Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now...Labor & Delivery

I felt better prepared going to the hospital for the birth of number three.  I learned from the from the first two and I just ready to go when it was time.  From me to you (in case you need it) things that I've learned...

  • Everyone (and I mean Everyone) is going to see everything.  There is no modesty in Labor and delivery.  What they show on all those baby shows with the mother being modestly covered, is only for the cameras. You might as well just roll with it.
  • Pick a labor coach who is going to be a calming presence and a good support especially if things don't go as planned. I was lucky that my husband can read me like a book and knew when I needed him without me having to tell him.  My SIL is also good at reading people and was able to help me out as I transitioned through each phase of labor. She knew what I needed before I could identify it. Very helpful! She's also been through each of my other SILs labor and deliveries and she's delivered 4 beautiful daughters. She knew what was up.
  • If you can, stand or walk as much as you can while you are laboring. It will make things move faster. Trust me. My SIL who coached me through this birth told me that's what we're doing next time. I think the final 45 minutes might have gone more smoothly if we had done this.
  • If you plan on nursing in the hospital, wear a nursing bra during labor and delivery.  Your pretty bra that you're wearing isn't going to cut it for nursing a baby, especially if you do it within minutes of delivery.  There isn't a time/place/or possibility of changing bras right after so that you can nurse your baby.
  • Go in with an idea of what you want your delivery to be and be prepared to throw it out at a moment's notice. Be flexible. You may not get the doctor you want, or maybe you'll have to go in a for cesarean when you were expecting to give birth vaginally.  Do what's best for you and the baby.  (Though I have not had to do a cesarean I did tell my labor coach to find a knife and cut the baby out of me the last 15 minutes of labor...that's another story for another time)
  • If you need meds, ask for them. Don't wait for the nurse to ask if you want them.  At the hospital I went to, they didn't give it unless you asked for it.  Ask. And definitely ask for a dose before the ride home, otherwise you will feel every bump and pothole on the way home. I certainly did after my first birth. ugh!
  • Ice it up "down there." If you can, ask them for an ice pack. It will help for the first 12-24 hours.
  • Even though you should take it easy, walk a little bit and try to do some things independently in your room. Picking up the baby. Taking a shower. Walking to the bathroom. Do what you can within reason. I stayed off my feet way too much after the first birth and had a tough recovery. I probably did too much after the 2nd birth and could have done less. I think I'm finding a happy medium after this one. It also helps that my husband is able to stay home for a few weeks to help out.
  • Breastfeeding hurts initially. You're learning, the baby is learning. Ask for the hospital's lactation consultant to see you.  It took me more than two weeks with my first kid before I asked for help. If I hadn't I would have turned to formula. But it was an easy fix and I nursed my son until he weaned himself a week before his first birthday.  I still had difficulty with number three. Remember, even though you may know what you are doing, the baby is still new at it.  Give yourself time to get used to it and ask for help.  I was fortunate that a friend, who is also a nurse, was able to help out over the phone, otherwise I'd be crying right now.
  • Bring comfortable clothes to wear in the hospital or for the ride home. You probably aren't going to fit in your cute pre-pregnancy stuff just yet.
  • NAP, NAP, NAP when you can. Easier said than done, especially when you have other children at home.  But if baby is napping, turn on PBS for the older kids and take a nap, too. I don't mind that my bed becomes a family bed at this time. At least I know where everyone is and honestly, you know that you've got that Mommy radar going and you can sense what's going on around you.
  • Remember you are champ! Childbirth is hard.  Do not beat yourself up if it did not go the way you wanted. I started to beat myself up over this last delivery. The last 45 minutes was tough (my epidural came out by itself and my body was reacting...again, another story for another time).  My husband and SIL told me I was a champ during the final phase, but I couldn't see it.  But they were right...it didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but when the time came, I got the job done.  My reward is the sweet baby who's sitting next to me.
  • Finally if anyone asks what you need, ask for a meal. You're not going to feel like cooking when you get home.  If you can get a few frozen meals in your freezer, you'll be good to go when you get home. It's one less thing to worry about while you're trying to juggle a new little life in your family.
Giving birth is one of the amazing experiences I have ever had.  Each one was different and unique. I love sharing "war stories" with other moms.   I hope my little list helps you. I wish I had known these things before I went in with baby #1. But now I know and can share my knowledge with you and now you know and knowing is half the battle...good luck :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Heart Prints

My friend J. teaches Mommy and Me yoga classes for preschool kids and younger. At the end of each class, she gives the mamas time to relax while she reads a story or does a short activity with the kids. One of the things she shared was a book about how kids can share their love with others through "heart prints." This concept has taken root in my house and Boogie loves when I tell him that something he has done has left a heart print.

Being that we just celebrated Valentine's Day this week, it seems only appropriate to share the heart prints that surrounded our new son's birth.

Yes, our son finally arrived! My water broke at 9:35pm on Saturday night (February 12th).  I had spent the morning with Bug helping to clean our church. At one point I was straightening the hymnals in the pews when Bug leaned into my belly and said, "Baby J. Come out. I want to meet you."  I was feeling the same way. I took it easy the rest of the day. That night I finally resigned myself that I would probably have to be induced on Wednesday. I was not looking forward to going to church the next day and see the shaking heads as I waddled into Mass.  Nonetheless I was resigned that's what would happen.  Around 9:30 pm Hubby and I settled into what had become our evening routine of watching an episode of The Wire on Netflix. Not even 10 minutes into the episode did I sit up suddenly and say, "Oh!" I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. Fortunately I made it in time and realized that my water had broken. I had been having contractions an hour before, but nothing consistent. The time ranged from 2 minutes to 17 minutes between contractions. We had been timing contractions for at least a week, so after an hour of sporadic contractions I had counted it as a "whatever." At the time my water broke, I wasn't having any contractions.  I had Hubby call the advice nurse while I took a shower. I also called my mom to have her come over to stay with the kids.  Fortunately, it was not too late to call my friend A. and ask her to come over to spend the night so that my mom could go with us to the hospital to see the birth of her 3rd grandchild.

Here are the Heart prints that surrounded the time of baby #3's birth.

  • My BFF A. called earlier in the evening to check on me. During this time I asked if she was willing to watch my two older kids so that my mom could join us at the hospital to watch the birth. She agreed. I just didn't think I would be calling her back 3 hours later to come over.  So A. came over and stayed the night with the kids
  • My SIL L. came to join me in labor and delivery. She has been to at least one birth for every sister/sister-in-law except for mine. I knew that I would want here there because of her calming presence.  We called her and she came over to join us. She didn't get much more than an hour catnap during my labor, but she was incredible the whole time.  I'm pretty sure I bruised her hand when I squeezed it during labor. She never complained and walked me through everything.
  • My husband was incredible through the whole thing. Even though I had everything my bag packed and the kids' bag packed in case they went to someone else's house, he made sure everything was in order. Throughout the labor he was there 110%. It got to the point where I didn't have to say anything and he was by my side to help me breathe through my contractions.
  • My friend K. had been calling and checking in on me throughout the week. She was the one who was going to take me to the hospital if my water broke during the day and Hubby was still at work.
  • My parents came to watch the birth of their 3rd grandchild.
  • While A. spent Sunday morning with the kids she wrote and illustrated books with them so that they could share it with their new brother when they came to the hospital.  She also called my parents to tell them to rest and not to rush to pick up the kids after they came home from the hospital. Not only that, when Hubby came home to relieve her after the birth, she told him to go upstairs to get a nap and shower and that she was fine watching the kids for longer.
  • My in-laws came to visit and kept me company while Hubby was home getting the kids settled at my parents house.
  • My BIL and my SIL came to visit the next day to meet their newest nephew.
  • Lots of love and encouragement via Facebook after I announced J.'s birth.
  • My kids lovin' on their baby brother when they came to visit him.
  • When I came home I found that Hubby had vacuumed and dusted our bedroom. Everything was put away. He changed the sheets and put together the cosleeper. Our room looked phenomenal and ready for our newest arrival.  
There is so much more, but this is the start. I feel so blessed by the love that surrounded this birth.  I was so antsy by the end and couldn't wait to give birth. I received a lot of encouragement prior to my labor, during my labor, and warm wishes when #3 made his arrival.

Baby #3 came in at a whopping 9lbs. 1oz. I was not prepared for this size. When the OB came to check me the first time during my labor she did warn me that he would be bigger than my other two who were 7 lbs. 5 oz and 7 lbs. 7 oz. I was thinking somewhere in the high 7s up to mid-8s, definitely not 9lbs!  We affectionately call him Bam Bam or the mini-freezer.  He is well loved by his siblings.  I am happy to be home with my family and to settle into being a family of five.

Headed to the hospital. No contractions yet!

Proud parents with our BIG Boy!

Feeling sweet relief that our son finally arrived. So happy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Keepin' Busy

I just saw on Facebook today that another dear friend has given birth to a beautiful baby girl. This is the 6th friend in the last 4 weeks who has given birth. I am genuinely happy and excited for my friends and their new babies. I can't wait to meet each of them!

In the meantime I am trying to stay busy so that I can keep my mind off the fact that I have not given birth yet.  I have scheduled quite a bit for us to do this week. So even though the sonogram technician's proposed due date (Feb. 7th) has come and gone and tomorrow I will officially be 40 weeks (according to the doctor's little circle chart) my dear friend J. reminded me that my other two children were born within 24 hours of my NFP date.  If that's the case, I have at least another 5 days of waiting.

Yesterday was our whirlwind Wednesday with MOPs in the morning and dance class in the evening.  Today I went to a play date held in our Church and tomorrow I have a gym date with Carpool Mom.  She will be training for a race and I will be training for a quick and easy labor & delivery (I hope!).  Her boys don't like going to the childcare at the gym and we thought that if Boogie was there, they would be more likely to enjoy it.  Going to the gym will force me to get out of the house and walk and keep my mind off the fact that I will be 40 weeks pregnant.

I have my final OB appointment tomorrow afternoon. My hope is that between the walk and the appointment, the OB will be able to stir things up and I'll be delivering sometime Saturday. If not, Saturday is our family's turn to clean our Church. I plan on being there, unless Hubby is adamant that I do not attend. He's been trying to make sure that I get enough rest.  I also read that there is a winter festival nearby on Saturday afternoon, so maybe we'll do that. It would be fun for the kids and of course means more walking.

All is well. I'm just ready to meet our new little guy. The silver lining is that the end is in sight and in less than a week I'll be holding our new son in my arms, no matter what :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Carpoolin' It

We're slowly making changes in our schedule. I'm trying to think ahead and make things a little easier for when the baby arrives.  One of the most helpful changes occurred in the just the last two weeks. 

I was sitting with another preschool mom chatting and the conversation came around to my very tired little girl who was sitting with me.  The other mom offered to pick up Boogie from school and drop him off so that Buggy could have a longer nap in the afternoon. We talked for a few minutes more and ended up deciding to carpool. I would pick up her boys before school and drop them off with Boogie and she would pick up the boys after school. 

I have no problem picking up the boys from school. It actually helps to keep me on schedule knowing that I'm responsible for getting other kids to school on time.  Having Boogie picked up in the afternoon is a huge stress relief. Bugs wasn't getting enough sleep between her night time wanderings and shortened nap times. Wednesdays were particularly hard. But now I don't have to worry. She (and I!) both get a much needed afternoon nap after we drop off the boys at school. She can stay asleep longer and I get just enough to carry me through the rest of the day.

The other benefit is that Boogie loves hanging out with his friends. They're such nice boys and it's nice to see Boogie interacting with his peers.  The carpooling has also led to a few extra play dates.  It's good to know that I can call this mother and ask if Boogie can come over for a play date so that I can go to the doctor's if needed. I have also offered to take her boys for her when she needs to take her other children to the dentist or when she has lunch duty at her older kids' school. It seems to work out for the both of  us.  It alleviates the stress (for both of us) of having to drag extra kids to appointments when they'd would much other play together.  I wish we had thought of this sooner, but still...it's only February. We've got plenty of playdates to get in before the end of the year :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sugar and Spice: Age 2

Sugar and Spice was the theme for the baby shower my friends gave me before Bug was born.  Boy, were they right. My sweet Bug is Sugar & Spice. She keeps me on my toes, while at the same time showering me with so much love it's amazing.

Buggy always wakes up before Boogie by at least 15 minutes. Sometimes more. The other morning, she came in to my room and snuggled with me in bed. While I was holding her and she patted my face gently and said, "Mommy, I'm your best friend."  Yes, she is.  We spends so much time together, that we are best friends in the way that only a mommy and her daughter can be.  I love her squeals of delight when she sees me coming in the door after I've gone out to run an errand.  It's also amazingly sweet to watch her when Daddy comes in the door after being gone at work all day.  She squeals and runs towards the door. She gives Daddy a huge hug and chatters away about her day.  She loves to dance and show us all her new moves from dance class. She adores her big brother and she is quite protective of him.  I especially love the way she tries to help me through my contractions. When I wince she holds my hand, says, "It's okay, Mommy, I've got you" and holds my hand until the contraction is gone. She kisses my belly and then tells her baby brother that she's ready to see him and to come out.

While she is adoring, wonderful, silly, and sweet, she shows her spiciness in other ways.

Recently the poor thing has been prone to long bouts of crying.  They're not really tantrums.  She's not kicking her legs and screaming...it's just lots and lots of crying.  As my friend J. pointed out, Bug is dealing with a lot of changes right now. Even though she loves sharing a room with Boogie, we did move her out of her room and now she's sharing a room.  She's ready for potty training and she's trying to work that out with all of the changes in our schedule.  And of course, soon, she will be a big sister.  That's a lot going on.  She knows that her one-on-one time with Mama will be more limited with the arrival of her new baby brother.

I see her dealing with a lot of these changes by preferring spending more time with Daddy when he is home. I'm perfectly okay with this because I think she needs to bond with him as much as possible. I think that Boogie got a little more bonding time with Daddy when he was younger because my husband was the one to drop him off at my mom's house when she used to babysit him when I was working.

She's also very torn about showing her independence and wanting Mama to be with her as much as possible. Her crying jags often have to do with her wanting to be with me...holding my hand up the stairs, going with me from one room to another, etc. and me trying to get things done and moving quickly. She'll stop and cry and cry and cry until I come back. Then when I ask her what's going on, she says in a sad pathetic voice, "I want you to hold my hand."  She just wants some extra TLC from me.

But even though she still wants me to be beside her, she's showing her independence by saying, "no," using her selective listening skills, or just doing her own thing, even though it's completely opposite of what I want her to do.  Although this can be frustrating, it seems like her show of independence isn't as intense as Boogie's was when he was that age. I remember lots of screaming, yelling, and outright defiance that tried my patience. Maybe she's less intense, maybe I know how to handle it better, maybe she hasn't hit the big time yet, but whatever it is, at this time I'm able to handle it.

I love my sugary and spicey girl and I hope that we continue to have a good relationship. I hope that my being home with her is laying the foundation to a lifetime of bonding and love.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweetness--Age 4

I marvel day after day about the kind hearts my kids display on a regular basis. I'm pretty lucky.

I'm amazed at how much my four year old has matured and grown into a kind hearted young man.  It seems the larger I get, the more patient, kind, and helpful he has been to me, to his sister, and to his friends. (Daddy is always his #1, so that's never been an issue).

I've marveled at all that he does to give me a hand during the day and around dinner time. He taught his sister how to put on her jacket and if I'm busy getting things together on our way out the door he'll attempt to button her jacket. I say attempt because she's not always compliant despite his best efforts.  Sometimes, if he can get her to sit down, he'll help her with her shoes.  He picks up things for me when I can't reach them, he does his little tasks and chores without complaint.  He's always ready for preschool when I tell him it's time to go.

Last night I was trying to make dinner. I made eggplant manicotti (yum!) but it takes forever to put together. Of course while I'm trying to mince the eggplant and put together dinner, Buggy wants a clementine and wants me to peel it. She wants attention (more and more so everyday) and I couldn't get dinner done while attending to her. I asked Boogs to peel her a clementine. He did and then he played with her so that I could get dinner ready. They ran around the house for an hour playing with one another.  He also helped with dinner by putting the manicotti shells in the water to boil--his contribution to making dinner. He's also learning to help set the table by getting the utensils out.  He always gives his sister two forks because without fail she will drop one during dinner.

The other day two of his friends came for an early playdate before I took them all to school. Each of the boys wanted to take a toy dragon with them in the car.  They were only able to find two, so Boogie gave up his beloved Night Furey (a Christmas gift from one of his cousins) to one of his friends until they could find another dragon. He did this without any prompting and with a ton of kindness.  He then scoured the house for another dragon, found one, and the other little boy happily traded the Night Furey for the dragon Boogie found for him.  I was pleased and touched by their maturity, kindness, and sweetness.

I really love this age. Boogie is independent and helpful, but still loves hugs and kisses.  He loves any one on one time I can give him. If his sister is napping sometimes we'll sit and read books while snuggling on the couch.  He tells me on a daily basis about how he'll teach the baby new things and how he's going to help me.

My hope is that he will continue this trend of loving sweet help as he continues to grow. My little man is growing up.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We Have a Date!

I'm obviously overanxious and ready to have this baby. I'm a teensy bit jealous as friend after friend has delivered her little bundle of joy. In the last 3 weeks at least 5 of my friends have given birth. Two that were due before me, three that were due after or around me. It seems that after all of my hard work in keeping this baby in me since September has worked. I have made it so cozy for him that he never wants to leave :)

Every night I have contractions, every night I go to bed in the hopes that they'll get stronger and awaken me and every morning I wake up disappointed that I haven't gone into labor.  On the flip side, I've gotten the best sleep at night than I have for months! That's not bad!

I went for another appointment yesterday. It wasn't my regular OB, but another OB in the practice.  He asked if me if I wanted him to do an "aggressive" internal  exam to get things moving. He tried and said, that I'm still carrying too high and it just wasn't time yet. In the meantime he schedule my induction.  It looks like with the Superbowl just days away and since I haven't given birth yet, that Hubby really will name this baby "Aaron Rodgers" since the Packers have made it to the Superbowl ;) I'm kidding...I hope :)

I've been given many due dates. The original was Feb 10th/11th.  The ultrasound technician gave me the due date of Feb. 7th. My NFP date is the 13th (I've recalculated and I think this is right).  My induction is scheduled on the 16th.  Both of my kids have been born on or the day after my NFP due date (though with Boogie, I was in labor on my NFP due date. I was also in labor for 27 1/2 hours). It is my hope that I am not carrying this bundle of joy around until the 16th, but will actually hold him in my arms before then.

To be honest, I really, really do not want to be induced. With Boogs, my water broke and then I never labored on my own and they put me on pitocin. It was a horrible experience and something that I don't want to go through again.  I realize that this is my 3rd child and things should go more quickly, but if I can avoid the induction I hope to do so. I haven't been able to go to the gym to walk the last few weeks because of inclement weather. With all of the snow and ice, the schools have been closed on and off and that means childcare at the gym has also been closed. I'm thinking today is the day that I make it to the gym to get things moving....if my kids wake up soon, that is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scheduling Changes

I love that both kids have been taking dance classes the last few months.  I've seen Buggy use some of the moves she's learned from Miss C. and use them when we have our family dance parties in the kitchen. She tries to use the right foot position when doing some of her ballet moves. I think that it has also been good for Boogie. Watching the two of them dance around our kitchen when the music is playing has been a lot of fun.

But with the new baby coming in the next two weeks, it was time to say goodbye to Boogie's dance classes. He's been asking since December if he can stop. He loves the classes, but Wednesdays have become very long days for us.  Every other Wednesday we have a MOPs meeting, although it's been canceled the last two times because of inclement weather.  But if we have a MOPs meeting, we leave the house before 9am.  Fortunately, MOPs and preschool are in the same building so after MOPs, Boogie will play with some of his MOPs friends until it's time for school, but then he is gone until 3:30pm then we leave the house again at 4:30 for dance classes and we get home around 7:30pm. It's a really long day for all of us. I use Thursday to recuperate.

I had Boogie stay with his dance classes so that he could participate in the Winter recital and he was glad that he did. But now he's decided he's done. We were going to stop by them soon anyway because it's almost t-ball season. With him being willing to stop earlier and our soon-to-be-born son arriving any time now, it's probably good timing. I was worried about how I was going to juggle 3 children for 2 hours every Wednesday night. Now, it will be for only 45 minutes. That will be easier for me to handle. By the time I get a handle on it, we will have two evening activities (each on separate nights): Buggy's dance classes and Boogie's T-ball.  I think by then I will have had more sleep (I hope!) and have a better grasp of having 3 children.

I still want the kids to participate in whatever activities they want as long as time and finances allow. But I will have to start looking at our schedule to see what we can truly handle and when. With that being said, I'm glad that Buggy is still taking dance classes. She's learning a lot and with her still too young to be in preschool, this may be her only activity for the next year and a half. I like that Boogie tried something different of his own choosing and enjoyed it. He still wants to take classes again next year, but we'll see what his schedule will look like because he will also be starting full-time kindergarten.

But as we wait for Baby #3 we'll see what other changes will come our way!