Saturday, January 30, 2010

Buying jeans

I went to the mall yesterday on a mission to find a pair of jeans. For months I had been wearing the same Old Navy sweatpants and maternity jeans, and it was finally time to venture back to "real" pants.

I decided on American Eagle, the jeans always treated me well there before. But looking back, maybe I should have chosen a store catered to people above the age of 15.

I took Kirsten with me, and we decided to go through this together, just us girls. I browsed through the front of the store and picked up a few tank tops, things I knew would fit me. This way, when I am a crying mess on the floor of the dressing room, hidden under a pile of jeans that will not go above my thighs, I would have a glimmer of hope that clothing will once again be a friend to my body.

I then made my way to the back of the store and saw 5 mannequins wearing skinny jeans, all in cute washes. They looked great. AAHHHH even fake people look better than me. This is so intimidating!

I chose a pair in a medium wash, something I could wear with everything. Since I plan to lose more weight and get in better shape, I didn't want to waste my time with the cool trendy pairs with holes in them. Even though I was extremely tempted to do so.

I found a sales person and asked for a fitting room. Kirsten's first fitting room experience. If this went poorly, would I be scarring her for life? Will she have image issues, and her entire life not be able to figure out why? after years of therapy she would discover that it was this moment, watching her mom 3 weeks after giving birth, try to fit her fat butt into a pair of skinny jeans meant for a tall, cute, 16 year old girl??????

I brought with me a size 2 (wishful thinking) and size 4. I started with the size 2, I figured there was no chance I was a 2 again, and if it didn't fit I wouldn't be too disappointed. I put one leg in, then the other. and then attempted to pull them up. It got to almost my butt and then stopped. I laughed at myself, this is like a bad episode of What Not to Wear. Stacy and Clinton would have my neck for even trying the size 2, let alone skinny jeans.

I then tried the size 4. one leg, then the other. pulled then up and..... THEY FIT! They were a but snug around the waste, but as any seasoned shopper knows, you want you buy your jeans so that they just fit, because denim stretches. I was so happy. I did a little happy dance around the dressing room and high fived Kirsten. She continued to sleep, and gurgle a little. She was clearly not as amused as I was.

I promptly left the dressing room with my jeans and tank tops in my hand, proud of myself for having a successful trip to the mall, and not leaving with sweatpants! I even treated myself to a new belt!

I strutted my way through the rest of the mall, feeling on top of the world.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

then and now

My last photo pregnant, 39 weeks
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3 weeks after giving birth
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Keep in mind I had a c-section. So that means no working out and my appetite has been off. I go from being super hungry to barely eating at all. I think I have come a long way though.

I gained ~35lbs while pregnant, and don't own a scale, so who knows what I weigh now. I'd be interested to see where I am at when I visit the doctor in 2 weeks.

I am hoping to get back down to 115. I started at 108, but realize that is a bit extreme and hard to maintain. Basically, I just want to look good for our honeymoon.

am i back in college?

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I was puked on twice today. Yes twice. My sweet little girl felt the need to toss her cookies on me at 8am this morning, and around noon. Both times happened in the middle of feeding. And both times she aimed her little sharp shooting spit-up straight down my shirt. So bra, shirt, and pants all got covered! lovely. I haven't dealt with this amount of throw up since college... and even then at least the person apologized.

Watching your child throw up is honestly a surreal experience. Last week when she did this it came pouring out of her nose. It was a like a horror movie. White, gooey, yucky, chunky stuff came pouring out of her mouth and then like a fountain shot out of her nose. She didn't appear too bothered by this, but me being a first time mom, began to cry and scream for Todd to get a wash cloth. We cleaned her up, soothed her, and she fell asleep. and I sat beside her and stared at her while she dreamed. I have since been worried that this will happen at night and I won't know.

Today she appeared to not want to sleep at all. She would doze off and I would think... "YES! I can take a shower!" and the moment I put her in her pack n play or swing her little blue eyes would pop open and she would call me back with a howling scream. I basically held her all day, except for when I sponge bathed myself after she threw up all over me.

I have been wearing the same sweat pants as I always wear, yoga pants from Target, and my hair is crusty from her spit-up. I suddenly had images of the commercial where the mom has knotted hair and kids running around her, pulling on every limb. She then is able to shower am use this shampoo which makes her hair long and luxurious. The message is that you don't have to look frumpy just because you are a mom. But my question is... who is going to watch my kid while I shower and style my hair to look that way? My dog certainly doesn't seem to be game for it. So I guess I am doomed to sweat pants and crusty hair for the next few months.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sleeping Situation taken care of... for now

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Kirsten is now 2 1/2 weeks old and for the whole 2 1/2 weeks we have struggled with her sleeping at night. We would have good nights and bad, going from hours of sleep to waking every hour. Poor Todd would have a hard time getting through the day because she would wake him up with her screams or grunts at least every hour.

I tried swaddling, elevating her mattress, laying her on her side, putting warm jammies on her, increasing her formula amount... I tried it all. It appeared that elevating was the answer, she was doing better when her mattress was raised (we put towels under her mattress in the pack n play). She always slept well in her swing, so it made sense that this would work for her. However, that was not enough. She still woke up, unswaddled, and crying.

So I took it upon myself to find something that would help her situation. I ordered the Nap Nanny and anxiously waited for its arrival. Finally the day arrived and we decided to try it out at nap times. It went well, she would nap for over an hour or so during the day. However, we weren't able to use it at night because it didn't fit into the pack n play. I would have moved her to her nursery but we did not have safe monitors at the time, and I was not ready for her to be out of our room quite yet. Another solution had to be found.

Last weekend my mom visited and watched Kirsten while we went out with some friends for dinner. That evening she insisted on keeping her in the living room with her. We decided that she could sleep in the car seat since she was napping so well in it earlier in the day. We came home, anxious to hear about how the night was going, to find a sleeping baby. We went to bed, and I would wake up waiting to hear her cry, but we never did! In the morning I asked how things went and mom replied that she slept well, and only woke up twice, wanting to feed and needing to be changed. Maybe we found our little miracle...

The next night we put the car seat in her pack n play and prayed that lightning would strike twice. And you know what, it did! Thank god! She slept from 11pm - 3:30am, 4am - 6:30, and 8am - 10am! I felt refreshed and like I had finally done my job as a mom. I was able to figure my child out and out smart her.

Last night was basically the same. She slept from 11pm - 3:30am, 4am - 8am. She even has been learning to settle herself. Instead of me running to her side with every peep or whimper, I allow her to figure it out on her own. I certainly don't believe in the "cry it out" method, but there are times when you have to realize, as a parent, that your kid needs to do it on their own. So this was Kirsten's first test. I have been trying this out for the past few days and she has been doing well with it. She settles and enjoys her swing or bouncer... something I thought she hated since day one. It is amazing the extra amount of sleep I get by allowing her to fall back asleep on her own, instead of me feeling the need to rush to her and rock her back to sleep.

We will see how the week goes, but I may try to put her in her nursery this weekend. I am sure the car seat will simply be moved to her crib, but that is fine with me. If she prefers the snuzzler over her crib mattress, then let the girl be!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Post Number One

I wanted to begin my adventure in blogging by sharing my birth story. It is long and a little complicated, but it is a great story that needs to be told. I wish I blogged more often while pregnant, and will hopefully go back to reference moments I remember. But for now, let's start at the beginning, my first day as a mommy.

My whole pregnancy I could not get enough of reading books or visiting websites to find out every detail about being pregnant and taking care of a newborn. I was settled on trying to breastfeed, I knew I would want medication while in labor, and I wanted to avoid being induced or a c-section. I never wrote out a birth plan, but I had in my mind how I wanted things to go. I never listened to people when they told me plans change, because I figured with my wealth of knowledge from the books and websites, I was prepared to take this on and get my ideal birth.

Waiting for baby was probably the worst part of my pregnancy. It went by quickly, and a lot happened during the 9 months I carried Kirsten. Todd and I got married on August 22nd 2009, and we tried to live life to the fullest before baby arrived. I started a new job, and life went back to normal in the fall. By December I was anxious. I had it in my mind that Kirsten would be early, and based off of two different dates, we weren't sure when she would make her appearance. Christmas came and everyone began sending me those "did you have the baby yet" emails, and it made me a little sad that things just weren't progressing. We thought we would get a Christmas baby, but at my appointment that week we learned I wasn't even dilated. We then thought she would be a New Years baby, but again were discouraged to find out there was no progress. My plan began to slip out of my reach. I was fearing being induced and that my body just wasn't going to do this on it's own! And then it happened....

It at all started Wednesday January 6th at my doctor appointment. I was barely 2 cen, 75% effaced and baby was very low. Things looked promising but she wasn't ready quite yet. We scheduled an NST for Saturday and left. We went to Chili's and I felt super crampy, mostly from the internal, and was just ready to go home and rest. I had an okay night, felt crampy and like I had a bad belly ache.

Next morning I was trying to keep busy and decided to put together her tub. I was carrying it upstairs when I felt a small gush. I went to the bathroom and saw brown discharge, it was watery but figured it was from my internal. I felt crampy afterwards, like a period, and tried to go about my day. I went to the grocery store and started to feel these intense back pains. I almost left my cart in the middle of the store and left, but I managed to finish and leave. I got a McDonalds frappe and merrily went home and put away the groceries.

I took a bath and waited for Todd to come home, meanwhile I was still getting random strong back pains. Around 4 he came home and we decided he needed to stay home in case anything happened. I was getting increasingly uncomfortable, but it was all in my back and hips, never in my belly. At 6 I made dinner and it was difficult, the pains were getting strong and it made it hard to stand. We started watching the Pittsburgh Penguins game and only a few mins in I went upstairs to lay down, the pains were getting worse. I couldn't lay down either, I would jump up with each one. I started to time them and they were 8 - 10 mins apart, but I was confused because it was all on my back, hips, and upper thighs. Suffered through watching the game upstairs, and decided to call the doctor after a strong shooting pain in my vag. I went to the bathroom and got light red discharge.I called the doctor and tried my best to describe what I was feeling. She said she didn't think they were contractions, and to lay on my side and if I could time them. I got off the phone and balled. These aren't contractions? Then what's wrong with me?? I was in so much pain and so tired, I just wanted to fall asleep. That was probably the worst news, and made me feel foolish for calling. How could I not know if I was in labor or not?

Todd decided to go to sleep, and I went downstairs to sit and time them. I would jump off the couch with every wave of pains and walk around the livingroom. It was awful. From 11pm - 2:30am I did this. At that point they were 5 mins apart and I couldn't deal with it anymore, I woke up Todd and said its time to go.We took our time. He showered and shoveled outside. We were getting a big storm and I was worried we wouldn't make it to the hospital. I finished packing but could barely even think with the pain. I kept thinking, "why are they only in my back? Is this back labor?"

At 4am we were on our way, slowly but on our way.We got to the hospital at 4:50am and went to triage. I got hooked up to the monitors and prayed so hard that they would keep us and that the pains were contractions. Everything was still only in my back and hips and hurt so badly. They seemed to slow down while lying there, so I worried that I was faking the whole thing. A doctor came in to check me and said that most of my water had broken, only a sack in front remained, and I was 4cen dilated, I was staying! I cried so hard, there are no better words than, "you'll be meeting your baby today." The nurse was a rock star and ordered my epi while we were down there, so when we made it to our room the doctor came in right away to do it. Honestly, it was sooooo easy! Hardest part was holding still during a contraction, but it was quick and felt great almost immediately. I layed on my side, switching every hour, and felt perfect.

Soon Todd's parents arrived and I was so happy to have company. I was in good spirits and wanted to see people before things started. We figured it would be a long time anyway. The nurse even guessed 5pm. My doctor came around 9am and broke the rest of the water and said I was still 4 cen. Feeling the warm water on my legs was so weird since my legs were fairly numb. Soon after my parents came and I was finally happy and ready to have the baby. With the weather and their 2 hour drive I was so worried. But they made it and stayed in the room and we all joked and had a really good time. It was a blessing to have our families with us. My plan was beginning to go how I had imagined. I wanted desperately to have our families in the room before I began to push, almost as a last moment before we became parents ourselves.

I was put on pitocin in the meantime to speed things along a bit. I didn't mind at all since I already had my epi for a while. I figured, if we could get things going and I was feeling good, why not!

At noon the doctor came to check me and said "ok so I'll be back in an hour. don't hit your epi button, we want you to be a good pusher. get some rest." I was like "oh i can't hit the button? but what if i start to get some pains? we aren't even close to pushing." and she just smiled and leaned in close and said, "hun, you're 9 cen! you'll be pushing very soon." We were floored! I was there! We told our parents and they were so shocked! Probably only 30 mins or so later I was starting to feel pressure in my crotch and bottom, like I was holding in going to the bathroom. I told the nurse and she asked if it was bad, and I said I could wait.

Not even 30 minutes later I began to get feeling in my bottom and lower half again. The epi was not wearing off, but I began to understand what they meant by feeling the need to push. The nursed paged the doctor and I told everyone this was it. We said goodbye to our parents and they went across the hall to the waiting area. Todd and I had a moment together and he held my hand and got teary eyed, we both knew this was what we had been waiting for, and it was going so well. I whispered that I loved him, and then I went into game mode! The doctor sat at the end of my bed, and the nurse and Todd held my legs. They calmly explained what would go on, and we felt really comfortable. They started to time my contractions and it was time to breath and push. I tried so hard, but it is so surreal to fully understand pushing when you never did it before, and you can't "feel" what you are pushing. I was doing okay, but honestly felt like it was hard to get a good breath in and push well. I was put on oxygen and tried some more. I could feel her moving down and felt this strange vibrating in my crotch. Pushing began to get frustrating because I could tell I wasn't doing what I was supposed to. And it got harder to breath.

The doctor asked for an internal monitor, and they checked my temp a few times. She had this look on her face and the monitor was going crazy. I pushed through two more contractions and the doctor said "Erika you have a severely high fever and baby's heart rate is 200 and not coming down. We can't do this anymore, you both are getting really sick." Later I found out my temp. was 103. I started to cry and asked what we would do, and she said we would do a c-section. I balled. I was so disappointed in myself and mad that I couldn't just do it. I nodded my head as hot, fast tears ran down my face and she went to get things under way. Within seconds people filled the room and I was on my side crying s hard and could barely breath. I needed to see Todd's face before they took me away, I looked behind me and saw him putting on his gown, looking white as a ghost. I swallowed the golf ball that was lodged in my throat and closed my eyes, "it will all be okay."

They wheeled me out and the nurses and doctors with me were trying to crack jokes and it did help.We got into the room and I started to calm down. They lifted me on the table and that's where I met the best nurse ever. Her voice was amazingly calming and relaxing. She guided me through the whole thing and really got me to settle down. I was strapped down and soon felt nothing from just under my chest and down. I then heard the doctor say, "incision" and freaked out because Todd wasn't in the room yet. The nurse noticed and went to go get him, and he was at my side within a few mins. The whole time she would peek over and tell us what was going on, and I tried hard to focus on not freaking out. I could feel everything, every tug and pull. And I kept wanting to say "ouch" but it never hurt, but I expected it to? it was weird.

When it was time for baby to be pulled out they said I would feel lots of pressure, and boy did I! It felt like a person was stomping on my chest. I literally thought my ribs were about to be broken in half. The nurse peeked over and said "I see hair!!!" and we were so shocked! We didn't expect hair! She then said, "here she comes! she looks so cute! oh she's perfect!" It was amazing to hear all of this. Then the best sound ever, she cried! We immediately started crying and Todd was amazing as he yelled "She's here babe! That's her!" We then saw her face over the curtain and we laughed out loud at her face, it was all crunched up and she looked so mad! It was so funny and much needed. Then I started to feel sick, as if I had to throw up. It was hard to focus on her and getting stitched up and being sick. So I focused on closing my eyes and working through this nauseous feeling. I turned my head and told the nurse I needed to puke, and I did. 

They then brought baby over, and Todd held her and we got photos. It was so amazing, a nurse asked for our camera and took it to get pics of her getting weighed and her feet stamped. I was so happy they did that for us. Todd left and I was left to get stitched up. I felt better so I was joking and laughing with the doctors and nurses. They told me they didn't have to shave me because I did such a good job on my own! They moved me to a bed and gave me the baby and wheeled me back to our room. As I was wheeled through the hallway people were peeking out of their rooms and nurses and doctors were in the hallway and they cheered and patted my shoulder as we passed. It felt so great. I was so scared and overwhelmed when we heard I needed a c-section, and this made me feel a lot better about it all.

In the room our parents came in and everyone just exploded with love for her. After 20 mins they wanted me to feed her, so our family was about to leave, but as they moved me to a sitting position I immediately felt like passing out. They took my blood pressure and it was 60/40. So they laid me down and gave me medicine. My blood pressure didn't go up to a normal level for another hour or so. In the meantime I did feel better and a nurse came to help me breastfeed. It was a lot to take in, and I got a little frustrated, but I kept trying. Breast feeding has proven to be more difficult than I had expected. I should have known, after my plan had gone out the window when the pushing didn't work. However, after some time alone with baby, I decided it was best to give her formula. I learned so much in such a short amount of time about going with the punches, and taking life's obstacles in stride.

I get these feelings of sadness every so often when I read on message boards about women being able to exclusively breast feed. I get so angry when I think about how difficult it was for me, and they seemed to get the hang of it right away. I tried for so long so get Kirsten to cooperate but she wanted no part of it. Not even the best lactation consultants in Pittsburgh could help us. I see my baby now and know she is happy and healthy and growing, but a part of me really wishes that things could have gone a little bit differently.

I have friends who want a natural birth, or read about people who could do it without medication and had a great experience with breast feeding. I get so boiled up inside it is unreal. Not that they did anything wrong, or that I did for that matter. I just get angry because I want to scream and be like, "You are ruining it for the rest of us! The ones who couldn't push their baby out, and couldn't breast feed!" They make it seem so easy and natural and I saw nothing easy or natural about it! But in the end, like I said, Kirsten is a happy baby and my recovery was really awesome, so I should quit whining about it all.


Recovery in the hospital was pretty good. I was able to get out of bed and shower by the next morning. I got out of bed and walked pretty frequently, and even compared my baby to the others in the nursery daily. Mine always won the cute baby award. On the final night Todd decided to sleep at home, since sleeping at the hospital for the dad is pretty awful. So I had a slumber party with Kirsten in our room. She was awake most of the night, and so was I, but I loved every second of it. My first moments alone with my little girl. I was in a lot of pain picking her up and trying to feed her, but it was really amazing seeing her all swaddled in her plastic basinet.

The hospital was amazing and the nurses that took care of me were great. I was a little sad to go, everyone was really sweet and came to the nurses station to say goodbye. Three out of the 5 OBs in my practice were there too and saw us off, it was really nice. Being home is surreal. You get so pumped about finally going home, and then you walk in the door and think "ok now what?" no more nurses checking on me, helping me with baby, or the nice hospital bed! I will miss a bed that goes up and down haha!

We are home now and trying to adjust to having a baby. It's overwhelming and hard, and we haven't slept a lot. I second guess myself constantly and worry about my decisions. But welcome to being a mom right?