Saturday, August 28, 2010

Heading Home

Today I checked out of the hospital. It was a tough decision to leave Louise, but until her breathing slows and she can breastfeed all I could do was sit by her side every few hours. I've also been an emotional mess, unable to eat or sleep so going home was important for my health too. It was wonderful to see my mom and Ainsley and I'll be heading back to the hospital in a few hours to drop off some more milk I've pumped and to see my sweet girl. She is starting to really improve. Her breathing is slowing, all of her bloodwork is normal and her supplemental oxygen continues to be lowered as she becomes less dependent on it. She is opening her eyes more and more, rooting like crazy and loving her pacifier. I can't wait to feed that hungry tummy of hers. Hopefully early tomorrow. The latest prediction/hope is that she'll be coming home late on Monday. Please keep her in your prayers as her little body works and rests to get healthy so she can come home. Thank you for all of the support!

Louise Adele: The First Days

Even though Louise weighed in at a healthy 7 lbs. 11 ozs (can you even imagine how big she would have been had I carried her to her due date?) she was covered in vernix from being on the early side so we opted to give her a bath sooner rather than later. After the bath the nurse noticed that she was breathing very fast. Her little chest was going up and down at an incredible rate. At the time no one was overly concerned. She could either have been chilled from the bath or was still going through transition (from living in a watery womb to dry land) and just trying to fill her lungs (not uncommon for a baby born so quickly).

They handed her back to me and we snuggled and tried to get some rest. I was growing increasingly concerned that Louise didn't want to nurse. She also wasn't opening her eyes at all and was SO quiet. Part of me was excited to have a more docile infant on our hands and the other part sensed that something was off.

Around 2am the nurses came back in to check both Ainsley and I. What we had thought was just more bruising on her face from a quick birth turned out to be blue lips and that coupled with her still fast breathing was cause enough for the nurses to take her down to the nursery for further evaluation.

They came back about 15 minutes later without Louise. Her oxygen levels were bordering on low so they were giving her supplemental oxygen and keeping her in the nursery for observation while they waited for a call back from our pediatrician about what to do next. Our doctor ended up ordering a chest xray and some blood work. The chest xray showed that Louise had some fluid in her left lung and this was why she was breathing so quickly. This was most likely amniotic fluid that, while expelled easily in most babies during the slow decent through the birth canal and in the first cries after birth, did not expel because of Louise's rapid decent and her lack of crying right after birth. There was also a slight chance that it was pneumonia or an infection.

The initial bloodwork all came back normal. Her heart sounded great and she was responding well to the oxygen. She got an IV for fluids (sadly she can't eat while she's breathing so hard) and antibiotics just in case of an infection (the won't know for 48 hours if she has one because of the test they're waiting on). She's getting supplemental oxygen through her nose, and has monitors for her heartrate, breathing and oxygen level. I couldn't be in the room when they were hooking her all up. It's one of the hardest things I've had to see.

That first night that she spent in the nursery was hard. I got no sleep and kept returning to the nursery to sit by her side, then would have to leave when tears took over. I felt like we weren't getting many answers to what was wrong. No one seemed overly concerned, but no one was reassuring us either.

In the morning Ian headed home to say hi to Ainsley and get us some coffee. Ainsley and my mom came to visit around 11 but sadly could only see Louise through the window in the nursery. She was all hooked up to monitors and tubes so it was hard to see her. I was so upset that Ainsley didn't get to properly meet her new sister. I had been looking forward to that for months.

The rest of that day remains a blur. I was in more pain postpartum than I remember being in with Ainsley (I'm told this is normal for second and subsequent babies/births). I was taking a lot of motrin and utilizing hot packs for my stomach and back. Typically a new mom would be spending her first hours in bed nursing and holding her newborn and I was trekking back and forth between the nursery and our room.

They move me to a postpartum room a little after dinner time. It was depressing to leave the nice big abc room for a college dorm look a like. Ian headed home to help put Ainsley down and spend the night as there was no bed for him in the new room. This was the worst night. I completely fell apart. Thank goodness for my amazing husband who came back to sit with me for a while and a wonderful nurse who took the time to sit down with me and listen and give me a hug.

It was excruciating to go to the nursery and see my daughter all hooked up to machines. The urge to hold her and feed her and comfort her was overwhelming and I was completely helpless to do anything for her. I kept hoping that at each visit something would have changed, improved, but everything seemed to stay the same. She was stable but not really improving. What had started out as an assumed brief stay to stabilize her breathing was turning into an unknown amount of time for recovery.

Around 3am I finally had a moment with her. She was starting to show signs of hunger (talk about heartbreaking when you're breastfeeding and aren't allowed to feed your baby) and the nurses gave her one of their pacifiers. She wasn't liking it. I walked as fast as I could back to my room and got her a soothie pacifier that Ian had brought from home. She loved it. I got to sit there with my daughter sucking away on my finger inside the pacifier, with her eyes wide open. I just talked to her and sang to her and felt like her mom for the first time since she was born.

I felt uplifted because she looked so good. Her color had improved, she was alert and active. Things were looking up.

Still the vagueness of the situation was the hardest for me. When was she going to get to come home? If she had TTN (amniotic fluid in the lungs) most babies recover within 3 days, but it can take as long as 7. It all depends on the baby and how they recover.

Fast Forward 2 days...

I am still upset by the vague timeline of Louise's arrival home. The neonatologist predicted 1-2 more days last night but then they discovered that she's jaundiced this morning and will need to be under the lights for at least 24 hours. I feel like there is always something new.

Ian and I got to hold her this morning which was amazing. She has been taken off oxygen and assuming she is infection free (which they think she is) and her breathing continues to stabilize she could be eating as early as tonight. Once she can eat 1-1.5 oz. and everything else is stable she can come home. I am so hopeful for tomorrow evening. While holding her was amazing it almost made it harder (like a drop of water to a man dying of thirst - my mom said). I got a taste of what "normal" with her could be and it took all the strength I had not to tuck that baby under my shirt and run out the door.

While I am so thankful for the technology to help her and other sick babies I am increasingly frustrated with the system of care. The nurses are unable to give us much information for fear of misleading us or giving us false hope. The doctors are only in sporadically and unless we catch them to talk to them ourselves we get only vague second hand information. Everyone keeps telling us how much she is improving and how good she looks so WHY CAN'T SHE COME HOME?!!!

While we were holding her her stats were all perfect. I am so confident that if they would just let me feed her, see that she can handle it (I know she can, she sucks on that pacifier like a champ and her poor lips are so cracked from dryness) that she could come home. I am so fearful that because of some dumb technicality or shortness of staff she'll have to stay longer than she needs to. I want her home the second she's ready. 1am, I'm there to take her home. But it doesn't work that way and I'm really upset about that.

I'm hopeful that we'll get more good news tonight when we go back. It's been a rough morning after seeing her and my heart aches to be with her. I'm trying to keep myself busy by putting the finishing touches on decorations for her room but it's hard. My mind is always with her and when she does get home I'm looking forward to hogging her completely.

I have more to say but this is getting long. I'll keep everyone updated once we hear more.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Louise Adele: The Birth

Oh the irony that is my life.

I woke up on Thursday August 26th feeling exceptionally confident. Only one more day to get through until full term day. I decided to seize the moment (and burst of energy) and spent the morning cleaning the house with my mom and Ainsley. After breakfast my mom got Ainsley ready to go on a few errands. Feeling a bit wiped from all of the moving around I opted to relax on the couch while they were out. The mild contractions that I had been feeling throughout the morning did not subside with my halt in activity and intake of mass amounts of water, as per usual. Still, I wasn't too concerned.

Around 11 I called Ian. Something was feeling different. The contractions were SO frequent, still rather mild, but relatively regular. Ian prompted me to call the midwives. I did and Amy (the midwife on call and fellow Ole grad) asked me to come in and get checked. Around 12:30 Ian and I showed up at the midwives and discovered that I was 3-4 centimeters dilated, entering active labor. "you have got to be kidding me!" was all I could think. ONE DAY before the baby was considered full term and I go into labor. ONE DAY!!!

I of course was still in denial. After so long and so many false labors, no way this was the real deal. After monitoring me and the baby (who sounded great!) Amy found that I was having regular strong contractions ever 2-3 minutes. They just apparently didn't feel that strong to me.

As I was coping well and just 3-4 Amy sent us home to wait until things progressed a little. After about an hour at home filled with nervous packing and repacking of bags we headed to the hospital. I was at 6cm. We headed to the ABC (alternative birthing center) room where I expected things to move pretty fast. (side note - even though Louise was technically one day premature, we fudged the numbers so I could use the abc room and tub) After over 4 hours of labor I was only at 7. Every once in a while I'd have a real good contraction that I'd have to breath through, but for the most part it was still very manageable. I decided it was time for some pain.

As I was having back labor walking was the most painful/uncomfortable so I paced the room and even squatted into the contractions trying to get my water to break because I knew this would speed things along. When nothing was happening Amy broke my water and almost instantaneously the contractions intensified 1000 fold.

I had to grip Ian's hand and lean into him while standing and swaying to get through them. After about 2 or 3 of these I was starting to feel the baby move down=TREMENDOUS pressure and knew I needed to get into the tub soon.

I LOVE the tub. While the contractions themselves were horrific I was able to move so easily from side to side and around if need be to cope with them and in between contractions I could just float and let my body completely relax.

After a handful of these transitional contractions I felt the urge to push. On the first push she crowned, on the second her head was out, on the third her body. Amy lifted her up onto my chest and Ian and I reveled in the beauty of our sweet baby girl.

My water was broken at 7:40pm and Louise greeted the world at 8:15. Yes. I went from a 7 +1 station to giving birth in just over a half hour. Needless to say the poor child was in complete shock and rather severely bruised on her head from descending so quickly. She came out with such force that I truly thought she was ripping through me.

Ian went with her to the warming station where she cried a bit and opened her eyes. I was in quite a bit of pain still as the placenta hadn't separated and I was still having (much more mild) contractions. I got out of the tub with Amy's help and got onto the bed where I delivered the placenta and held Louise. Everything had gone so smoothly and well, until Louise got her first bath...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I had false labor AGAIN this morning. From 4:30am until about 8 I had pretty regular moderately painful contractions that were 5-7 minutes apart. After eating some breakfast and giving in to laying down again they went away. I'm 0-2 I guess.

While I am definitely excited to "get the party started" and have this baby I'd still rather she hang on a bit longer. I really don't want to have her labeled premature, even though the midwife at my appointment Monday assured me that since I'm SO close to full term they'd probably consider me and the baby as such. Just for my piece of mind though after all we've been through, I want to carry this baby to at least 37 FULL weeks, 38 would be even better. I mean who doesn't want a little cute baby chub on their newborn?

My mom and I are making big plans for Friday, Full Term Day! I'm thinking lunch out somewhere and maybe even an errand and a walk up the block to witness Ainsley and her new obsession, trains!

I love that Ainsley can be such a girly girl, (she LOVES clothes, makeup, shoes, looking at herself in the mirror and playing with her dolls - she now insists that they are dolls, not babies) and at the same time is into a lot of more traditionally "boy" things like cars, sirens, horns, and TRAINS! I may have to look into a train set for her for Christmas?

Back to the baby coming...

My biggest hurdle is still going to be just getting back into any semblance of shape. I get so sore from even the slightest activity and am really worried about the recovery from birth. I am hoping to be able to do at least a little of some of my yoga videos and some walking before the baby comes. Just being upright is difficult. I have been getting some bad headaches from finally sitting up more.

I'll keep posting as new news arises. Hopefully things will stay pretty status quo for at least a few more days!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I have my 36 week appointment tomorrow. I'll be 37 weeks (full term!) on Friday, that's a mere 4 more days on bedrest. I can hardly believe it's almost here!

I thought I was going into labor last night. I had about 2 hours worth of painful contractions and in general feeling icki-ness which thankfully subsided around midnight so I could get some sleep. I am still really sore in general and will be thankful to make it to full term. I maintain that this baby could come at any minute.

Poor Ainsley has a bad cold. She is completely stuffed up and has started getting a cough. Other than being up a bit at night with discomfort she's been a real trooper. She's started putting two words together. Her new favorite is to sing "nighnight ..... (baby, dada, mama, gaga, arm, shirt, anything really) over and over. It's adorable. She's started entertaining us with her keyboard skills and rhythmic dancing after she's done eating and we're still at the table during dinner. Also pretty ridiculously cute.

I have had more and more moments recently of realization that soon we are going to have two babies (Ainsley would hate that I'm calling her a baby) instead of one and the implications of that on our everyday life. As my mom has been here for FOREVER I'm expecting her to see her new granddaughter, get a good snuggle in and bolt for home. Ian is hoping to be able to take off a week or so of work right after the baby is born, but then I'm on my own.

I feel like I had just gotten the hang of a good routine with Ainsley. While she always slept well at night and we definitely had some semblance of a routine during the days, it was ever changing with her nap schedule until she hit a year old and started napping just once a day. Now we're going to throw a newborn into the mix and it could (will) get interesting. I am most anticipating the changes in running simple errands, like getting groceries (Ainsley doesn't like sitting in the cart anymore...great timing) and being able to do the activities that Ainsley and I used to partake in together (library storytimes, muskigarten, playing at the park, going for walks and jogs).

At the same time I am excited at the prospect of being less neurotic and frantic than I was when Ainsley was first born. I feel like we didn't leave the apartment for the first 2 months of her life. This new baby is going to have to adapt quickly, and if she doesn't I am going to have to not care if she's fussy because Ainsley needs to stay active and I need my sanity in getting out of the house at least once a day.

I am trying not to think about how life is going to change too much. I haven't bought a double stroller yet mainly because a. the stroller I'm jonesing after is ridiculously expensive (a Bob double jogger) and b. I'm looking forward to fully utilizing my hotsling with the new little one (have I mentioned how much I LOVED my hotsling with Ainsley?) As I have mentioned before I firmly believe that things work out in the end how they are meant to. Ian and I are thrilled to be expanding our family and no matter how hard it is at times or how tricky some changes may be it will of course be worth it.

It helps that I have seen a lot of other parents in my same boat. Sleeping babies in their carseats accompanying their toddler siblings to storytime and music class. Babies in slings with other children in the carts at the grocery store. Frantic new moms with disheveled looks trying to stay awake at the park. I'm going to be one of those moms! and soon! I can hardly wait.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ants in My Pants

I am SO bored. A feeling I have not experienced in, how old is Ainsley? approximately 20 months.

I have been feeling pretty good, and increasingly confident that we're going to make it full term so I made the grave mistake of sitting up too much the past few days (yes sitting, not running, doing yoga, lifting heavy objects, but sitting) and I'm paying for it now, big time.

I seriously don't think I've ever been this sore in my life. Ok, maybe that first day after giving birth was worse, but I'm not joking, it's bad.

Thankfully I got my last order of yarn in the mail yesterday which at least got me motivated for a while to start some new projects (the christmas stockings are going by the wayside for the time being) but now I've knit straight for the past 24 hours and my hands are all cramped up. I've also started waking up really early (4:00am yesterday and 5:30 this morning) which means more hours in the day to fill with...NOTHING!

I at least put my sitting up time to good use. I finally made the three animal silhouette wall hangings for the baby's room and started cutting out pieces to make her name banner. It's going to be tricky to do this and keep her name a secret from my mom, not to mention while lying down, but I'm determined. My mom got some great stacking baskets for me from the container store this morning and I finished organizing the nursery paraphernalia.

I forgot how much stuff even a tiny little new born needs. I was fitting all of the burp cloths into one basket remembering how much Ainsley used to spit up. I hope, both for her and my wardrobes sake, that this new one isn't a barfer.

I am most excited to use the newborn cloth diapers. As Ainsley's still in the one-sizers we opted to get some newborn ones so both babies could be in cloth. We had bought a few to try out with Ainsley (because she didn't fit into the one sizers until she was 4 months old) but I didn't really get the hang of the whole wash and wear cycle until she was a good 2 months old. I'm excited to use these ones right from the get go.

I'm 36 weeks tomorrow and look every day of it. I am always surprised when I see myself in the mirror. My belly is HUGE. I'll try and get a new photo up in the next couple of days.

I have an appointment with the midwives on Monday where we get to discuss the birthplan. I'm excited at the prospect of getting to plan something for the birth rather than show up in a panic weeks earlier than expected and pray for the best. It's really more of a formality than anything. All I remember from Ainsley's is "no drugs please, I want the tub, let me hold her right away, no goo on her eyes after she's born, keep her in our room, not the nursery". I'm loving all of this low-keyness almost within my grasp. 8 days until it's all a reality! I'm really hoping it flies by.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So Big

My mom is back in town. Such a relief as I was convinced the baby was going to come while she was gone (that is of course the sort of thing that would happen to me). Thank goodness baby girl is still tucked in tight and while I maintain that it feels like she's going to come sooner rather than later, I am thankful for that.

Ainsley had a rough day on Monday. She was up at 3am asking for her "bar" and "clues clues" (Blues Clues). After an hour of trying to get her to go back to sleep Ian crawled back into bed in defeat. I decided that since insomnia was keeping me up anyways I would give in just this once and take her downstairs. After a bar and 15 minutes of her show she was out cold on the couch. When picking her up to take her back upstairs my huge belly knocked over my half full water glass and I had to put down my now awake toddler to clean up. Oh the life of a clumsy pregnant lady. At least Ainsley went right back to sleep.

We still have no idea why she woke up. Let's hope this isn't a new phase right in time for the new baby.

Other than regressing a bit with the sleep that one night and wanting her pacifier all the time Ainsley continues to amaze me with the speed of her growth. My mom commented that just in the days she was gone Ainsley looks older. Her hair is getting so long and with that long and lean physique she inherited from her dad she has lost that chubby baby appearance almost all together.

Her ever growing vocabulary and ability to understand and communicate is what continues to astound me. Yesterday she was looking through her bookshelf and pulled out the music pamphlet from her musikgarten class, opened it up, started to "sing" and walked over to the keyboard to put it on the stand and proceeded to "play" the music. While I do play with her a fair amount on the keyboard I was amazed that all on her own she recognized that this was not a normal book, but sheet music.

My mom had to run out with Ainsley yesterday afternoon to get a few last minute groceries for dinner and when she returned she said that the whole way home Ainsley was talking about giving me "kisses" and "hugs". When she came back she ran up to me with a big smile and said "hug!" and gave me a big one around my neck. Talk about cute. She's never said hug before!

Ainsley has also turned into a one woman show. We've had a fair share of visitors over the past few weeks and while it may take a few minutes for the initial shyness to wear off, watch out when it does! She starts doing all her tricks, including, but not limited to, running, twirling, dancing, walking backwards, walking on her tip toes, smelling her feet and making an ick face. She cracks herself up and fake laughs when we are laughing about something that she doesn't quite grasp. It's hilarious.

Last night when Ian was getting ready to take her upstairs she lunged for me then turned to push Ian out of the way if the lunging weren't clue enough. This is the first time in a while that she's "chosen" me over him. I must say it felt nice, especially seeing as I haven't been able to hold her in so long (and it's been even longer since she's been able to sit on my lap to read a book or comfortably snuggle).

On the flip side Ainsley is definitely entering that "terrible twos" stage. She throws her food and sippy cup when she's done with them, clearly just to get a reaction out of Ian or I. She can be very destructive, climbing up onto the dining room table and terrorizing the plants and flowers that my mom has filled out house with. So far she is relatively easy to tame with an activity, book, or song. It's been hard to be consistent with any sort of discipline as I can't follow through like I normally would. She's going to have a rude awakening when I'm off bedrest!

I love that little girl like crazy and I know that she's the main reason why bedrest has gone by relatively quickly. I have my own little entertainer! I had heard from people that subsequent pregnancies go by so much faster because you already have a little one, or two, running around. While the tailbone/back pain and discomfort feel the same with this pregnancy (OUCH!) it has definitely flown by despite everything. I can't believe that this baby will be here in a matter of weeks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baby Ainsley

After dinner tonight Ian took Ainsley to the park to put those last energy bursts of hers to good use. Upon their return he informed me that she had a new phrase "nigh night baby". This is actually a song that my mom sings to her frequently. When prompted she sang the phrase and my heart melted. She has always been enamored with music and songs, like most babies I assume, but has just recently started singing all on her own. Twinkle twinkle little star and the isty bitsy spider are also in her repertoire.

I have felt so far removed from parenting lately. Being limited to activities that can be done while lying down on the couch has greatly diminished what we can do together. Ainsley has been wonderful though. She has done so well with my mom, and everyone who has stopped by. She is growing so independent and self assured.

One advantage to my couch activity limitation is that Ainsley knows to come to me when she's tired, or wants to snuggle. At least once a day I'll play her favorite computer game with her (the abcs on, if not a bit repetitive after a while, probably why Ainsley loves it). She also toddles over with a book or two to read over and over and if she's really tired she'll snuggle to watch a show. Today she fell asleep in my arms while we watched our umpteenth episode of Blues Blues (thank goodness for instant netflix). I try to cherish these moments as much as I can because I know all too soon it will be harder and harder to get these quiet moments with just Ainsley, or heck, find the time to lay down at all. I'm feeling a bit emotional tonight about Ainsley growing up, and losing my quality time with her.

One thing that all of this bedrest really robs me of (other than muscle mass and sanity) is the adjustment period of pregnancy. I remember with Ainsley the transition from "don't come yet, don't come yet" to "PLEASE COME RIGHT NOW" was overnight and jarring and when she actually was born I was in denial until she was about a week old. With this baby I feel like I've had even less time to actually come to terms with having another baby. I still have to be in the "don't come yet" state of mind, when in a normal pregnancy I would be long into the "can't wait to meet you, so excited you're almost here" phase.

I have been trying to start switching states of mind slowly because I want to be mentally prepared for this baby. Ainsley's birth happened so fast and unexpectedly that I didn't feel like I was really present for her first moments. I have a hard time recalling anything other than the shock of what was happening. I mean for goodness sakes the child's head was bruised from shooting through the birth canal (the midwife likened it to a plinko chip charging down a plinko board on the price is right...great analogy). While I have been told by numerous people how lucky I am to have had such a swift first experience with childbirth I don't think many people consider the flip side. I had no time to adjust. From the moment my water broke (at home) to the time Ainsley was born was 1.5 hours. I had to go through the whole triage monitoring business while in transition, talk about traumatic. In retrospect I am actually glad that I had to go back to the hospital for the steroid shots a few weeks ago so that I could see the hospital again because I don't remembers it at all. I was there for less than 24 hours with Ainsley. This time I am hoping to recognize the signs of early labor and get right to the hospital so that I can check in and have a bit more of a relaxed experience. I want the midwife there the whole time rather than the last 10 minutes only. I want to remember everything vividly and while I know lack of pain medication can make this difficult I am determined. At least it gives me something to focus on right?

Alright little baby, no coming out until your Grammy gets here tomorrow afternoon. After that it's your call. I can tell that you're big and strong because I am so sore I can hardly walk and when you stretch out you are kicking both my left hip bone and my right rib. Let's hold out for the tub though please, if nothing else it will muffle mama's screams :o) Oh childbirth, I can hardly wait.

I'm hoping that post baby all of my posts won't revolve around baby related things. It's my life though, what can I say?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So close to the end... PLEASE!

Week 35. Just about out of the woods. Amazing.

I've decided that pregnancy is a lot like your senior year of high school. You start off all pumped up, optimistic and eager, quickly followed by the harsh blow of reality (in high school - tons of homework, crazy busy schedule, applying for colleges; in pregnancy - exhaustion, nausea, mourning the loss of your good friends beer and wine). Halfway through you find yourself relatively relaxed and content. "I can handle this, no big deal" You can't even dream of the graduation (birth) day that seems so far off, so removed from reality. Then comes spring. Making a decision about what to do after the impending graduation (birth), feeling all at once completely unprepared for the real world (baby) and itching to get (the baby) out. I am definitely in late spring here.

I forgot all of the little nuances of late pregnancy. I think it all gets clumped together in that "momnesia" they talk about mostly associated with the whole giving birth, recovery thing. (I have a feeling that first "real" contraction is going to be quite the rude awakening accompanied by the sentiment "I remember this...oh sh**!")

For one, I am huge. Last appointment I weighed what I weighed when I gave birth to Ainsley. I would chalk it up to a larger baby, but we don't know that yet for sure. Secondly, I feel horrible, seriously, like I have mild stomach flu all the time. I can't really complain because I never got morning sickness with either pregnancy, but heck, I'm going to complain anyways. Because of this wonderful nausea and tummy trouble I haven't had any appetite (going back to the whole being huge issue this may not be such a bad thing) but when your empty stomach is growling at you and the baby is begging for food and NOTHING sounds or tastes good and you want to throw up immediately after eating it's a little rough.

I am reminded of talking about being anxious to give birth a few posts back (or on multiple posts) and consoling myself by saying that I remember with Ainsley I reached a point where I was just done being pregnant, so done, that I could care less how much it hurt to get her out of there. Well folks, I am there...SO READY. Give me 12 more days to be officially full term and you can bet I'll be doing jumping jacks and running stairs.

I am dying to sleep on my stomach or really just lay down in any position other than on my left side. I want to eat a normal sized meal and not feel like I am going to explode. I want to enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning without the crippling heartburn that inevitable follows. And while we're on the topic of beverages, don't even get me started on how wonderfully amazing a cold pint of Newcastle or Smithwicks would taste. I want to be able to climb the stairs without shooting pains down my groin. I want to be able to see my feet when I stand up and be able to cross my legs when I sit down. I want to wear pants that button and shirts that don't stretch. Pregnancy is truly just a complete surrender of your body to your unborn child.

I have packed and repacked my hospital bag over the past weeks, sometimes to give myself something to do and other times out of necessity. I've taken out the teeny tiny preemie hat and booties I knit because even on a 5 lb baby they would be too small (thank heavens for that!) and replaced them with a going home newborn outfit and cotton hat. I've had fun going through my nursing tops and deciding which ones I'll be able to squeeze into right away. I even went through a box of shirts to find some that would work for those first few weeks when I still have a belly (I'm not even opening the pants box until the baby is a month old, too depressing otherwise).

It's getting close and I am getting so excited. It feels so good to be excited rather than terrified. The baby and I are still holding out for the tub. Yes even in the heat we've been having it's my preferred birth plan. I'm planning on sitting up a bit more in the next two weeks to get some last minute things done in the nursery and around the house (art on the walls, cleaning and organizing). I do feel like this baby will come sooner rather than later though. I can't wait to meet her!

On a completely different note, Ian and Ainsley have been outside at our neighborhood block party all morning and are having a blast. Ainsley's already gotten a fat lip (she recovered well and seemed more annoyed to have to come inside briefly to get cleaned up than she was about the injury) and changed into her swimsuit to play in the pool that's sitting in the middle of the street. I just heard the firetruck pull up so that should be fun and she gets to eat her favorite food, HOT DOGS, for lunch. I so wish I could be out there with them. Too bad it's 95 degrees out and when I stand up for more than 5 minutes I feel like the baby is going to drop out of me.

Whoops, I was switching gears and not complaining anymore wasn't I? I'm huge, bored and pregnant. You'll forgive me right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bedrest Limbo

I have been surprised and pleased by the response to my last post. It never ceases to amaze me that my uncensored stream of consciousness writing sometimes hits a chord with others. Apparently a lot of people struggle with their own life choices as well, and the whole "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome. Good to know I'm not alone. Thanks for commenting!

My mom is leaving this afternoon to head back to Minnesota for a long weekend. After 4 full weeks of waiting on us hand and foot I think she deserves it. I keep telling her she should pack up everything, rather than just a weekend bag, in case she decides she likes her old life too much and doesn't want to come back. She's assured me she does, but I would understand otherwise.

This past week has been harder than previous weeks. Now that the baby is big enough that she would most likely be just fine if she was born (and even get to come right home!) I am struggling with lying down and taking it easy. At the beginning when I absolutely HAD to it was easy. Now that there seems to be more wiggle room it's harder.

I am still knitting a lot and enjoying watching some old favorite shows (Felicity, Friends), and some new ones (Pushing Daises), while doing so. It is growing increasingly difficult to not get up to clean and organize, especially to take care of tasks that I know won't get done for months once the baby is born (cleaning out junk drawers, my desk, the buffet etc.)

I'm obviously excited to reach full term (37 weeks, 2 weeks from tomorrow) but am preparing myself for an anticlimactic arousal from the couch. My body is completely shot and even though I won't HAVE to lay down anymore I know that I still will be sitting around a lot because I am huge and my muscles are weak from all of the laying down. I also am already starting to feel SO ready to have this baby. I am so huge and uncomfortable and I know that if I make it to 37 weeks I most likely won't have the baby right away and will be waddling around for a while still unable to do much. I still hope this is the case though, as opposed to the alternative. It's just a weird state of limbo to be in.

Ainsley was up extra early this morning (5:38) so I'm looking forward to a little nap later, other than that it will be another day of sitting and knitting. I'm currently working on a red fall sweater for Ainsley and a teal felted stocking for the new baby. I'm starting to doubt my ability and motivation to finish all of my projects before the baby comes. We'll see!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life Choices

Broad topic I know, but I'm sitting, well laying, here with nothing but time to think. Perhaps it's because today is Ian's and my third anniversary, or at any moment we will welcome our second child into the world, or most likely because I've spent way too much time on facebook and reading blogs, comparing my life to those of my peers, but its got me thinking.

My life could be in so many different places. I could have chosen to pursue a career instead of a family. I could be anywhere in the country, or the world, working hard, staying out late with friends, drinking my fair share of good wine and dark beer (oh how I miss you). I could be surrounded with my friends on a daily basis, social and exhausted for very different reasons than chasing around a 19 month old and growing another one (baby, not 19 month old....even a peanut like Ainsley would be hell to give birth to). While I am completely happy in the life that I have chosen I can't help but think what my "other life" would be like.

I miss my friends. Yesterday my mom bumped a framed picture collage I'd made while trying to navigate our twisty 85 year old staircase and baby gate and it fell to the ground and broke. I looked at it closely for the first time in a long while as it was propped on the buffet, astounded by how much my life has changed since those college years a mere 3 years ago. I feel blessed to have made many good friends in college, the kind of friends that last a lifetime. I just never realized how soon I would test those bonds by being so absent and unavailable, aka becoming a parent.

The schedule/life of a parent is completely different from that of an independent 20 something student or member of the workforce. The times when I'm available to chat are before 8am or after 8 when I never want to talk because I am bone tired and it is my only alone time with Ian. Naptime is too sacred to spent any other way than working out or napping, or eating, PERIOD. So sorry I never call, friends. Perhaps with baby #2 I'll figure something out.

I was reading a blog the other day of a girl I don't know personally, but have followed for a while, expecting her first baby in a matter of weeks. In her latest post she wrote a letter to herself in 6 months, essentially reminding herself of who she is now and prompting her soon to be mom-self to stay true to this person. I had a strong, negative, reaction to her post. People who become parents expecting nothing to change DRIVE ME NUTS. It's one thing to be naive, and another to be in blatant denial. I don't think anyone can anticipate how being a parent not only changes your day to day life but who you are, but I am here to tell you it will change you in every possible way.

Take me for example. I had been surrounded by babies and kids my whole life, self proclaimed champ babysitter/nanny, taught 7 years of summer preschool, worked as an aide for kindergarteners for a year and a half and I felt COMPLETELY unprepared for the changes when Ainsley was born.

It is hard, and not just the changing, breastfeeding, crying, soothing, exhaustion of the first few months. The changes to your life and who you are or were, are the hardest.

I remember going to a 3 day Upward Bound retreat as a transfer student counselor with a group of incoming transfer students the summer before my junior year. After days of testing both my physical and mental limits to the max I was amazing by the evaluation I was given by the UB leaders. Apparently I was a born leader, calm in trying situations, intuitive and a good problem solver. Umm, hello, have you met me in the past year and a half? I have never felt LESS of any of these things in my life. While it is helpful to look back and remember who I used to be and what I used to be capable of, my bar is set at a whole new level.

Instead of spending hours reading for fun, knitting, going for long runs when I have the urge and meeting friends for coffee, I long for a quick cat nap, an hour to myself at night before crashing, and the motivation to get through at least 2 10 minute yoga exercises. In short, life has changed.

I too have changed. While it took some getting used to, I can hardly remember what my life used to be like before Ainsley. I don't know how I entertained myself or stayed busy during the day.

I know I'm jumping all over the place here (forgive me, the lack of oxygen to my brain from lying down and advanced state of "mom brain" are apparent) but my point is simple. I chose this life and while it has been an adjustment and I suppose there's a part of me that will always be a little jealous of my friends getting to go out (or do anything) on a whim, I love my life. Nothing could be more fulfilling to me than seeing Ainsley learn and grow (she now "fake" laughs when we're laughing and is really getting into being a little prankster...such a comedian) and sharing each day with the man I love. Just a few thoughts.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Auntie Weekend

What a great weekend. Julie and Jenny came in from Minnesota for the weekend. We all had a blast. Ainsley is in love with her aunts, and Grammy too of course. Here are some snippets from the weekend.
Ainsley's new favorite game, learning letters on Her favorite letter is "e".
Getting her big toes painted by Aunt Julie. She also loves helping Grammy put on makeup in the morning, and a little eyeshadow on herself.
Sooo happy about pb&j

Friday, August 6, 2010

34 Weeks

YAY! The big milestone has been made. While we of course would prefer her to be born full term, babies born after 34 weeks tend to do as well as full term babies in the long term and since I got the steroid shots her chances of having any sort of breathing problems are that much smaller. What a tremendous relief.

I also had a great check up today. I saw Amy, my favorite of the 3 midwives, who lifted my spirits as always. Not only did I learn that she is a fellow Ole alum (um ya ya!) but she was very optimistic and upbeat about the baby. Having made it to 34 weeks I get to give birth at West Suburban which is the local hospital a mere mile away instead of the scary big downtown hospital. A midwife will deliver the baby, instead of whichever OB is on staff at the said big scary hospital. When listening to the heartbeat Amy felt the baby for size and apparently she's "not scrawny". She estimated that she's right around 5 pounds which is great news as this is the benchmark for most babies to leave the hospital. I am just so relieved I cannot even express it.

Of course now after being up so much this morning and with all of the excitement I'm definitely feeling it. My back is killing me and my stomach muscles are not happy. Lying down all the time hasn't made them work like they should and they're straining to hold up my big belly when I'm walking around. Still, I'm thankful to get to feel all of this discomfort because it means the baby is growing well and getting big and strong!

To top it all off two of my sisters are in town for the weekend (we miss you Kelly!). It's great to have so many babysitters for Ainsley (I think she's forgotten that I'm even here) and distractions for me. AND as a final testament to how amazing my sisters , Julie stopped by Molly's cupcakes (I saw them featured on a cupcake show on TLC) downtown on her way back from a friend's house and brought 6 amazing delicious cupcakes. I can't wait for dessert!

Only 3 more weeks until full term!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The "normal" stuff

Things have continued to look up over the past few days. While I'm getting progressively larger, thus more sore and uncomfortable, contractions have subsided significantly and the ones I do have are very mild and sporadic. I've been able to sleep pretty well, impressive as all I'm doing is laying around all day, and my appetite is definitely back (so much so that I'm a bit nervous to get on the scale on Friday...whoops!)

As the days, and now weeks, go on I find myself returning to a more "normal" state of mind about this pregnancy, including all of the normal worries, excitements, and joys.

I'm going to be giving birth again soon...WHAT?! I've come to the realization that the bliss of the first baby is not knowing what you're getting yourself into. I know this time and I must admit it's making me a bit nervous. At the same time I know what comes after all that pain and it is the most glorious, wonderful experience in the world, meeting your child for the first time. I can't wait.

I also can't wait to nurse again, even if it means waking up to a soaked through shirt some nights, an aching chest and frequent wake up calls in the night (for as sassafras-tic as Ainsley is she's a champ sleeper and Ian and I have gotten used to a full nights sleep). I miss that special time that I had with Ainsley, just the two of us, snuggling close. I can't wait.

I've started to really envision our family of three becoming a family of four. One more body in bed in the morning, as Ainsley's taken to snuggling again just after she just wakes up. A new personality around this house, I can't wait to see who this little girl is going to be.

I'm excited to see Ainsley as a big sister and Ian as a new dad all over again. I will never forget the look on his face when Ainsley came into this world. I've never loved him more.

I've also been trying to really soak in these past few weeks with Ainsley. It's excruciating anyways not being able to pick her up or snuggle much, but knowing that these are the last weeks of just her as our baby make it that much more difficult. Her world is going to change in a few weeks and there's no way I can explain to her that we still love her as much as always and she'll always be our baby. I think she's going to be great. She is becoming such a big girl and I love watching her grow.

Family has always been the most important thing to Ian and I and I can't believe sometimes that we have been blessed with one beautiful daughter and are about to welcome another. It is truly amazing.