Saturday, November 23, 2013

Quick Update

I have little time to blog these days and when I do I feel like I have nothing to say. But here is two things I feel are important to document.

1. At 10 months old, my child is the worst sleeper ever and only wants to sleep in our bed with us. Naps included.

2. At 10 months old, my child can WALK!

Learning to walk appears to have been more important than learning to fall asleep independently.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Back into the work force

Life has been a big crazy jumble of new experiences lately. 

I am so grateful for the time that I've had as a stay at home mom. But for many, many reasons, I knew that the time wouldn't last. This month I started working part-time at my first big girl job using my bachelor's degree (yes, I earned my bachelor's degree 2 years ago...*shakes fist at the economy*). I am working at a large rehabilitation services corporation in the Autism Clinic. My position is as an "Autism Mid-Level Technician" doing one-on-one applied behavior analysis. The children in are clinic are very young, only up to age 6. I am paired with a 3 year old boy and he's so adorable.

I wish it wasn't totally taboo to talk about pay and salary because I am SO excited about how much money I'm making now. I have been severely underpaid in past jobs that I've held and, like I said, have never had a job that actually required my degree, so I'm getting paid now twice as much as I've ever been paid in my life! And it's still a considerably low since I am only working part time but still. I'M EXCITED.

One of the things that has been more difficult about working now is, of course, being a working mom. Specifically figuring out the logistics of pumping breast milk has been quite the task for me. Ideally I would love to be able to pump every 3 hours but my commute is 30-40 minutes each way and I can't take a break (more than a minute or two) since I am responsible for one specific child all day. I am just doing my best right now to pump 15-20 minutes before I leave for the day and then as soon after I get home as possible. This ends up being more like 6 hours in between sessions but I'm really really hoping that since he is an older baby (7 and a half months nearly) this won't affect my supply much.

Next week I begin my internship for my counseling program. It is at the high school level and I'll be doing pretty much whatever the supervising school counselor wants me to do - counsel kids, help with college applications, ACT, run groups, and so on. 

My schedule Monday through Thursday is basically non stop all day. I'll go to my internship, come home at lunch time for about an hour, leave for work, get home between 6:30 and 7:30 probably depending on if I need to pick Colton up from my parents house (they are helping watch him when Mark has to work nights). I will definitely miss my little guy, but I'm really glad to have 3 days off, and I think he would be proud of me for going out in the world to make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sleep Training: Naps, the CIO edition

As much as I wanted to avoid the Cry It Out method of sleep training, here we are. I have a fresh perspective on it and at least in my 2 experiences I've had today that I'm about to share, it wasn't horrendous. In fact, I feel confident now that I am giving him tools to succeed at self-soothing better and in turn, making me a better mommy to him because I'm not so frustrated and anxious and resentful of the fact that it is like pulling teeth to get him to go to sleep - and stay asleep. I can't speak for nighttime yet because we aren't there yet, but here is my dabble in CIO during 2 of 3 naps today.

The morning nap was normal - fought hard and my husband had to walk around the room and bounce him to get him to fall asleep - but he slept for somewhere in the ballpark of 30-45 minutes in his rock and play.

Nap A:

  • 12:30 PM - nursed Colton, he was starting to fall asleep but I did my best to keep him drowsy. Once finished I walked him to his room and had him wake up a little.
  • 12:45 PM - put down drowsy in crib. Naturally he wakes right up and starts rolling around and playing
  • 12:54 PM - starts crying. I respond instantly, get him to settle down, offer him a lovey, leave the room, saying "night night" repeatedly.
  • 12:56 PM - crying
  • 1:00 PM - comfort until he stops crying, saying "night night" repeatedly, singing, stroking head.
  • 1:01 PM - crying as soon as I close his door. 
  • 1:06 PM - comfort until he stops crying. This took some more time than I expected to spend.
  • 1:12 PM - crying immediately as I leave, building intensity. I imagine that he's trying to get my attention more and more after each time I leave. But I know he can do this without me. He'll be okay, I tell myself. He's communicating his anger and frustration that you aren't putting him to sleep the "normal" way. 
  • 1:19 PM - comfort and offer the pacifier, he starts to close his eyes immediately but doesn't fall asleep. Still whimpering when I leave the room.
  • 1:27 PM - cries are beginning to die down.
  • 1:30 PM - one last groan and quietness. He's asleep!
 Yes, I snuck in and took a picture of him, flash and all. This is a historic event! Put himself to sleep! And in his crib! I am awestruck and so proud that he made it through (and that I did too)!



Nap B:
  • 3:45 PM approximately: nursed him in the living room, which is different than usual since we nurse in my bed to sleep almost every time. Afterwards we read 2 books and I tried to rock him to drowsy but he was starting to fight me already.
  • 3:55 PM put in crib. Not necessarily drowsy, but I know he was drowsy while he was eating and it is definitely nap time.
  • 3:58 PM crying. Responded within 1 minute to comfort him.
  • 4:01 PM crying as soon as I left the room.
  • 4:05 PM went in to comfort but I couldn't get him to calm down. He's knows what's up now.
  • 4:07 PM yelling but crying isn't as intense
  • 4:16 PM a few last screams and some moans
  • 4:19 PM asleep!
And another picture of course, because I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own two eyes.




Stay tuned for the nighttime review of CIO day one!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sleep Training - Night Sleep

Remember this? I think our cat got more use out of the crib before our baby was born than Colton has since he's been here.

Le Sigh. My post about nap training (which feels like ages ago) never really worked out. Naps have been going okay though. He sleeps an appropriate amount of time for his age, he generally nurses to sleep or nurses about 15 minutes before a nap which I allow because it's working out well with scheduling solids in between, and he goes down without a fight. The nap schedule has been fairly consistent which I suppose is what he needed most of all. He still sleeps in his rock and play, or sometimes I'll nap with him in our bed. That's all well and good for now.

Let's not forget (or did I mention this?) that I am going back to work soon. And starting classes in the fall. And starting an internship in the fall where I'll be gone 2-3 days a week as well. And naps my husband can handle. But night sleep...no one can handle

The main problem here is that he won't sleep in the crib. He's not used to it, he wants nothing to do with it, as far as his baby brain is concerned that is not his bed. My new task is getting him to understand that this is where he needs to sleep now. My second task which goes hand in hand is getting him to fall asleep in his crib on his own. That's what is most bothersome about the middle of the night. If he's hungry and needs to eat, I'm okay with that. I'm having some trouble finding the patience to sit and rock him for another hour thereafter to get him to go back to sleep. 2 or 3 times a night this happens. I love baby cuddles but mommies need sleep, too.

Last night we attempted step one of the sleep lady shuffle. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. We are taking a break for a few days and trying again on Thursday night. Here is how the night went down.

6:45 pm - bedtime routine: bath, lotion, pj's, books, nursing. (He did not nurse to sleep, but did get drowsy)

7:15 pm - put in crib. Drowsiness dissipates. The next half hour is spent pulling off socks, stuffing them into his mouth, rolling back and forth, side to side, yelling "ahh," fake coughing, kicking, flailing, playing with the crib railing, playing with his pacifier, playing with his pants.

7:45 pm - starting to realize that I am not going to pick him up. Some angry sounds emerge.

8:00 pm - crying, crying, crying. I am sitting right there the whole time comforting, singing, shushing, offering a paci (which I'm not supposed to do).

8:15 pm - some progress. He's definitely more tired. He's calmed a few times and started to close his eyes but he doesn't stay asleep. My husband comes in to take his turn.

8:20 pm - I can hear my husband turning into a ball of mush in there. Mean Heartless Mommy swoops in before he cracks. I take over again. I deem myself totally desensitized to the exhaustion of dealing with getting him to sleep for the past almost-7 months.

8:25 pm - definitely more progress. He's quieting for longer periods. He'll occasionally just stare sleepily into the distance. He'll accept the paci at times. He is comforted by holding my hand near his face. The combination of these things plus singing puts him to sleep, officially! He is laying on his side, officially asleep. IT WORKED!

8:30 pm - He rolls over onto his back and wakes up instantly. And he's angry. He's SO angry, upset, sad, frustrated. I'm heartbroken and so sad for him. He was RIGHT THERE and I was so proud. He's crying much worse than before. I don't know what to do. I pick him up and cuddle him.

8:39 pm - I've held him and comforted him for too long. He's asleep in my arms. This is a no-no and is not teaching him how to fall asleep in his crib.

8:42 pm - I try to put him back down. He doesn't even touch the mattress before he starts wailing.

8:45 pm - My husband takes over and decides to bounce/rock/shush/do everything possible to calm him down and put him to sleep in his arms. It's all over now. We're done for the night, officially. There is no way he'll sleep in that crib now.

9:00 pm - we try a couple of tactics to make a homemade crib wedge and a crib nest but he wakes up crying each time we try to put him down. We're calling it quits.

9:30 pm - Back to nursing to sleep

9:45 pm - Put him down in the rock and play in our room. I hear him stir around 1:45 and lay waiting for him to wake up to eat but he never does. Finally at 2:30, since I can't get back to sleep, I dreamfeed him. He doesn't wake up in the slightest but he eats well. I put him down and he keeps on sleeping.

5:45 am - He's awake. He....SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT? Mind you it was in the rock and play, which he is quickly outgrowing and will not be his permanent bed, but this has never happened, folks. I'm astonished. I feel guilty that I tired him out so much (that has to be the reason, right?). Either that or he's a baby genius and is like "No mom! I don't want to sleep in that crib! I'll sleep 8 hours straight, I promise! Don't make me go in there again!"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Six

Every month I think the same thing. But I really can't believe that it has been 6 months since my little booger has been born! He gets more and more handsome each month that passes by. This month has been epic - eating sold foods and learning to sit up unassisted top the milestone chart. I feel like his motor skills are really good. His hand motions seem quite developed and he's nearly got the pincer grasp now. He rolls over from belly to back very consistently now. Back to belly not so much, but he has done it once or twice and will do it if you roll him to his side first. He's started paying great attention to small details like buttons on shirts or rings on fingers. He screams, growls, and babbles with lots of "ah" sounds - mama, baba, nana. Still holding out for dada.




Laying in bed last night, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what it used to feel like to lay in bed. Feeling little taps in my belly that turned into bigger taps that turned into punches and violent rolls. I tried to remember the enormous difficulty it took to roll from one side to the other. How desperately I wanted to sleep on my back. How soothing it felt to rub my belly and know that I wasn't alone. It was really hard to remember how it felt. It was even harder to remember a time before that, when Colton was still a little blueberry sized embryo, when he was barely a poppy seed, before I even knew he existed, while he was still just a dream for the future. It was nearly impossible to close my eyes and go back to that time. Life before him feels like ages ago.

Each night now I listen to his soft breathing turned to loud snoring turned to silence and back again while he sleeps next to me in his Rock and Play, the only bed he's ever known. We are going to have a heck of a time when we FINALLY move him to his crib. It will happen someday soon. Part of me is ready. Part of me doesn't want him to leave my side.

When his breathing tapers off to silence I know he's entering another deep sleep cycle and I breathe a sigh of relief. I try to allow myself to drift off, and to put out of my mind that he might be awake in an hour, or two hours, or five hours, there's no method to his madness. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Since Google Reader and the apps that used it no longer work (sad face) I started using bloglovin today. And I guess I'm supposed to claim my blog? So...that's it. If you are looking for a replacement for Google Reader, give it a try!

Background & a Blogging Vow

I used to find such a great joy in blogging. In writing, actually. I began writing stories as a kid before I even knew how to read. My mom would write down stories for me as I told them aloud. I even have "stories" that I wrote myself that just look like a bunch of scribbles.

Every summer during elementary school, I had a gigantic notebook filled with half-written stories about best friends or school or summer vacation. When we got a computer when I was in 4th grade I poured my creative mind into stories of a group of young girl characters I created that attended a boarding school together. I can't picture now how many unfinished stories about them that I had, only that I was so upset when that old computer finally died and all of my work disappeared.

On to junior high, where livejournal became my platform for writing about life rather than fiction. I had two livejournals in junior high and high school, one that I could link publicly in my AIM profile, and one that was private for my eyes only. I wrote quite a bit in my myspace as well, and could kick myself for deleting it. I had so many pictures and videos and blurbs that I wrote that were not saved anywhere else.

Writing in high school was fulfilled in my English background, taking writing classes as electives, and writing on the newspaper staff and yearbook. I was convinced that my future was all about writing, my passion, what I had loved since I was a toddler. I declared a journalism major as I headed off to college.

Somewhere along the way, other passions emerged. The helping professions stood out to me most of all. I switched colleges, switched majors, and life became very different as I moved out and got engaged. That is when I started this little blog. I wanted to write about life at the time, as a newly engaged college student and everything that went along with it.

Between lulls in the action and life becoming busier, blogging came and went. My love for writing as always prevailed, though. These days the most I write is a sleep log for Colton or a research paper. I would love to be able to look back on this blog and remember events in more detail than my memory allows.

I vow to continue sharing my story - blogging about anything, everything, or nothing at all.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sleep Training Part 1: Naps


Sleep, baby, sleep!
So, I am not really traditional when it comes to sleep training at all. My son is almost 5 months old and still sleeps in a Rock and Play in our bedroom for naps and at night. He seems that he might be teething too which is a whole different issue. Overall I tend to lean toward a baby-led schedule but it just doesn't seem to be working out for him as well as I'd hoped. We have been stuck in a rut with sleep and my poor baby is tired after just an hour or so of awake time. I definitely want him to be happier and not so sleepy during the day. Even though I try to follow his cues as best I can, he's been all over the place and I think that trying a little bit more structure may work out well for us.

I have not yet read any books but by following some guidelines from a few different websites we are on our way to transitioning him to his own room, in his crib. I would really like our sleep "training" to be well under way by the time he is 6 months old. Here are my goals for part 1, which will focus on naps.

Step 1: Move Rock and Play into his bedroom for all naps (we started this yesterday)

Step 2: Create a consistent nap schedule. One source tells me that at almost 5 months he should be having 3 naps but I think that he might need a 4th until I can get him to nap for longer periods of time. When we are at 3 naps I'd like to be as close as possible to naps at 9, 12, and 3 with about 2 hours of awake time in between naps.

Step 3: Avoid nursing to sleep for naps (I've been so bad about this recently) and work toward putting down drowsy as often as possible.

Step 4: Encourage naps to be 45 minutes (don't go get him early even if he is awake, unless he's crying, so that he has the chance to learn to fall back to sleep). Right now his naps are almost always 30 minutes but have sometimes been 40 minutes and once in a blue moon he's taken a 1-2 hour nap. Eventually encourage 1 hour naps or longer.

Step 5: Once he is comfortable sleeping in his own room, start using the crib instead of the Rock and Play.

I think sometime during our nap training phase we'll work on bedtime as well. Bedtime is an interesting animal and nursing to sleep has been my right hand but I'm not sure if that is for the best. I suppose we will figure out something that works for us! With impending teething I don't want to be too stringent with a time frame because there is no telling if we'll be up for 2 and a half hours in the middle of the night again or something....

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Menu 4/21-4/27 and 4/28-5/4

Since we are on a strict grocery budget these days, I've found it easier to plan for two weeks of meals and try to stick to sales and bulk. I made the lasagna already last night and it was good! More work than I was really willing to do so it probably won't frequent our menu often but good enough to try again eventually.

Sunday: spicy kale lasagna, garlic bread
Monday: ranch cheddar chicken, baked potatoes, salad
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: skinny chicken enchiladas
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes
Saturday: out or leftovers

Sunday: baked chicken parmesan, salad
Monday: meatloaf, twice baked mashed potatoes, broccoli
Tuesday: panko crusted fried tilapia, baked oven fries, broccoli
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: spaghetti and meatballs
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: date night!

What's happening in your kitchen this week?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

3 months old!


Colton is 3 months old today! This little guy is growing up fast. I will admit I've gone back through the 20+ videos we've already taken of him and cry when I watch the ones from the hospital or from his first day home. I can't believe how big he's getting. Where did my teeny tiny 7 pound baby go?

These days Colton has become much more sociable. He still has his off and fussy days and he can be a bit temperamental at times but he also is a lot of fun and is getting a mini personality. He is starting to hate his swaddle but wakes himself up without it complete with scratching his face, jamming fingers into eyeballs and sucking on his hands. We are going to work on getting rid of the swaddle this month if at all possible so he can start sleeping on his own.

I am very proud to say that we are still exclusively breastfeeding! It is hard to believe that I was so worried about breastfeeding in the beginning and was setting goals as low as 3 weeks. I have worked so hard to make it work out and without giving too many personal details things are going well and might even continue to get better. There are always ups and downs and frustrations with breastfeeding but knowing that I'm doing what I feel is best and natural for my child and myself makes it all worth it.

Colton has started rolling over a little bit from tummy to back as of last week. He's done it maybe 4 or 5 times but it appears to still be a work in progress because it seems like sometimes he can't figure out how to do it again. He is a pro at tummy time as far as getting that head and neck up nice and high and attempting to do some sort of army crawl (although a bit too early for that). He likes standing and putting weight on his feet and he sits up well with support too. He's started leaning forward as if reaching while sitting or standing either towards a toy or towards mommy or daddy. He kind of grabs things but not really, more like swatting at them and sometimes grasping.

Still really loves laying on his changing table and playing with mommy and daddy. He adores his Baby Einstein Octuplush that plays music. He talks and coos to it and tries to grab the tentacles and stuff them in his mouth (and sometimes succeeds!). I started reading books to him very early on and it took him a while but in the last week he has really warmed up to reading. He has patiently sat looking through up to 5 or 6 books at a time, taking in all the pictures. I love this because I loved reading as a baby/kid. That's my boy :)

We still have not slept through the night. We had one 6 hour stretch the night of Easter which I chalk up to being exhausted from a long day. He has slept a couple of 5 hour stretches but generally he sleeps for 4 hours at a time, sometimes less. He usually wakes up to eat around 1:30 or 2, and between 4:30 and 5:30. After that he'll get up at 7 or 8 and we'll sometimes be able to go back to sleep after that.

We have not yet heard a true laugh but I'm hoping it's next on the list of milestones. He does that little screechy sounding excited sound at times when he smiles really wide so I think it's only a matter of time.

I love this little boy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly Menu 3/10-3/16

Now that our little peanut is 8 weeks old, I'm starting to get back into the swing of getting the house together and cooking dinner. We had a really rough week last week - I think he started the 6 week growth spurt a little late - but yesterday he started being less fussy and today he's been a perfect angel, hardly crying at all, and taking great naps! I've noticed that at our house we are constantly wasting leftovers because I generally cook as directed in recipes and make 4 servings. I've decided to limit my cooking to 3 or maybe 4 times per week depending on the serving size so we can eliminate waste since we're on a really tight budget at the moment while I'm staying home with the baby.

Here is our plan for the week. Feel free to share yours!

Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: sesame chicken
Wednesday: reuben sandwiches with oven fries
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: mac & cheese and hot dogs
Saturday: sloppy joes with au gratin potatoes


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Newborn Life

I can't believe my child is already 7 weeks old! Life has been absolutely crazy since he's been here. I feel like he's been around forever, and being pregnant feels like it was years ago.

So how are we adjusting to life with a newborn? Well - we're working on it. It's much harder than I imagined it would be. I know people always say that it is going to be very difficult. I just didn't comprehend that until I started living it. I think that breastfeeding on demand makes things even more trying. We have run into a whole slew of breastfeeding issues and have been working on tackling all of them. Things are still adjusting and we have rough days all the same but I am holding out hope that eventually it will be much easier (and healthier!) for us in the long run.

Colton is such an adorable baby. He is getting more and more precious every day. He started smiling in the middle of his 5th week and it just made everything that much easier. He loves "talking" and smiling on the changing table looking up at us. It makes diaper changes a lot of fun. His focus has been really awesome. He watches us walk across the room and keeps looking for daddy as he hands him to me to feed him. It's very cute.

Unfortunately, Cole came down with a cold and cough at 5 weeks old and we are STILL seeing some residual effects from it. He has his very cranky days (like today for example) where I'm still not totally sure that his body has finished fighting infection. He's been having a lot of trouble staying asleep for naps which makes him very overtired and miserable. And then when he's overtired he gets very irritable while he's eating. Even having to burp becomes a screaming fest when normally he'll just pull away and whine if he has to burp. The milk flow too fast or slow is also grounds for screaming at me on a crabby day. We're trying to take those as they come. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to why he is happy as a clam one day and super cranky the next.

Colton really seems to like going out into the world. He likes looking around, likes being pushed in his stroller, really likes inspecting other people. When we visit at my parents house he seems to have a lot of fun learning with the grandparents and aunts and uncles are surrounding him and chatting him up. I can't wait until it's warmer out so we can go exploring more.

At his one month appointment, he weighed 9 pounds 8 1/2 ounces which amazed me! That's a gain of 2 1/2 pounds from his birth weight which is more than I could have imagined. It seems to me that his rate of gain has slowed since then, but we will find out at his two month appointment next Wednesday.

And now - some pictures!
9 days old 
11 days old  
2 weeks old
2 weeks old
3 weeks old
1 month old
5 weeks & 5 days old

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Colton's Birth Story



Warning to the reader: this story will most certainly include things about labor and delivery, obviously, and some content may be TMI for some people. These are all of the most important details I could remember from my very long labor experience.

The story actually begins on Friday, January 11 – only to say that I had been laying around for most of the night while Mark was at work. I had class on Saturday morning so I tried to make sure the lights were out and I was trying to sleep by 11 pm. I woke up a couple of times throughout the night, which wasn’t unusual, the fact that I was waking up at every little noise and sleeping very lightly was. I never wake up when the heat kicks on in our house but on this particular night I seemed to just be extra vigilant. I went to the bathroom a few times and noticed a couple of wet spots in my underwear. Nothing major, and nothing seemed to be happening when I wiped either. I had just laid back in bed and decided to Google some stories of water breaking in a slow leak and how slow it can be, just to rule out that this might be happening since there was so little. Suddenly I felt like I was leaking profusely. I got up really quickly and ran to the bathroom. My underwear was covered in clear discharged, leaked all the way through to my pants, and was running down my leg. When your water breaks you are supposed to check the time right away because babies are delivered within 24 hours of water broken to prevent infection. It was 3:37 am on January 12, 2013. We were on our way to having a baby!

Labor had not started at all for me when my water broke. I was totally shocked that it even happened. My understanding is that the water breaks before labor in much fewer cases than the other way around, like 10%. I feel like even though we went over this in our childbirth class the instructor made it sound like odds are this wouldn’t happen – but it happened to us! We had a few minor things left to pack and as much as I wanted to try and help or take a shower or relax for a bit before we left I quite literally could not get up without gushing more fluid, more than a pad would help. After dirtying another pair of underwear and pants I sufficed to just sit on the toilet, call the on-call number for the doctor, and yell instructions to Mark as we got ready to leave.

In order to get me out the door we stuffed a towel in my pants and laid another towel down on the passenger’s side of the car and were finally able to leave. It was about 4:30 AM at this point. The car ride was very surreal and I was getting nervous and excited all at once. The thought crossed my mind that normally when you’re in labor your not allowed to eat anything so we pulled over and got some snacks out of our hospital bag and ate them on the way. We arrived at the hospital at 5:00 AM and were admitted through emergency. It was funny because the same girl was working the admission desk when we were there a few days earlier for headache and high blood pressure, so we joked around with her that we wouldn’t be leaving without a baby this time! At this point I still was only feeling mild period-like cramps that started shortly after my water broke. I wasn’t tired at all, just ready to get the show on the road! We were admitted into Labor and Delivery room 3 and started the initial interview with our nurse. The monitor wasn’t showing any contractions yet and she had me drink some juice to wake up the baby so he could be monitored as well. I was checked and learned that I had virtually no progress going on whatsoever – cervix still closed and high.
For the next few hours the nurse suggested we try to get some sleep. Mark was able to take a short nap, which was good because he hadn’t even gotten to bed at all the previous night. He couldn’t sleep and had dozed off on the couch for just a short time before my water broke. I probably got somewhere around 3-4 hours of sleep combined with getting up and using the bathroom, sleeping lightly, and so on. I wasn’t able to sleep that morning in the hospital though. I watched TV in bed and had some light contractions start showing up on the monitor. The nurse came back around 7:00 am and said that I would be able to order a light breakfast, so I got to eat some scrambled eggs with toast and juice that finally got to my room around 8:00 am. While waiting I had to sign consent paperwork and get my blood drawn. I also had time to spread the word to family and friends about being at the hospital and what was happening so far.

During the morning the doctor came in and talked to me about what would likely go on since my water broke. He explained the two options typically include starting with medical interventions like Pitocin right away, or trying to stimulate labor naturally. I strongly indicated on my birth plan that I did not want medical interventions if possible and the doctor was great about that. He said he felt good about me working towards the natural route and would come to check on things later. I wouldn’t have a lot of cervical checks during the process because of the risk of introducing infection.

Our morning and afternoon was very busy with trying to get things going. We walked and walked and walked circles around the labor and delivery floor. The same nurses and housekeepers eventually started giggling about how often they saw us walking, and the intensity too. I would try and pick things up and go quicker in hopes to stimulate something. I also spent time bouncing on the birthing ball in our room. Contractions started coming more frequently, but not always consistently. They were anywhere between 3 and 6 minutes and were not super intense. They gradually seemed to become more uncomfortable but nothing worse than period cramps at that point.

My parents came up to visit us around 12:30, which started out okay but ended up being too distracting and overstimulating for me in the end. At first I thought it would be nice to have visitors but being as we had been there for 7 and a half hours with not much going on I just felt more frustrated and perhaps more performance anxiety or something with people sitting around waiting for something to happen. I was absolutely starving too, really wished I could eat something, and the nurse eventually got around to getting me some more juice and crackers. I had been drinking water throughout the process, which was certainly helpful.

At 3:30 PM, 12 hours after my water broke, the doctor came in to check out what was happening. And what was happening just wasn’t enough given our time restraints – I was only about 2.5 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced, but baby’s head was starting to come down nicely. The doctor suggested that we would need to get started on Pitocin to hopefully help move things along. He was reassuring that since the little contractions I had been having so far were working hard to efface me, the medication should truly be helpful. I was so upset though – this was just not part of my plan and I really didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t resistant because I knew it was important to deliver him more quickly but I cried quite a bit initially. I wasn’t defeated though. Just had to make the best of a situation I really was hoping not to deal with.

The nurse came in just few minutes later to hook up my IV and meds. IVs are truly awful. It took a while and all that jabbing is not just uncomfortable, it’s painful. They explained that the Pitocin would start on the lowest setting and they would only be able to turn it up every half hour as needed. I started on a 1 mL dosage and by the end I was up to 16 I believe.

My contractions prior to the Pitocin were already a tad uncomfortable but really not painful. Everything I’ve ever heard about Pitocin had left me terrified that I was going to immediately be in severe amounts of pain that I wouldn’t be able to handle but that really wasn’t the case. It seemed the contractions grew in intensity as gradually as the dosage picked up, maybe even less so. I worked on pain management with the birthing ball still, as well as sitting up in bed and laying on my left side. The nurse also suggested standing and leaning over the bed or a table and laying on my back or other sides. Walking could be done in my room but I wasn’t able to leave the room anymore.

Once the contractions started getting worse I was more than happy to not be walking the halls. The nurse later said how surprised she was that the birthing ball worked so well for me; I spent the majority of my time using it and leaning over as with my forearms on my knees was really nice for back pain.

What contractions felt like to me: I initially felt my contractions in my lower abdomen. They started wrapping around to my lower back and my hips as well. I am writing this 3 days after labor and I honestly can’t even recall how to describe the pain, but when it was really bad it was bad.

It took me a LONG time to get into active labor. At 12:00 am on January 13 the nurse checked me and told me that finally I was 100% effaced, but I was still only about 4 centimeters. Baby’s head was in position though and she suggested I make sure to stop using positions like leaning or standing that would make his head drop further and use the ball for counter-pressure or laying in bed on either side. For the next few contractions I laid on my left side, then got up and moved to the ball. The nurse came in and let us know that baby’s heart rate was starting to decelerate with contractions and that I should try to lay on my right side to see if that would help things. It actually did, and his heart rate went right back to where it should be.

After hearing that I was only 4 cm and the fact that the contractions had been bad and were still bad and getting worse was really upsetting. I was told that generally women will dilate 1 cm an hour, but I might go more quickly since I was totally effaced. The nurse helped me with breathing techniques and Mark helped any way that he could. What I found most helpful was to have him just cheering me on, reminding me to concentrate on my breathing, and to just be encouraging. I don’t think I ever actually looked at anyone during contractions, I preferred closing or covering my eyes. Hearing soothing voices helped me to try and relax and just get through what I could. He was the best support I could ask for and I could not have gotten through everything pain-med free without him.

I had gotten back up and moved to the birthing ball and had two contractions in a row where I started feeling like there was pressure in my bottom area. I was really freaked out by that because I wasn’t supposed to be dilated all the way yet. I asked Mark if he could try to go find the nurse to make sure that this feeling was okay. The nurse came in and we asked when I would be checked yet. She said that I was just checked 45 minutes ago at midnight so we would probably wait until 2 am to check me again.

We decided to move me to the bed first on my left side again and at that point I was in full freak out mode and yelling that he needed to go get the nurse, it felt like he was going to push himself right out! Mark went over to the door but I started begging that he needed to stay with me so he pushed the call nurse button and the nurse came in. I continued to freak out and explain that I felt like my body was just pushing and I couldn’t help it. The nurse ended up checking me and I was totally ready at 10 cm. From 4 to 10 in 45 minutes! I was also shaking so bad at this point, almost like I was practically convulsing, which the nurse said was normal at this point in labor. It kind of made everything seem worse though because instead of having a break from contractions and resting I was shaking uncontrollably.

Nobody really expected things to move this quickly, so the nurse had went to start setting things up in the room and had to go get the doctor who was actually about to go in to a C-Section before me. I know that some people find pushing to be relieving but I found pushing to be horrifying. It made me feel really panicky and it did not feel good to me to push – it just felt like my body took over and I had to do it. The nurse and doctor were super encouraging and excited, telling me to just listen to my body and let it tell me what to do. While things were getting set up I was able to push during my contractions with just Mark and I on the bed. I started feeling like I was just pushing and nothing was even happening, that you couldn’t see anything. The nurse told us that yes – you could see his head at the opening while I pushed. She pulled over a large mirror and during my next contraction she pointed out where you could see his head starting to make an appearance and it was the craziest thing! We did maybe 3 pushes before the doctor was ready.

Finally things were set up for real pushing. I got into the stirrup position and the doctor helped coach me on how and where to push as the contractions came. It was so hard to do and so painful, I thought. This took about 4 pushes, and on the last push since I was tearing the doctor decided to do an episiotomy to help him out. (at that point I asked them to push the mirror away, I didn’t want to see that happen). I felt the episiotomy but it honestly felt better than pushing without it. Plus this really motivated me to just get him OUT, I just didn’t want to push anymore. The doctor had me open my eyes mid push to see his head finally come out, with one last push out came his body and he was here! 1:47 am on 1/13/13. He weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce and was 20.75 inches long. He is the most perfect thing I've ever seen and he was so alert when he was born! I can't believe he's really mine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our son has arrived!

Colton Daniel was born on 1/13/13 at 1:47 am. He weighted 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 20.75 inches long. He is the most precious teeny thing I've ever seen! We are busy transitioning into parenthood at home now but I will have more to come soon.

One of his first pictures!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekly Menu 1/13-1/19

I am hoping to get to the grocery store tomorrow after my morning class, so I decided to do my menu planning a little bit early. I'm not even 100% sure how this plan will work out because we could be having a baby at anytime - so that will possibly throw a wrench in the plans. Either way, here's what I'm thinking for this week:

Sunday 1/13: Ranch Cheddar Chicken, Artichoke Dip
Monday 1/14: Leftover Artichoke Dip, Hot Dogs
Tuesday 1/15: Chicken Chili 
Wednesday 1/16: Eggplant Parmesan Heros
Thursday 1/17: Leftovers
Friday 1/18: Buttermilk Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs
Saturday 1/19: Leftovers

Some of you may have noticed that I decided to get rid of my food blog and export everything here instead. It just felt like it made more sense to me to have an all-encompassing blog rather than trying to update in two different places. I think that menu planning and recipes fit nicely with the overall themes of my blog as well - wife & mom stuff. I'd love to try and do a "dinner tonight" segment at least once a week, and also update if I do any baking or snack making or things of that nature.

If you have a menu plan, please tell me about it! I love reading menu plans and finding new recipes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

38 weeks

Daddy, Mommy, & Baby just shy of 38 weeks
Only 2 weeks to go now - or less! This weekend we spent time with both sides of the family and I had everyone fill out there guesses for when the little guy will be born and how much he might weigh. Some of the guesses are coming up this week, so I guess we will see if they are right! Personally I'm not feeling super different except maybe a little more cramping and braxton hicks contractions this week than last week. I've been feeling very moody and emotional the past few days and having a lot more trouble sleeping. I hope all of those things mean that labor is coming sooner rather than later.

Very early this morning we had a mini scare because I had a rather severe headache and my blood pressure was in the 150/99 range at the highest (according to a home monitor). We were advised to head to Labor and Delivery and I was monitored for a few hours. High blood pressure paired with a bad headache can sometimes be symptoms of preeclampsia, which is not something to take lightly. Thankfully after a few hours my blood pressure went down, my urine and blood samples were clear, and baby was looking good. I was terrified that things wouldn't improve because I was most certainly going to be induced if they didn't. The nurse had even prepped me for what procedure would most likely go on if things got to that point.

During our mini stay I learned that I am 1 centimeter dilated, cervix is still long. According to the monitors I was having contractions that were pretty consistent - about 4 minutes apart! I didn't really feel anything though, so the nurse said they probably weren't doing a whole lot to facilitate labor at that point. Kind of crazy to hear that though. I think I've recently pinpointed some changes in my Braxton Hicks contractions seeming to amp up into something more. I'm experiencing more shortness of breath in addition to tightening all over instead of concentrated in my lower belly. Seems like there might be a shift going on from false labor to true labor.

I moved my 38 week appointment to Thursday since we were just at the hospital on Tuesday and I would rather have some space in between trips out that way. I am crossing my fingers that something new is happening. Every time I talk to my mom about pregnancy related things it sounds like her body changed and prepared quite rapidly once things got going. Maybe it's hereditary? I hope so!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 2013

Photo Credit

I am a goal setter, a planner, a dreamer. New Year's resolutions are always right up my alley. I love imagining all of the things I could accomplish in an entire year's time! This year is kind of odd making resolutions because my life is about to change so drastically and I don't know exactly how the rest of life will respond to that, but I'd like to set some goals this year regardless.

1. Health
This is the resolution that everyone chooses year in and year out. I think it is even more important for me this year because I am most certainly going to have some baby weight to lose and some muscles to strengthen. My specific goals include:
  • eating a fruit and/or vegetable with every meal
  • limiting sugary beverages like pop and juice
  • find an exercise program or video that I enjoy and do it regularly
  • take the baby on 3 or more walks per week when the weather gets warm
  • reach a healthy post-pregnancy weight that I am happy with
2. Hobbies
Having a baby is certainly going to be a major hobby of mine, but I'd like to still keep an identity apart from being a mommy, so setting some goals for hobbies is essential. I have a hard time with hobbies to begin with as I'm always so caught up in working or being a student, and while I don't know what the future holds as far as a new job or my class workloads, here are some hobbies that I'd like to focus on in the new year:
  • experiment more with cooking and baking; test out a new recipe at least once a week (I've already tried out 2 new dinners this week alone and am about to make a new cake recipe tonight! so this is going well)
  • keep up with blogging and taking pictures of life
  • read at least 1 classic novel per month (I'd love to get through the Times top 100 novels of all time someday)
  • make fitness a priority and a hobby that I can learn to enjoy
3. Family
In this category I want to be a good mother and a good wife, find balance between spending time with family, and also including extended family as much as possible in our child's life. I want to find fun things to do in our neighborhood and explore with our son, even though when he's really tiny there won't be much to do right away. Some examples of things we would like to do this year:
  • Go to the zoo
  • Choose a new church 
  • Utilize our neighborhood park and find new parks
  • Go to the beach
  • Fourth of July vacation to Silver Lake Sand Dunes
  • Cider Mill and Pumpkin Patch visits
  • Chop down our own Christmas tree at a Christmas tree farm
4. School/Work
This category is difficult to set goals for because I'm just not sure what we will need to do vs. what will work out with our growing family (again). Some of the thoughts bouncing around my head include:
  • Finding a balance between class schedule and time at home
  • Complete school specialization successfully
  • Find internship and begin in the fall semester
  • Be open to various part time jobs should I need to go back to work when the baby is a bit older (possibly waitressing again, although I would love a part-time position at my previous county job, if available).
  • Study and take the NCE (National Counseling Examination) in October for licensure
  • Graduate with my Master's degree in December if all internship hours are completed!
I think that pretty much covers my bases! I know that this year is going to be challenging but I also am certain that it will be a wonderful year too. If you have any goals/resolutions that you are setting I'd love to hear about them!