Dear Husband," BH means "Braxton-Hicks" FYI.

I was scheduled to be induced on July 22.

On July 18, I woke up at about 8 am and got out of bed. I felt a trickle/small gush and thought my water had broken. I called into the triage as I was also having strong BH. They said I should come in. We went into triage at about 10 am and got checked. My water was not broken and I was at 4 cm, 70% effaced (which was weird because at my last appointment 3 days before I was 95% effaced). We walked around the unit a bit and then the contractions really started hurting. I got checked again and was still the same but the nurse said I was beginning active labor and it was up to me if I wanted to get admitted or go home. I was pretty hungry and wanted to labor at home as long as possible, so we went home about 1 pm.

At this point, contractions were very painful and obviously different than BH. I always wondered when people said "you just know" when you are in labor, and I know it is different for everyone, but the difference between BH (a tightening of my whole stomach, sometimes pretty uncomfortable) and actual contractions (very, very strong cramps low-down) was obvious.

We got home and I ate and tried to lay down and breathe through the contrax. That worked for a while, then I wanted to try the tub. The tub was nice for about 45 minutes, then it stopped helping. I sat on my birthing ball and focused on a spot on the wall. That was the most helpful. About 5 we decided to go back in. By this time, my mom and sister were almost at the hospital (they drove 2.5 hours). We called DH's parents and let them know to head up from Omaha.

Got checked at about 6 pm and I was still 4 cm but 90%. I was pretty disappointed that I hadn't dilated more but the nurse said that it was good change and the baby had moved from -2 station to -1. There was no L&D nurse available for me so I had to stay in triage until 7:30. I just swayed and breathed through contractions during this time. They asked if I wanted to walk around, but I didn't think I could. I moved into my room at 7:30 and tried the birthing ball again but it wasn't helping. My mom and sister came in while DH got our bags from the car. I decided to try the tub and that worked okay for a bit but then my contrax started coming right on top of one another, so strong I couldn't even get out of the tub. I finally managed to get out and they checked me again. This was at about 8:30. I was at 7 cm and starting transition. At this point, I decided to ask for the epi. I had planned on seeing if I could do it naturally, but to not feel bad if I couldn't. Got the IV going and got the epi around 9:15 or 9:30. I was so happy I decided to get it. It was definitely the right choice for me. I was able to relax and talk to my family and enjoy the last few hours of labor.

I got checked again at about 10:30 or 11. They said I was 9-10 cm and just had a little lip. I was told they could break my water any time or I could wait to see if it broke on its own. I decided to wait until DH's parents got to the hospital (they were about 20 minutes away). His parents got there and we all chatted for a bit.

At about 12:15 I kicked everyone except DH out and the resident broke my bag of waters. There was very light meconium in the water, so I would not get skin to skin immediately after birth, becasue they would need to take her to the warmer and check her airways. I was sad, but understood. We waited about 10 minutes to see if the baby would descend on her own. We started "practice" pushes at 12:41. My practice pushes moved her down and after 8 pushes, her head started to come out. I reached down and felt it - very cool! The team was called in and 2 more pushes and she was out! I pushed for a total of 16 minutes.

Agatha Rowan was born at 12:57 on July 19th. She weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She was nice and pink and yelling when she came out so they did not have to take her away and I did end up getting immediate skin to skin with her. What an absolutely amazing moment!