Friday, October 29, 2010

Memories of Labor

Our good friends are expecting their second daughter. She is about 38 weeks along and it's been a hard journey on her this time around. Keeping up with a 15 month old while dealing with morning sickness, back/head aches and signs of preeclampsia is far from simple! She is definitely ready to meet her baby girl. I just got a call and she is pretty sure she is in labor. They are getting everything ready to head to the hospital and making arrangements for their daughter. After I got off the phone with her and her husband it made me think of when I was in labor and a lot of memories I had forgotten about. Some funny and all painful, but I thought I would share.

When I started to have contractions I was out to lunch with Austin and Katie (my sister) Thursday the 13th of May around 2ish and I was starving! I devoured my cheese raviolis , my bread, part of my sisters salad and a couple bites of Austin's panini. I even complained as I walked out of the restaurant that I was still hungry. I had a couple signs that this was the start to real labor, but I chose not to get my hopes up because I have had all the signs before. Looking back now, it was quite obvious that my body was totally preparing for the long painful journey ahead by stocking up on all the food it could get. I wish I would have listened to my body telling me to eat more because that was the last food I had until after Maisie was born (about 30 hours later) but instead I felt like a cow and went against my instincts. We planned on having an early dinner, but by the time dinner was in the works I had completely lost my appetite. My stomach was in knots and the last thing I wanted to do was eat.

So after hours of laboring at home I had decided it was time to go to the hospital around 4am. Katie had fallen asleep on the couch and Austin was fully clothed trying to get a little sleep in our bed. I sat next to Austin and told him we needed to start making our way to the hospital soon. We started debating if Katie should come with us because there was the possibility that they would send me home (yeah right) and we knew this was going to be a long process and that some one might as well get some sleep. Katie said she would call a cab in the morning and so that was the plan. I said goodbye to Scooter, hugged my sister and then I walked (if thats what you want to call it) down the 2 flights of stairs and across the parking lot to the car. The minute we got on the main road I started to cry, more like bawl. I have never felt so emotionally unstable in my life. At first I was crying because I was scared and then it turned into "this is the last time of just me and Austin" and then "the next time we come home will be with Maisie". These are all legitimate things to be emotional over, yes? But then I became irrational. Half way to the hospital I started to become hysterical about Katie possibly missing the birth and her having to take a cab to the hospital. I was saying something to the effect of "I don't want the cabbie to kidnap her" haha (so ridiculous) After crying so hard the whole car ride we finally got to the hospital. I got hooked up in the triage room and my blood pressure was sky high (due to my car ride long freak out). I was still crying in the room and the nurse thought I might of came down with preeclampsia. They seriously took my blood pressure like 10 times in 5 minutes. I kept telling them it was because I was stressing out and crying so hard, but to be safe they took my blood and waited for the results. Of course it came back just fine, but that just proves how hysterical I truly was. I was in pain and vulnerable, oh my poor, poor husband. Austin and I both laugh about it now, because it's so funny to picture me having such strong contractions (2 minutes long 4 minutes apart) and worrying about all these unnecessary and irrational things and to the point my blood pressure sky rocketed. I am already a worrier, but under those conditions I was a mess. haha

After I was checked into the labor and delivery suite it was not long before I was running a bath. Any one who really knows me, knows when I am feeling under the weather a nice warm bath always helps. I am a pretty modest person so I had the bathroom door shut thinking that if it were shut no one would come in. WRONG. I am in the middle of a contraction, in fetal position completely naked and the door opens and sure enough theres 2 nurses in the bathroom with me. There wasn't a shower curtain or anything to hide behind so I just sat there, embarrassed of course. I know that these ladies don't care, they have seen close to everything, but I have only been at the hospital for a couple hours and already feeling uncomfortable not only from being in labor, but because I was in a new surrounding with lots of people I have never met before. Within a couple hours all modesty went out the window. All of my attempts failed and so as the pain increased I could care less about modesty.

You know those exercise balls that a lot of women use while in labor? Well I affectionately call them the labor ball of death. My mid wife said I should give it a try because I was just starting transitional labor and I was having a hard time coping with the contractions without tensing up. The most simplest tasks with 35 hours no sleep are tough, but labor is close to impossible! She explained that most women find relief while using them, so I decided to give it a whirl. My whole body was already trembling because pain mixed with adrenalin mixed with extreme fatigue. I got on this ball and that was the only time during labor that I was tempted to scream. I think my already unsteadiness then put on this unstable ball did not mix well. I was facing my bed and I remember closing my eyes trying to bounce and relax and when I opened my eyes the first thing I saw were my clenched white knuckle fists gripping the bed sheets. I tried my best to tough it out, but after a half hour there was no way. I settled for pacing back and forth in my room and sitting in a rocking chair. Ladies, don't let me discourage you from using a labor ball because I think I am one of the few that didn't enjoy them.

After I got my epidural I was feeling much better. The epidural was light so I had no problem moving around on the bed to switch positions. I could move my legs and I knew I could walk around, but of course they wouldn't let me. I was able to take a quick nap so I ended up falling asleep while hugging the head of the bed (on all fours) and when I woke up my legs were completely dead. Just my weight on my legs while I napped numbed me more than my epidural did. I noticed that my right side was cramping pretty bad turns out the epidural was stronger on my left side then right I started feeling uncomfortable, but compared to what I was feeling before it was defintley tolerable. I could feel every contraction and I started to notice how long and strong they were. The last hour until I was able to push it felt like my right side never had relief it felt like it was in a constant contraction.

My labor lasted 30 hours. It was an incredible, insightful, beautiful experience. I think labor was totally designed to push you to your limits so when you do finally meet that precious baby whom has been developing in you for 9 months its nothing short of amazing. There is not one experience that defines me as much as giving birth to Maisie and the work it took to get there. I became a mom that day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4 Month (But Really 5 Month) Appointment

We would have had Maisie's 4 month appointment when she was actually 4 months old, but due to switching insurance and the complications that followed that, we couldn't. Then with our trip to Arizona it pushed it back even more, but finally after multiple reschedules she had her appointment yesterday just 2 days shy of her 5 month birthday.

Around 11 o'clock we left our home for the dreaded "4 month old appointment" I.E more shots. I was so nervous. Maisie was in such a happy, playful mood and I felt so sad that she had no idea what was coming her way. We love our pediatrician so that definitely helps, but still, she was going to make my sweet baby cry therefore she is not my best friend. We went over all of Maisie's growth and she is doing fantastic! 80th percentile across the charts in height, weight and head circumference. She is advanced when it comes to supporting herself and trying to sit independently (haha now I'm THAT bragging mom) so the Dr thinks shes ready to start some solids. I am so nervous and kind of dreading it because my breastfeeding mommy instincts are sad because I feel that she won't need me as much. After much reassurance by the Dr (and Austin) I feel we might be ready to give it a try. There are many factors that the doctor feels that Maisie is ready. 1- Maisie has been early with all her developmental skills and starting solids is a developmental skill not just something that magically occurs at 6 months. 2- Since Maisie has been growing so much she has bumped up her night feeding to keep in demand of her growing needs. Our Dr feels that maybe adding some solids will help her feel satisfied longer and aid with her growth. So, most likely this weekend Maisie will have her first taste of food. Ah!

Let's get to Maisie's growth numbers:
Birth: Weight: 7 pounds 0 oz Height: 19.5 inches
1 week: Weight: 7 pounds 3 oz (gained the 4% body weight she lost in the hospital plus 3 oz)
2 weeks: Weight: 7 pounds 15 oz Height: 21.25 inches
2 month: Weight: 11 pounds 1 oz Height: 23 inches
5 month: Weight 15 pounds 5 oz Height: 26 inches

Just like last time I left the room when it was time for the shots. I waited right next to the door and I heard Maisie start "complaining" that's what it sounded like. Not quite a cry, but definitely a unhappy noise. I heard the Dr say "one down, one more to go" and then Maisie started to cry, but not the red face, clenched fist cry like last time, it was more like a "that hurt, now comfort me." I hurried in the room and Austin passed her to me and within 30 seconds she was fine. Within a few minutes she was back to her cooing and smiling self. We are so proud of our baby girl. She is growing and thriving and we are so excited to watch her grown even more. It's such a bittersweet thing, watching your baby change in front of your eyes, but its even more rewarding.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Adventures

Since Maisie's birth I have dreamed about the day of taking her to her first pumpkin patch. For many reasons, but I think mainly because I have memories as a little girl taking family trips to the pumpkin patch and so naturally, I wanted to make some with Maisie! Fall is by far my favorite season. The crisp air, comforting food and an excuse to make some cider (or hot chocolate) and light a fire. Plus, picking and carving pumpkins is a great bonus too! So today Austin and I took Maisie to her first pumpkin patch(es).

Friends of ours recommended Kruger Farms and so, that was our first stop of the day. It was a fantastic little drive. The farm is actually located on an island (Sauvie Island) and so there is a huge river that runs right next to the farm. It was still a bit chilly when we got there and the morning dew was starting to dry, but it was still a very muddy adventure. Okay, anyone who goes to a pumpkin patch thinking there will be no mud involved is in for a rude awakening right? So first stop was the organic market where we bought some caramel apples and cider. Oh yeah we also bought some farm fresh corn as well. They seriously just picked it so we couldn't pass it up! Then we walked the pumpkin patch in search for a great first pumpkin for Maisie and I think we found it. Personally, I love a pumpkin with a personality and those perfect "magazine cover" pumpkins just are too blah. So we found one that's a little lop sided and with an extra long stem. It is the perfect shade orange and has tons of vertical grooves. I would say we did a great job, now we just have to figure out what to carve on it.

Next stop was supposed to be Roloff Farms (the little people big world folks) but as we pulled up to the farm we noticed that they are only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Lame! Plus you have to pay for parking! Eh, oh well. So instead of Roloff Farms we went to Plumper Farm. It was so quaint and fun. There were tons of beautiful flowers (especially sunflowers!!) and some animals too. Maisie was pretty much sleeping through this whole farm because it was during her afternoon nap time. So we just pushed her in her stroller and let her sleep. Maisie is not very happy when shes tired, but who is?

We then came home where we grilled our farm fresh corn and made another delicious gluten free meal. It turned out to be a wonderful and sunny (who would have thought that?) day. I am sure we will most likely go to another one before Halloween comes because I still would like to go to my favorite one in Canby. But for now I am very satisfied. We had a wonderful time as a family and so, Maisie's first pumpkin patch experience was a great success!

Here are a few of the pictures we took today. Enjoy!


Maisie and Daddy on the hunt for a pumpkin

Searching high and low

Beautiful Maisie

Mommy and Maisie

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Going Gluten Free

I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult, but thanks to Trader Joe's going gluten free couldn't be going any more smoothly. We started this adventure pretty discouraged realizing groceries are now more expensive and after tasting brown rice bread (yuck!) we thought maybe this task was impossible, but after discovering great tasting (and healthy) food and also finding that so many restaurants accommodate us gluten free people, our attitudes have changed. This started out as something to see if Austin's stomach issues would settle, but I now see this becoming a lifestyle for us. I feel much better about the things I now eat on a daily basis. It makes me so happy to open my cupboards and have tons of tasty healthy meals to prepare. I have to admit I love bread, but having to come up with alternative carbs is fun. There are a couple of items that are making this gluten free transition a little easier. A special thanks to...

Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs

Rice Pasta & Cheddar (gluten free mac & cheese)

Maybe I am speaking to soon, seeing how it's only been a week since our switch, but Austin is on board and hopefully this will help his stomach out. Poor guy thought he was lactose intolerant, maybe had IBS or was stressed out, but something is up and we will get to the bottom of this! After reading about Celiac disease it sounds like classic Austin and gluten allergies are the 8th most popular food allergy, so it's definitely worth a shot. I really hope this does the trick, but if not, cheers to healthy eating!

Last night Maisie and I made a delicious gluten free dinner. Heres Maisie helping in the kitchen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

.:Our First Family Vacation:.

Yesterday we got back from our lovely trip to Arizona. I would have mentioned earlier on here that we were going on vacation, but for security reasons I decided not to. Better safe than sorry, right? Anyway, Maisie and I packed our bags and hopped a later plane to Phoenix Friday the 24th and then Austin met us there late Sunday morning. Maisie was doll on the plane. She quietly played with my necklace and slept probably three quarters of the flight (I think the combo of the white noise and turbulence helped lull her to sleep) . We landed at 9:30pm, and it was great to see my parents. I was so tired, but couldn't resist the temptation of a late night In-N-Out stop. We finally got to my parents home where both Maisie and I slept like babies. The next day we had a girls day. Katie, Mom, Maisie and I had lunch and spent the day talking and shopping around. That night we met up with my Dad, Mike, Walker and Jackson at BJ's Pizzeria and it was great to finally meet my newest nephews. They are very energetic handsome boys! The next morning Austin flew into town and I was so excited for him to finally relax. He works so hard to support Maisie and I and out of everyone he needed this trip the most. We for the most part relaxed, but we all did tons of fun things with my family... including but not limited to:

Lounging at the "Lloyd Resort", floating on rafts getting too much sun, acting like three year olds and running around a giant splash pad, In-N-Out, Jordans, Castles and Coasters, Mini golf, Wildflower bakery, Sipping on Iced tea in 105 degree weather, Shooting guns in the desert, visiting with family, Dillions, watching the most beautiful sunsets, family craft projects, Maisie being spoiled by the grandparents, Office season 1, sitting out by the fire pit, never feeling cold, summer clothes, producing mass amounts of vitamin D, taco night... Now that's a vacation! There are absolutely no complaints about our trip, except having to leave. 10 days just goes by too fast!

Austin and I enjoyed our trip so much that was started talking about the possibility of maybe moving back down there one day. We even made a list of pros and cons about living in both Oregon and Arizona. We agreed that we both still love Oregon, but Arizona might be the cards some day. Our lease isn't up until June and frankly there is no way in heck I will move there in the Summer so we still have a while to figure things out. I am already the missing the 100 degree weather, but at the same time this is my favorite season. I don't think you can ask for anything better than fall in Oregon. I am so excited to take Maisie to her first pumpkin patch!

Now I know this is lame because we have a brand new camera, but we didn't take very many pictures. My dad definitely was the photographer (and he also has a camera that kicks our cameras booty!) so we do have pictures, but my dad is in charge of those. He finally updated his blog and he uploaded a few pictures from our trip down. You can check those out at my Dad's Blog and I thought I would also post just a couple on here as well.

Austin, Maisie and I outside the Asanti Fountain

All of us outside Asanti

Dad, Katie, Mike, Mom, Maisie, Walker and Jackson

The cutest little baby sporting her new head band.

Vacation is very tiring!