Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Introducing River Alexandria!

After 72 hours of being in labor (latent and active) River finally made her appearance on Thursday March 26, 2015! She weighed 9.1 and was 21 inches long, and is without a doubt the most beautiful person I have ever laid eyes on.

Birthing her was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but I would go through it again and again just for her, but thank goodness I don't have to. On her original due date, Tuesday March 24th, I started having severe back pain at 3:00 am. I had no idea they were actual contractions, because I assumed I would be feeling something more towards the front of my stomach, so I told Zack to go on to work. By 7:00 am though I couldn't take it anymore and my mother in law ended up taking me to the hospital where we met up with Zack. My contractions were three minutes apart and I was dilated a total of ONE. Still. After being at the hospital for four hours, we were sent home and told to come back if the contractions got more intense (to my dismay). The next morning, Zack and I had an appointment with my doctor who told me I was dilated at two and that I could be put into the hospital. If I wasn't showing any progress by noon then she would induce me. However, when she came in to check that afternoon I was finally showing progress and we decided to hold off on induction until the next morning. Turns out, we didn't have to. 

In the hours that passed I had the most severe pain I had ever felt in my life (up until that point). I literally thought I was dying. No pain medication was helping me, and the nurses that were on shift were TERRIBLE. They wouldn't let me leave the bed (even though my doctor had told me I could) simply because they didn't want to take the time to come back into my room and hook me back up to the monitors. They also never came into my room to check on me, unless Zack went and got them. Finally though around 4:00 am (after I told them I could absolutely take no more pain) they came in to check on me and I had dilated to four and was completely effaced. Things moved super quickly from there. They called in the anesthesiologist and gave me my epidural (which by the way is a MIRACLE and no one should ever be afraid to get one because they don't hurt at all). I had relief for about an hour before I felt this crazy intense urge to push. It was the strangest sensation I have ever felt. When I told my nurses this, they blew me off by saying there was no way I had to push, that first time labor took hours and that I was going against 43 years of experience. As you can probably imagine, I blew up on her and told her to check my cervix asap. The next thing I heard was "Oh wow, she's already at 9 centimeters!" Really, I never wanted to punch someone in the face so hard in my life. The next thirty minutes went by and we made them check me again. I was at a 10, but they wouldn't let me push because (get this) they were about to have a shift change in twenty minutes.

In all honesty, my active labor was a horrible experience mainly because of the two nurses on staff. But when they finally did a shift change over I had three amazingly awesome nurses who helped me get through bringing my precious baby into this world. They immediately came in and let me start pushing. Which I did consistently from 7:15 to 8:33 when River came. I have never been more proud of myself in my life, because giving birth was HARD, but so, so rewarding! 

As soon as River came out they quickly laid her on my stomach, but then took her so the NICU nurses could check her out. She had the cord wrapped around her neck and had swallowed a small amount of meconium. Thankfully, they didn't actually take her out of the room, but just checked her out beside me. After ten minutes she was finally given back to me and I completely forgot about everything else going on around me (including the fact that I was getting sewed up from a second degree tear).

Everything else after that is a bit of a blur. We had a ton of visitors, but the only thing I really remember was being in complete awe that I had this beautiful little girl.

Throughout everything though, my husband has been my number one support system and I am so blessed to have him. He is an amazing father and he helped me get through my entire labor. I honestly don't know if I could have done it without him and our marriage is so much stronger for it. 

And River? Well, she is this amazingly patient (mostly) little baby that loves to be cuddled and kissed on. She sleeps so well, that I actually have to set my alarm clock to wake me up every four hours just so I can feed her (usually by that time she's awake and is just staring up at me sucking on her hand). To say that I am completely in love is an understatement. I am so blessed that God decided to give her to us to take care of. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Week Thirty-Nine!!!!

Well, here it is. The post I thought I would never write, because I just knew baby River was going to be super early (but healthy, since I thought my due date was off). Obviously, I was wrong.

Latest (and hopefully LAST) Doctor Visit: Well, unfortunately River is still being stubborn and is having a party in my uterus that she is not ready to bail out on yet. I'm still dilated at one and 50% effaced. However, her head is now at a -1 Station (which is awesome and progress). The best news though? If her little butt isn't here by Wednesday the 25th (one day AFTER my due date) they're going to induce me on Thursday the 26th! So regardless, I will be holding my daughter in ONE week no matter what! We also got some great news that I'm "pretty much" measuring back on track (which is weird) and the doctor thinks River will weigh around 8.5 to 9.5 pounds and is just going to be super long (although, she could just be telling me this so I don't have a  melt down at the thought of birthing the 12 pound baby).

Maternity Leave: So, Friday I had to say a short goodbye to my lovely, sweet co-workers! I really wanted to be able to work right up until the point that I went into labor, but that was just proving to be impossible for me. Plus, I think it's been good for me to take this last week and just relax and enjoy the last time I will probably ever be by myself (at least for the next eighteen years). So for this week, I've been nesting, walking, and binging on the Dresden Files novels and Netflix.

How I'm Feeling: The above picture pretty much sums me up perfectly. However, being off work has definitely made a huge difference in my attitude and my ability to just chill the heck out. I mean, yes, I'm still miserable (and not sleeping), but I'm not exhausted and super stressed out from people. Just being able to sit on the couch and relax when I need to has been awesome. Although, I have to admit I'm getting a little bored with the wait.

But I am also so elated because I *know* the end is near and I am THIS close to holding my daughter (and possibly never letting her go... ever). In days (hopefully) or a week at most, my husband and I will be parents. PARENTS. I don't think you can adult more then that. I mean, that's it as far as the leveling of adulting goes. Parents. BAM! Adulthood achieved. Which is so surreal, and if I'm honest, slightly terrifying when you think about it because most days I still like feel like a kid lounging around reading my comic books and eating junk food... wait, that was yesterday. But despite that scary little notion of being an "adult", I know that my husband and I have got this. We're in this together, and we're ready and we're going to be awesome parents to one amazing little girl who will be loved beyond measure when she finally decides to make her appearance.

"Nesting": This week I finally got that mysterious burst of energy that everyone talks about and spent my time cleaning house (with the help of my mom and MamaB). I also put together a small breastfeeding basket to use for when we get home. I came across the idea on Pintrest and just thought it was super clever and hopefully will make things somewhat easier on me. Inside I have three burp cloths, my nursing cover (which I still am debating on using), lanolin cream, water bottles (I hear breastfeeding makes you super thirsty), nursing pads, hand lotion (that I will more than likely switch out for cocobutter), and two very informative breastfeeding packets that my mid-wife gave me. Once River gets here I will probably also include my Kindle, earphones, and some crackers or other type of snacks.

I also have been nesting for our "little" MaddiePup, as well. I know that bringing home River is going to be a BIG change for her, so I'm trying to make her as comfortable with the idea as I can now. We've decked out her kennel with a soft fluffy pillow, some of her favorite toys, and a delicious bone to chomp on. She's also set up right beside my side of the couch where she can look up at me or watch TV whenever she wants. Unfortunately, Zack and I haven't been too restrictive in the kennel training, so over the past few weeks we've been leaving her in there for short periods of time and then giving her a treat. While she doesn't seem to hate it, she definitely still prefers her queenly spot on top of the chase lounge.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

One Year Down, Forever to Go!

Today marks one year that I married the love of my life and my best-friend! I can't believe it's gone by so quickly! To say that this year has been one of the best years of my life is an understatement, but no words would adequately describe the amount of happiness and honor I have in being married to my husband. 

I was going to talk about our wedding, and how much of a special time that was for us, but after writing out the post I realized that's not what I wanted to talk about, or what our one year anniversary should be about. 

Then I was going to talk about how amazing my husband was and how much I had grown as a person in the time that we had been married... but then I realized I didn't really want to talk about that either.

What I want to talk about, is the simple fact that I am absolutely, head over heels still in love with my husband, even after almost six years of dating, and one year of marriage. I still look over at him every night while sitting on the couch reading or watching television and think "I'm the luckiest person on the planet to have married my best-friend. There's no way anyone could be this happy or blessed." 

Except we are. We are so blessed and continue to be blessed every single day of our marriage. Sure, there's times where we want to probably shove the other person through a brick wall, and I would be lying if I said this year was without it's bumps or dips, but at the end of it all, I know the man standing beside me is the one I want standing there forever. That he is my other half that I never even knew I needed until we met.

And (hopefully) in a few days or a week, we'll be celebrating the birth of our amazing, beautiful daughter. Yeah, we've definitely been blessed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Week Thirty-Eight!

Latest Doctor Visit: Unfortunately did not go the way I wanted. First of all, my patience at this point is non-existent (in case it wasn't obvious if you've been around me). Well, after waiting for almost two hours in the waiting room (with a TON of annoying people) I was *finally* called back into a room... that was burning up. After another hour of waiting and not seeing the doctor, I finally got fed up and went outside to see what the hold up was. Turns out, she was next door at the hospital delivering a baby. Pretty legit excuse, but it still pissed me off that we weren't told that in the beginning (normally, when this happens we're told to go grab lunch and come back). So after being one of "those" patients and making a bit of a fuss, the lovely mid-wife came in (who I really do love and have learned a lot from). She examined me and proclaimed me to be 75% effaced and a whopping total of ONE cm dilated. Yeah. As in ONE. As in ONLY FREAKING ONE, "but a loose one"! She also said River's head is at a -2 Station and her heartbeat is 135 (which is lower then what it has been, but she assured me it's fine).

 So, it's all progress, just not as much as I hoped for. I think the main thing that I need to do is stay positive and relax and realize that River will get here wen she gets here. My big concern with going over-due is her size since she's been measuring big, but since all of that is questionable anyway I should probably just chill the heck out.

Super funny story though: while the mid-wife was talking to us about natural induction (walking, sex, nipple stimulation), my grandmothers eyes got very big. When we got in the car, she asked me if she heard right that sex was now used to induce labor. So awkward, but hilarious! Turns out, back in the day when she had my mom they were explicitly told NOT to have sex during late pregnancy! It's so bizarre to think of how much we know now about childbirth compared to just 50 years ago.

Guesstimates on Due Date:
MamaB: March 4th Sorry Great-MamaB! She said she wasn't feeling my birthday after all!
Zack/Hubs/Soon to be Dad: March 12th
Nola (River's Cousin): March 13th (Because it's Friday the 13th)
Patricia (friend/ co-worker): March 14th
Ashley (River's "Aunt"): March 15th
Me and My Mom (River's Mawmaw): March 16th (original due date and my own dad's birthday)
Nanny (River's Great-Grandmother): March 20th

How I'm Feeling: I feel like a kid,sitting in the backseat of a car on the longest road trip of my life, and continuously asking everyone "Are we there yet?!" And every time I get told "No", I just want to have a melt down.

On the one hand, I am SO, SO excited that my due date is right around the corner and that I am *this* close to meeting our daughter. It still seems surreal that she's almost here where I can hold her and cuddle with her and love on her.

On the other hand, I am super impatient and the longer I wait, the more these small doubts and freak-outs creep into my mind about the whole labor and delivery process. Which is weird, because up until a few weeks ago, I was pretty calm about the whole thing. I'm still confident in myself and I know I got this, but the more the days drag out, the more this evil little voice inside my head tries to convince me that maybe I shouldn't be so confident. That maybe something might go wrong. This is probably pretty normal for every new mom out there, and the main thing I'm trying to do right now is just to stay away from scary internet articles and stories. Also, hubs totally helps by snuggling with me when my freak-outs get too bad.

Then you add in the lovely discomforts of third-trimester pregnancy and it just equals out to one pyscho me. I don't think I have ever appreciated my own mom more then I do now. You just have no idea what your mothers go through during pregnancy until you actually experience it. I will say this though, for all my complaining and whining, it's not as bad as a lot of the movies portray it to be. It's amazing and wonderful.... and yes, super uncomfortable and nerve-wrecking, but it's absolutely nothing you can't handle.

Movement: Right now, it feels like River's whole body is taking up my entire torso. She moves her head and arms, and I can feel it low in my pelvis. She has the hiccups and my whole belly jumps. She kicks and it feels like she's taking out my sternum. Still, I have never been so grateful for those weird, sometimes painful, movements. It's the only thing that really reassures me that she's okay.

Random Updates: Last week I gave my boss notice that I am fairly certain March 17th is going to be my last day at work before the baby comes (unless I get super lucky and she comes before- come on River!). I still may change my mind about this depending on how I feel, but right now it's just taking everything out of me to walk around. And, it would be nice to have my last real down time for myself before River gets here- because I know that once she's here it's going to be a LONG time before that happens again.

Baby Book: My sweet mom, River's Mawmaw (as she wants to be called), got us a baby book! I've been wanting one forever now, but for some reason just never got around to buying one. It's pretty simple and standard, but I love it. Zack and I spent Saturday morning filling some of it out together, which was super fun. I wanted to make sure he wrote it in as well, since I absolutely cherish my own baby book because my dad wrote it and I have so few things that are his. I then stuffed it into our hospital bag so we can get River's foot prints and hand prints in it when she's born (hopefully they won't mind doing this).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Week Thirty-Seven!

Latest Doctor Visit: River's doing great, heartbeat is 149 and I'm dilated one cm! Not much, but hey, I'll take it! Other than that, everything is moving forward fine.

Guesstimates on Due Date:
Me: March 16th
Zack: March 12th
Nola (River's cousin): March 13th
MamaB (River's Great-Grandmother): March 4th (aka my birthday and today... she still has sometime, but I don't think that's going to happen lol).

How I'm Feeling: Exhausted. Sore. Irritable. Excited. You name it and I have probably felt that emotion this week. Mainly though I'm just getting impatient for River's arrival. I'm also dealing with false labor pains, which really suck, by the way. I've been trying to clean my house like crazy, and every time I get somewhere on it I have intense pains in my abdomen and hips. Definitely not fun, and some last long enough for a mini-freak out, but thankfully I have a great Hubs who is there to calm down and talk me through it.

Unwanted Advice Rant: Okay, so I'm just gonna say it. Ladies... if we're not family or friends that speak and see each other on a regular basis, then chances are, I don't want your baby/ labor advice (unless of course, I specifically ask for it). Seriously, I always thought this was just one of those things that people blew out of proportion, but it's not! I can not even begin to tell you the amount of times someone has tried to talk to me like I have no idea what I'll be doing in a few weeks when River arrives. I didn't go into this blind. River was planned which means I made sure that I was confident enough in myself to handle this.

Now, after all that, I know that I'm a *little* hormonal, and that a lot of this advice is coming from a good place... but how many times did you (as a new mother) want to punch someone in the face for giving you unwanted advice? A lot right? And this isn't really directed towards the people with good hearts who are just trying to be sweet (well, not all of it anyway). But for the love of all that is holy, if you feel like you need to give advice, think twice. Make sure it's something relevant and not something I've probably been told a hundred times. A good example of great advice: "Do you guys have a Rock-N-Play? Because those things are a life saver!" An example of "bad" advice that makes me want to shank you: "Don't be one of those moms that are obsessed with germ-x, she has to be exposed to germs at some point!"  See the difference?

Movement: Hiccups! Hiccups! Hiccups! And since River is so big now, when she does decide to kick or move around it can get pretty painful... like she's taking out a rib or two.

Special Gifts for River this Week: My sweet aunt and uncle (and their adorable little trio of girls) had River made this beautiful (and oh so soft) monogrammed blanket.

Cravings: Mostly water these days. I'm not really having any specific cravings anymore, mainly because I'm not staying as hungry as I was. In fact, I feel more nausea coming back then anything.

Surprises: Last week the lovely ladies that I work with threw me a work shower! I had no idea and was thrilled with all the decorations, cake, and presents!

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