Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fast and Furious - Sis's Birth Story

Baby Sis arrived yesterday, beautiful and perfect, after a labor that started out very ho-hum and ended up with a crazy fast finish.  I had agreed to be induced yesterday morning, fully believing that she would arrive before then.  Of course she didn't, so we got ourselves all ready and came on over to L&D.  

Because of my history of a c-section with Miss, it isn't safe for me to be induced with pitocin.  That is entirely fine with me, as I would prefer not to have medication said to make contractions even more painful than they are naturally.  So, for me, an induction consisted of having my water broken and hoping labor would start.  I felt pretty confident that it would.  In fact, I was surprised by how slowly it got going.  I kind of expected the contractions to start up right away.  They didn't.  But once they did, things happened fast.

My doc came up and broke my water at around 8am.  I had to stay in bed to be monitored for an hour.  

Then I could get up and move around, though I still had to carry the monitor with me.  I put my lovely hospital-issued "track shoes" on and my husband and I got to walking.

We walked for three hours, almost nonstop.  We did have to pause for a minute after each lap around the L&D floor so our nurse could monitor Sis's heart rate, because the mobile monitor wasn't working well while I walked.  After three hours, we took a little break.  I didn't want to stop, because every time I did, my contractions, such as they were, would slow down, but we were hungry and just needed to sit for a few.  So I hung out on the labor ball, my hubby got lunch and I got some Italian ice and Jello (and snuck a few of his fries), and we took a short break.

We got up and walked some more after lunch.  Labor had started, in that I was having somewhat regular contractions, but they were pretty mild and my husband and I continued to joke and chat as we walked.  After a bit we had to stop again for monitoring because of a deceleration in Sis's heart rate, so I sat on the ball some more.  As you can see, my labor was still not too difficult at this point.

In fact, my husband and I were lamenting how slowly things were moving and trying to gear ourselves up mentally for another really long labor like Lass's.  At 1:30 the nurse said we could get up and walk again but she wanted to check my progress first.  I didn't really want her to, because I just knew I had not progressed much, but I let her anyway because I'm cooperative like that.  I was only 5cm.  I had been 4cm when I started at 8am.  This did not encourage me.

But things began to change rather quickly after that.  We got up and walked a bit more, though I think we only made it one and a half laps or so.  We were going much more slowly and I was having to stop for each contraction.  The contractions were coming much more closely together and I told my husband we needed to go back to the room.  When we got there I sat back on the ball and things got serious.

We weren't joking and chatting anymore, and by about 2:30 it was all I could do to stay focused through each contraction.  As he was during my labor with Lass, my husband was awesome.

I decided I wanted to try something different, so I asked to get into the tub.  The nurse again said she wanted to check me before I did.  I was feeling kind of discouraged and thinking I was not going to be able to continue without an epidural the way things were going if she told me I hadn't progressed much, but I agreed to let her check me.  As soon as I stood up, she almost didn't need to.  I immediately had an overwhelming, all-consuming need to push.  This urge came with two conflicting but equally strong thoughts, "Oh my gosh this is pure torture!" and "Woohoo!  I'm almost done!"  The nurse checked me and sure enough, I was ready to get the job done.  Unfortunately, the room was not set up and my doctor wasn't there, so I had to wait a bit before I was allowed to.  This was the worst part.  My husband and nurse kept reminding me how to breathe to keep myself from pushing.  The best thing that my husband said to me, many times during that short period of intense labor, was "This will end.  Just get through this one contraction."  That was the perfect thing to say to help.  Even so, it seemed to take forever (though I'm sure it was only 10 minutes or so) before everything was ready and my doctor was there.  Two or three contractions later, Sis was born!

Then she peed on me.

Born at 3:06 pm.  9 lbs, 7 oz, 20 inches of gorgeous.  As you can see she is just perfect.

I am going home later today after my husband gets off work.  I can't wait to see my big girls and let them meet their baby Sis.  I am so thoroughly blessed.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Boa and a Bike Helmet

We're still waiting.

This is the longest I have been pregnant without being in labor.

My labor with Miss started on the third day after my due date at about 9 or 10 in the morning.  She was born at 5:11 PM that day.  My labor with Lass started on the third day after my due date at about 5:30 in the evening.  She was born the next afternoon at 1:38.

It's now 9:40 pm on the third day after my due date.  I'm not stressing out about still being pregnant.

But I am getting a bit anxious.  Just wondering and waiting.

As I type this, I'm having contractions, but they aren't very strong and not at all regular.  Nothing to get excited about.

I know she has to come soon though, so I'm trying to be as ready as I can.  I'm obsessively giving more instructions than necessary to my Mom for taking care of the girls while I'm in the hospital.  I'm checking and rechecking the contents of my hospital bag.  I'm making lists.  I'm doing laundry and taking out recycling.  I'm also sleeping in and taking naps, thanks to my parents and my husband.

And of course, I'm waiting. Maybe I ought to be walking on my treadmill instead?  I'll try that tomorrow, if I make it that far.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Waiting Can Be Fun

We're having a big time with Grandma and Grandpa.

I'm so glad my parents were able to come up a bit early and wait with us here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Here Again

A due date.  Yesterday.  Passed me by.  Having given birth to both of my older girls past their due dates, I really did not expect Baby Sis to come before her due date.  In fact, I made lots of plans in the past few days, like coffee with a friend on Wednesday, book club on Thursday, and a play date yesterday morning.  Now though, I'm taking it easy.  No plans for a while, as I feel like we're really in waiting mode now.  

My husband and I have traditionally gone out for a date night on my due date.  We went to a nice restaurant on Miss's due date, February 15, 2009.  She was born on the 18th.

On Lass's due date, August 20, 2010, we went to a more casual restaurant.  She arrived on the 24th.

Last night we stayed home and got Jimmy Johns.

I had planned for a babysitter so we could go out this time too, but then plans changed.  In a great way. The reinforcements arrived.  My parents.  My girls are in Grandma Heaven.  I am too, for that matter.

So this weekend, we're just taking it easy.

We're enjoying some rain, but looking forward to sunny days coming soon.

Very soon, our Baby Sis will arrive.  We are all eager to meet her.  Happy weekend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Does One Really Need for a New Baby?

I know several people who have recently become first time parents, or are about to become first time parents in the next few months.  Some of these people have asked me for my opinion or advice on a few things, including a few questions about the items that are really necessary for a new baby.  That, plus the fact that I'm about to have another baby myself, have had me thinking recently about just what a new parent really does need for baby.  Of course, there are the obvious things, clothing, diapers, a place to sleep, etc.  But in thinking about the things that really made my life easier, I came up with the following list and wanted to share (plus, this is a fun excuse to post some old photos of my girls).  

1. A few good swaddle blankets.  I have always preferred the blankets that fasten in some way, like with velcro (this one is Kiddopotomus).

This one is my personal favorite, The Miracle Blanket.  These are like little baby straight jackets and were the only swaddle that my girls couldn't wiggle right out of.

These Halo sleep sacks with the velcro swaddle wrap are nice too.

I have lots of Aden and Anais swaddle blankets too, but I usually use those for other purposes.  I always just found the regular blankets to be too easy for my girls to wiggle out of.  I love swaddling.  Both of my girls were pretty great sleepers, and I attribute this at least in part to swaddling (it helped that they were also both pretty huge and big eaters).  I also found that sometimes when my girls would just get fussy and I couldn't seem to soothe them in other ways, swaddling often helped calm them right away.  It was the perfect way to get Lass to settle when she would get fussy in the evenings.  I know not everyone is a fan, but great swaddling blankets are a must-have here.

2. A video monitor.  We started out with a regular audio monitor with Miss.  I had read a book that said that video monitors weren't worth the money and recommended just getting a good sound-only monitor.    At some point before Lass was born, the monitor I had wasn't working very well, so I decided to replace it with a video monitor.  I am so happy I did.  Not only is is great for keeping an eye on a newborn, but it is fantastic for watching a toddler too. When Miss transitioned to her big girl bed, it was fabulous.  We take them with us when we travel and have broken two monitor screens this way, but I have continued to replace them because they are such a great tool to have.

3. A swing or bouncy seat, or both if possible.  Miss loved her bouncy seat.  She would fall asleep in it when nothing else worked.  She had her days and nights mixed up for a bit, and liked to wake up and want to play at 3 am.  My husband and I spent many nights, half awake, bouncing her back to sleep in her bouncy seat.  Lass was a swing baby.  That swing could get her to sleep so easily.  These items were so helpful with the girls that my husband used to take them apart and we'd travel with them on road trips.  We even put the disassembled bouncy seat in a suitcase on more than one occasion when flying somewhere with Miss.

4. A good nursing pillow.  Especially if you're new to breastfeeding, and/or with a tiny baby who is new to nursing, a good pillow is such a help.  I always have one right at my rocker in my baby's room for night time nursing especially.  I have been known to doze off while nursing and the pillow helps keep baby in place.  My favorite is the Boppy though I know some people swear by the "My Breast Friend" pillow.  I tried that one and didn't like it much.  Plus the Boppy is good for tummy time and helping with sitting too.

5. A Bumbo.  Speaking of sitting, a Bumbo is just an awesome little thing to have once baby is old enough to use it.  I think both of my girls were able to sit in it around 3-ish months.  I used it for feeding both of my girls when they first started solids.

I also found it to be a great way for Lass to be able to be upright and part of the "action" with her sister before she was actually able to sit up on her own.

 6. A good carrier.  Okay, everyone has different preferences when it comes to baby carriers.  I started out with a Bjorn and a Moby Wrap and a ring sling.  I never found the Bjorn to be comfortable, and the ring sling just didn't work for me at all.  I liked the Moby, but since it was stretchy, I couldn't use it for long before my girls were too big for it.  I eventually found that my favorite carrier for teeny tiny newborns is a woven wrap.  The one I have is a Babyette.

And my favorite carrier of all time is the Ergo.  I love my Ergo.  It is so comfortable, even when worn for hours, like when Miss went on her first antiquing expedition with my mom and me.

And it is a carrier that my husband can and will wear too.

It even works for hiking.

And when you've got more than one babe in the mix, it is essential.  Before she was mobile, I could carry Lass and still be quite active with Miss.

I've also tried a Mei Tai style carrier, which I've never gotten comfortable with, and a few different slings, like the Hot Sling.  I don't love the Hot Sling, as I don't find it to be super comfortable, and I am just not comfortable using a sling with a tiny one.  But, the Hot Sling was great to use during the first six or so months of my second two pregnancies.  It allowed me to wear Miss, and then Lass, once I couldn't wear the Ergo anymore because of my belly (I've never been very good at a back carry and found the hip carry to be uncomfortable), since I could carry the girls above the belly with the sling.

7. An upright, freestanding immobilization device.  For us, this has been our excersaucer.  I love this thing.  Miss used to sit in it in the garage while we worked out.

Both Miss and Lass have spent many shower times in this thing. It allowed me to take a shower with my baby/toddler in sight and unable to get into things, so I didn't have to waste precious nap time minutes with showering.

And this past summer I discovered the portable/outdoor version of this.

I occasionally used it at home, but it was most useful when out and about.

I took it to the pool and used it as a high chair for Lass.  I took it to outdoor concerts, parks, etc.  It folds up like a lawn chair and has a bag with a strap to carry it.

Okay, so those are my essentials.  Each of the above things made my life with a tiny one, and then a toddler plus a tiny one, much easier.  I had to learn what would work and what didn't through trial and error, but I am so glad I discovered each of these things.  I know not everyone will think these items are important, and others will have their own lists of essentials.  So, feel free to share.  What things did you find essential to surviving the early months of parenting or of adjusting to two or more babes?