Friday, April 27, 2012

One Month Old

Wow, I can't believe my baby girl is a month old!  Milestones so far:

  • She's smiling and cooing more and more everyday.  It's the absolute best!
  • ...except for the day she giggled in her sleep!  So. Freaking. CUTE!!
  • She's going 3-4 hours between feedings.  The other night, she went 5 hours!  I was in heaven!!
  • She's playing by herself for about 10 minutes at a time.  She loves her play mat with toys that hang down and sitting in her Bumbo seat.
  • Baby acne has reared its ugly head. I am afraid that she will have to contend with these types of skin issues much of her life, if her parents are any indication.
  • She loves watching Wilma, our red Miniature Pinscher.  I have a few theories as to why she prefers looking at Wilma over Betty: a.) Wilma is very interested in her.  b.) Wilma is more active (Betty's kind of a bump on a log.) or c.) Wilma barks at her.  (She doesn't understand why this weird looking creature won't just get up and play with her already!!)
I'm working on getting Abbi used to sleeping in her own crib so that I can start sleep training shortly.  We're already taking baby steps to get ready, like starting a bedtime routine and only letting her nurse to sleep at night.  I'm researching options for sleep training's very overwhelming.  I will probably combine a few different methods to find what works best for us.

In other news, the hubby left this week for 6 months and we moved to be closer to family.  It's been a crazy, emotional time but God has been faithful.  We're here at this time because He planned it that way (we certainly didn't!) so we're trusting that He'll get us through.  In any case, we're taking everything one day at a time and enjoying watching our little one grow!

 Not a great picture, but it gives perspective.  Granted, it's kind of a small recliner but still...she's about 21 inches long!! (We'll find out for sure next week.)

Abbi's first time at the beach!  Looks like she's enjoying herself, doesn't it?

Thanks for all of your love and prayers during this time of transition for us!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2 Weeks Later...

A few things I've learned:
  • The puppies are doing GREAT with Abbi!  Wilma really wants to play with her...she'll crouch down and wag her tail and bark.  She just wants Abbi to chase her around!! Geez, why can't she MOVE yet?!?!
  • Witch Hazel is a girl's best friend!  Helps take down swelling when applied topically.  It rocks!!
  • I kinda feel like a heel asking Wilson to get up and change her diapers at night.  But then I remember that I'm up by myself doing everything when he has duty or underways and I get over it.  =)
  • My girl is growing fast!  Her little feet are already to to the ends of her newborn sleep and play outfits.  Crazy!
  • Cloth diapers + newborn = a whole lot of extra work.  We'll be putting those away until she's a bit older and can fit into the one-size-fits-all diapers.  We were having to change her diapers every 2 hours around the clock and she was getting rashy.  Like I said...we'll try again later.
  • I never thought a little person could have so much personality.  I find myself laughing the faces she makes every day.
  • All in all, we're having a blast with this new phase of life and our newest little addition!
 God is gracious!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Birthday Pictures!

 Just a few pictures from little Abbi's birthday!

Daddy holding his girl for the first sweet!

Please don't judge...someone had already put my hairbrush in the car.  :-/

Admiring our beautiful girl

I just love this picture!  She's so sweet!

Ok, the whole reason for this picture is the looks on mine and Wilson's faces.  Haha, we were so excited!!

Pretty dress!

Us with the midwife who delivered Abbi.  Her name is Ashley and she was WONDERFUL!!

Stay tuned for the actual birth story...It's coming, I promise.  But no pictures unfortunately.  Everything went so fast we actually left the camera in the car! All of these pictures are from my mom's camera!!  =)

*Update*: The birth story us up!  Start here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Abbi's Birth Story- Delivery

It was time. 6:18am, just me, Wilson, and the midwife, and I was finally allowed to start pushing.  I was so ready.

I pushed with each contraction, I stopped when Ashley said to, I cried out a little, I hurt SO much, and then, with a big gush, she was here. At 6:22 am, the midwife placed my baby on my stomach and all I could think was, "Oh my gosh, it's a baby.  It's a baby!"  Haha, duh, right?  Later I would find out that I had torn slightly, but right then, nothing mattered.

Wilson was busy helping the midwife do I don't know what so I had a moment to just rub my baby's little head and clean off her tiny face.  I had to actually get Wilson's attention (he was so task saturated he had to be reminded that something monumental had just happened).  And then, I lifted the blanket and looked.

"Wilson, it's a girl!"

What a moment.  He was the first to call her by her name ("Hi, Abigail!" was what he said. Original, right?) and he took her little hand and immediately fell in love.  I was still in too much shock to process anything; my head over heels moment came later when I was nursing her and my milk came in and she was mine. And I would do anything in the world for that little girl.

We just sat there, the three of us, becoming a family.  A few minutes later they would cut the cord, deliver the placenta, and I would sit up and begin the road to recovery.  I was able to nurse Abbi with very little trouble about 30 minutes after she was born.  My mom came in and helped me get a shower, then the midwife and birth assistant (who arrived about 20 minutes after I delivered) did Abbi's newborn assessment: 7lb, 2oz. 21 inches long.  Perfect in every way. A full head of brown hair, her daddy's blue eyes, and the prettiest baby any of us had ever seen.  The rest of the family got to meet her while I drank my Powerade and had a snack (including a pink cupcake!), and at 10:30am we were in the car heading back home.  Four hours after she was born. Incredible.

I took a crazy long nap that afternoon.  Bless my dear husband for entertaining our families even though he was exhausted too.  Over the next several days, Abbi would sleep mostly in the crook of my arm or on my chest while we got to know each other better.  She wasn't a fussy baby; didn't cry much even when she was first born.  To this day we always know that if she's crying, there's a reason.  She has also always eaten well.  My milk came in 2 days after she was born and thankfully we've never had any trouble on that score.  I'm still awe-struck that my body provided her with everything she needed to grow and thrive.

New life. What an amazing blessing; God is so good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Abbi's Birth Story- Labor, Part 2


The phase that every natural laboring mother dreads.  It's the point of no return. Basically, too late for an epidural, contractions overlapping at times, the most strenuous part of labor but blessedly, also the shortest.  Typically "transition" is when you go from 7 to 10cm dilated and lasts 45min-1 1/2 hours. spend anywhere from 4 to 24 hours going from 3cm to 7 and then...whammo! You get to go the last 3 cm in an hour.  It's crazy fun!

It's also where our birth story got a little interesting.  To help understand it, let's just remember how we kicked off this labor. A really powerful laxative.  So, even before the contractions hit there was some...erm...cramping going on.  Well, pretty soon after I not so subtly asked Wilson to take a back seat to this labor process I started feeling that same type of laxative-induced cramping again, along with the contractions.  I didn't think much of it. I mean, I'd been having these cramps earlier in the evening so why wouldn't I be having them again?  Well, that was all until Ashely, my midwife, strolls in and says in an amazingly sweet and soothing tone,

"So, when you get that urge to push, just try not to. Ok?"

Um...come again? Urge to what? PUSH?? I can't push! I'm only 7cm dilated!  Cue freak out moment.  My thoughts raced...If I push on a cervix that's not fully dilated, my cervix will swell and stop dilating and I'll need an emergency C-section.  I CANNOT PUSH.  That became my mental mantra. I cannot push. Whatever happens, no matter what it takes, I absolutely positively cannot push.

Easier said than done.  For those of you who've never been through natural labor and felt what the medical community so blithely calls "the urge to push", let me give you a corollary. Bear with me, it's kinda gross.  We've all had diarrhea before.  You know that uncontrollable feeling that you MUST go RIGHT NOW?  I want you to imagine that.   Now multiply it times 10.  Now...just for it again.  That's pretty much what it's like.  And they're telling me to not bear down.  Riiiiigghht...  Folks, this is not an "urge" to push.  It's a physiological incapability of doing anything else.

So in short, I tried not to push.  Wilson and I breathed deeply like they told us to in our birth classes and it just wasn't working.  And every time that little push broke through my deep breaths, I panicked a little.  Then my brilliant midwife came to my rescue again.  She said "Honey, try to breathe efffs." So we did. With every contraction, Wilson and I held hands and said "Ffffffffffffffff" over and over again.  I remember sitting in the bathtub (which was a monumental help, btw. Seriously), staring at the grout in between the tiles on the wall.  There was one intersection of grout that I squinted at and focused all my "fffffffff"s on.  And so it went.  As best I remember I succeeded in resisting the urge to push about 2/3 to 3/4 of the time.  Not too shabby.

At this point, my contractions had 30 seconds or less time between them. Every once in a while one would start before the previous one had finished.  I can honestly say that I don't remember much pain during this time.  It was just so incredibly intense. I find I'm clenching my jaw and getting a little headache as I type this, remembering how intense it was.

I don't know how she decided it was time, but at about 6am, before the birth assistant had arrived, the midwife wanted to check me and see how dilated I was. I opted to let her check me out of the tub for more accuracy.  Getting from the tub to the bed was an ordeal (remember...still no time between contractions) and right as I was sitting down, I felt something.  I remember thinking clearly, "I don't know if I just peed or if my water broke." Of course, in my present state of mind, all I could actually say aloud was, "I don't know." Haha, real helpful.  And felt like I was suddenly trying to hold a ball between my knees.  Something was THERE.  So I said, "Something's there!". Ashley was trying to get me to lay back so she could check me but I was still contracting and wanted to lean forward, so she reached up and pushed me back against the bed.  And then she said the magic words.

"You're 10 centimeters."

I said, "I am?  Can I push?"

"Go ahead and push."

Oh man, was I ever ready to push.  It was just me, the midwife, and Wilson, and I was about to have a baby.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Abbi's Birth Story-Labor, Part 1

See The Backstory here.

Ok, so we got home with the *blech* castor oil and I began googling recipes.  The tricky part of this is adding enough to the 2oz you have to take to make it taste good while still remembering that you have to actually drink it.  All of it.  The best way, in my opinion, is to mix it into a small smoothie.  1/2 banana, strawberry daiquiri base (no alcohol), the castor oil, and ice...I couldn't even taste it.  Awesome!

That was at 6pm.  By 7 or 7:30 I was completely miserable.  By 8:30pm my contractions were a minute long, 4-5 minutes apart.  So, we decided to go for a walk to see if we could keep things going/speed things along.  We walked for about 30 minutes and by the time we got back the contractions were a minute to a minute and a half long, 3-4 minutes apart.  I ate something, watched some TV, and just chilled out.  At this point, nothing really hurt.  I mean, the Braxton-Hicks practice contractions I had been having for months just feel like my tummy was tightening.  No pain at all.  These contractions kinda hurt...they got my attention but didn't make me catch my breath.  Make sense?

Anywho, the contractions stayed the same for a while, gradually getting down to 1 minute long, 2-3 minutes apart but not really any stronger.  So I decided to lay down at around 1am to get a little sleep.  At 2am I woke up bolt upright.  This contraction hurt.  After another one I got up and got into the shower.  I decided to let Wilson sleep (he hadn't slept in weeks because he was so stressed waiting for the baby)...yeah, that lasted for about 15 minutes.  I got him up and started leaning on him and vocalizing through the contractions.  By 2:30 we decided to call the midwife and see if she thought it was time to come in to the birth center.  She told us to come on in and she'd check me and see if I was far enough along to stay (they want you to be at least 4cm dilated).

I don't remember much about the car ride.  I had my eyes closed pretty much all the time at this point and just wanted Wilson to stand next to me or hold my hand and talk.  It really didn't matter what he said; I just needed to pay attention to something other than the labor.  I'm pretty sure all he said from 2 to 6am was "Slow, deep breaths", "Just breathe", and "You're doing great, Babe".  Funny thing about labor...when you see women not making a lot of sense and such you assume that they aren't thinking clearly, right?  Well, for me anyway, I was actually thinking pretty clearly.  Decision making was difficult but I could totally form complete thoughts.  I just couldn't articulate them.  For instance, at one point Wilson was talking too loud so I wanted to ask him to be quieter.  But I still wanted him to talk to me.  So I said "Shhh!" and then, not 3 seconds later, "Talk!".  I wanted to say "Not so loud" or something, but I couldn't formulate the words.  Weird, huh?

Anyway, we got to the birth center at 3:30am.  The midwife, Ashley, checked me and said I was "3-4cm dilated".  She wanted me to stay for an hour or so, re-check me, and then "decide whether or not to send me back home".  I was devastated.  I couldn't imagine going back home at this point.  She wanted me to walk in between contractions; I could only make it about 3 steps before having to sit down to make it through another contraction.  They were right on top of each other!!

Apparently there were two possible reasons my contractions were so fast and furious only 8 hrs into my labor: the castor oil (obvious solution) or the baby being posterior, or sunny side up.  The midwife wanted to rule out the posterior option so she had me get on all fours for a couple of contractions.  Wowza. That was crazy uncomfortable.  All I wanted to do was sit through a contraction with my hands or elbows on my knees. Getting up on all fours was suuuper uncomfortable for me. But I did it and nothing changed so she agreed that I was in active labor and should stay.

Time flew by at this point.  Wilson had called our families and I was just getting through each contraction, one at a time.  I don't remember needing much coaching other than the midwife reminding me not to clench my hands.  I was praying between and through the contractions though.  I had spent a lot of time preparing my mind and heart for this moment.  My main concerns were:
1. For a safe labor and delivery for me and the baby
2. For an efficient labor and delivery that was as painless as a natural labor could be, and
3. That I would honor my husband throughout the process
I really didn't want to look back on this moment and remember screaming unspeakable things to this man that I had pledged to love and respect.  That was very important to me and I can honestly say that I looked to him for support and he showed up 100%.  He was incredible.

Sometime around 5am I was going through a contraction with Wilson right where he had been for every other contraction, squatting in front of me with his hands on my knees speaking encouragement to me.  It hit me: I didn't want him touching me.  I very swiftly pushed his hands away and he got up and sat down in a chair a few feet away from me. (Come to find out, he was really relieved to get a reprieve at this point!) I immediately started apologizing in my confused half-sentences.  I guess he understood. I felt really bad but I just didn't want him right there anymore.  The midwife saw it and offered to start the jacuzzi for me.  Turns out, I had hit Transition and the fun was really beginning!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Abbi's Birth Story- The Backstory

So, I was 2 weeks overdue.  Yeah.  It sucked.  Wilson and I were super impatient and stressed. We were doing EVERYTHING you've ever heard of to bring on labor...and some stuff you haven't heard of.  The common stuff:
  • Walking (I gave myself shin splints, bruised my foot, and got multiple blisters in the month prior to going into labor.)
  • "Quality time" with the husband...yeah, you know what I mean.
  • Sitting on the birthing ball (basically just one of those exercise balls you see women at the gym using.)
  • Using the breast pump
  • Jogging (see first point)  (Also, I'm pretty sure my neighbors were laughing behind their curtains at the hugely pregnant woman running through the neighborhood.)
  • Bumpy car rides. I'm pretty sure Wilson found every. single. speed bump. in. Jacksonville... Seriously.
  • Eating spicy, greasy food.  Besides making me feel like a fat slob, this did nothing.
And some less well-known ideas:
  • Taking Evening Primrose Oil.  It's supposed to ripen the cervix in preparation for labor.
  • Taking Red Raspberry Leaf supplements.  It supposedly strengthens the uterus to help labor go more quickly and smoothly.
  • Acupuncture.  Yeah, I did this.  It's a little weird and all but I figured, hey, what's it gonna hurt?  Well, it did hurt a little and certainly didn't bring on labor so whatever.
  • Taking a laxative.
  • Sitting on a heating pad to bring extra bloodflow to that general area of my body.
  • Drinking a half glass of wine and taking a hot bath.  Random woman on the internet #4,782 said it put her into labor so I tried it.  Nothing.
So, the day before I was 42 weeks pregnant (Wednesday, March 21) I went to the midwife.  She told me that if I hadn't gone into labor by that Friday I would be admitted to the hospital for a medical induction (break water, pitocin, etc.) so we really needed to get stuff going.  The only thing I hadn't done to try to bring on labor was take Castor Oil.  This stuff is a stimulant laxative. Basically, it speeds up your body's natural process of contracting your intestines, making you have a bowel movement.  Well, the uterus is made of the same type of muscle that your intestines are made of, so castor oil also causes the uterus to contract.  Ta-da!  Labor!!

The downside of this is it's a way of inducing labor.  It's also not super comfortable and can cause dehydration so they don't recommend you try it until the last. possible. moment.  Well, we were there, so after the midwife appointment Wilson went into Walgreen's and got me some *gag* castor oil and we went home, hoping to meet our baby soon.

Next up...Labor and Delivery!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

She's Here!

Abigail Elizabeth was born March 22 at 6:22am.  She weighed in at 7lb 2oz, and measured 19 inches long.  She is a champion eater, sleeps for 3-4 hour stretches at a time and is the most beautiful baby we've ever seen.  Ever.  Seriously.  ;-)

Stay tuned for her birth story...

*Update*: The birth story is up!  Start here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

37 Weeks!

Hello, crazy lack of updates!  Let me explain...No there is too much.  Let me sum up.

*Quick! Name that movie!*

1. We moved to Jacksonville, FL right before Christmas.  Well, I moved.  Wilson was in Rhode Island.  Moving 4 states away by yourself 8 months pregnant=Crazy fun, Navy-style.

2. I've met most of the officer's wives on Wilson's new ship.  Yay!  All of them are married to people who outrank my hubby and are therefore basically off-limits for hanging out.  Boo.

3. We're preparing for the hubs to go on deployment in April.  Fruit is in the dehydrator and beef is marinating for jerky as we speak!

4. I had a baby shower!  We had great fun and I was blessed with some amazing homemade gifts from some wonderful friends!

5. Speaking of baby, let's resume the old categories, with a few new additions mayhaps?

Slight nausea at random times.  The midwife was bewildered.  Basically, I just have to keep a little food in the tummy and we're good.  Still no cravings.  Wilson asked me this weekend when that will happen.  Haha, dude, it would've already happened!  I think he's a little bummed that he doesn't have any "I need pickles and a blue snow cone RIGHT NOW!!!" stories to tell.  So sorry, my dear.

Mah Girlish Figure
Hah!  Wilson keeps telling me that I just look like I can't get comfortable.  And he's right.  I'll be comfy for, like 10 minutes and then I need to shift.  This belly is starting to get...annoying.  We went home for a visit last weekend.  Much more feasible now that we're only 5 hours away but it was still not super fun.
Also...the baby dropped!  My mother-in-law noticed it one evening when she was visiting; she said my stomach looked lower and when I sat in bed that night I realized that I could take a deep breath!  Yay!!  Basically, this means the baby's head has dropped into my pelvis.  They say now the baby is "engaged in the pelvis".  Sweet, huh?  Yay for progress!
Braxton-Hicks, baby!  These "practice contractions" are happening almost daily now and I may-or-may-not-have had 3 little contractions in a row last Friday that then decided to stop.  I'm getting ready for the big day!
Clear and glowing!
Pretty good most nights, actually.  I'm surprised; I expected to be up all night getting kicked and having to pee by now.  I'm only having to get up once at night and occasionally sleep through without having to pee.  Once I get settled I pretty much stay put so that's good!
Fetal Movement
My tummy is lopsided a lot of the time and it's really fun to be able to feel the side of my stomach and feel the baby's foot.  So fun!!
The Hubster ready to meet his kid.  Last night he leaned in and talked to my belly and told the baby (s)he needed to get here already.
Overall State of Mind
Excited!  A little bit nervous about labor and the big impending life change...but mostly excited!

Did I miss anything?  Probably, but this is a good "sum up"!

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