Thursday, May 30, 2013

One Month

Dear Owen,

It blows my mind that only a month ago, in the middle of the night, you took your first breaths and were placed (ahem, thrown) on my chest.  Just like they tell you in childbirth class, you came out screaming but as soon as you landed on me, you calmed immediately.  It was the end of a really long journey for your dad and I, but also the beginning of the rest of our lives.  We were so happy and excited to meet you.  Now that we have you here, each day that passes is one where we get to know you better as your personality starts to develop.  You take after both of us in that some days you are calm just like your dad but on other days, you are my son to the core and assert your will and use your little voice.  Luckily, unlike me, you have shown no signs of being picky when it comes to eating.  You don't discriminate between nursing and being fed a bottle and I've tried several kinds of formula and you've taken all of them with no complaint.  You are a hilariously gassy little nugget but you don't ever seem to mind or fuss due to gas related issues.

It's been a roller coaster of a month for me, my post-partum emotions were everything I was warned about and more.  We struggled with feeding and your weight was like a yo-yo up and down in your first two weeks of your life.  After two weeks, we found our balance between my milk and your little protein shakes, as I like to think your formula is for you.  Now you're making up for lost time and growing like a little weed.  With each day, you are growing and developing at such a rapid pace!  It's as if you change a little bit overnight and we're moving forward at lightning speed!

Speaking of lightning, you've lived through some crazy severe weather so far in your short life.  We've already been under more tornado watches and warnings than I can count!  You usually sleep right through everything, even the tornado sirens going off outside.  The weather has been utterly insane during your first month of life.  On May 2nd, when we brought you home from the hospital, the high was in the 40s and we were setting records.  Now that it's May 30th, we're settling right into summer and it's too hot for you to be outside for very long.

You met most of your family this month!  Your Grandpa River, Mimzy and Gram were in the waiting room for the entire 19 hours I was in labor with you just waiting to meet you.  You got to meet Miss Kate, Miss Charlotte and Mr. Ryan in the hospital.  Rev. Barry from church also came to see you and pray over you. When we got home, Miss Randi and Miss Meredith came over to see you right away.  Lots of sweet ladies from the church came by for the next two weeks to bring us food.  Auntie Mac, Grandma Bean, Great-Grandpa, Gappi and Jerry came to see you during your first weekend.  We even had a big party for you in the backyard on your due date and you got to meet Mr. Zach and Caroline and the Edwards Family!  The next weekend your Uncle Mikey came to see you and spend Mother's Day with us.  That was the first time that you were ever without Mommy and Daddy when we got to get a special pedicure while your uncle and Mimzy watched you.  You've met almost all of Mommy's old co-workers and we go to see them almost once a week.  Gram came back to visit with the Great-Whoops and Grandpa Bernardi.  So many people have given you fabulous gifts and sent their well-wishes.  You are a very loved and cherished little boy.

You don't cry very much, you kind of whimper and you have a distinctive angry squawk.  The most angry that you've ever been was at your two week appointment when they did your metabolic screening for PKU and had to prick your foot to draw blood.  Otherwise, you have a pretty great temperament.  You do fuss a little during the evenings, but I think most babies just do that.  You are a VERY grunty baby, you usually have something that you must be trying to tell us by grunting.

So many other babies were born in May, just days after you!  So far you've met Cadence, Miss Charlotte and Mr. Ryan's daughter who was born on May 16th.  Mommy's first excursion alone without you or Daddy was to see her in the hospital and we went to see her at home when she was one week old.  Sadly, the two of you were either eating or sleeping for 99% of that first meeting.

We celebrated our first Mother's Day together!  Since we were still working out our feeding situation and you were less than two weeks old, we just went down the street to NorthPark for lunch at Maggiano's and had a pretty low key day.  It was so strange to me to be celebrating the holiday for the first time!

I was just saying to a friend today that if I could, I'd go back and relive my last week of pregnancy and the first week of your life.  So many of the details become more fuzzy to me as the days go by and I don't want to forget any of those moments.  Luckily between this blog and your baby books, I'll hopefully be able to tell you about this time when you're older.  You've changed me in ways that I'm not even fully sure I understand yet.  You make me want to be a better person and better Mom every morning when I wake up.  Even when I struggle to make you happy (tiny babies are tough little cookies sometimes) I'm still thankful for every moment we get to spend together.  You are the best thing that ever happened to us and we love you beyond your wildest dreams.

Love always,
your Mommy

Stats and Milestones:

Height and Weight:  21 3/4 inches at your 2 week appt, 9 lbs 8.5 oz- weighed you tonight
Diaper Size:  moved up to size 1 from newborns last week! 
Clothing Size:  mostly 3 months, I packed away almost all of your NB size yesterday

Checked out of the Hospital:  May 2nd
First time at the pediatrician:  May 3rd for a jaundice check
First time without Mommy or Daddy:  May 11th
First Mother's Day:  May 12th
First time at church:  May 26th
First smile:  May 23rd

You sleep in 3-4 hour stretches at night, down to just two wakeups in 11 hours from 10p-9a.
You are eating all of the milk I can make and about 18-22 oz of formula per day.
You have almost mastered holding your head up, you can do it for a couple of seconds at a time.

Nicknames:  Owen Bear, Mr. Bear, Monkey, Mr. Baby, Mr. Tiny Man, Baby O, Mr. O
Things you love:  your Soothie paci and Wubba Nub, nursing when you are especially cranky, your doggie brothers, pictures on the wall, riding in the car, your Rock N Play sleeper, Tommee Tippee bottles, being massively gassy, blowing out diapers because you only like to go once every two days or so, watching Blackhawks playoff games with Daddy
Things you don't love:  when you drop or knock your paci out of your mouth, when the doggies jump on you (oops), your mittens, when you accidentally give your mouth a fishhook, being hungry

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013 To Do List (revisited)

I made a 2013 To Do List in lieu of making resolutions.  I figured now is as good a time as any to see how I'm doing:  

1.  Read 20 "for me" books.  Which basically means books not on parenting and/or getting your baby to sleep.  Which seems like such a wimpy goal but I didn't read any in 2012.  Also in conjunction with this, putting my phone down more, writing more and taking more pictures.  

Woefully awful in this department.  I started Gone Girl (didn't really like it, might not finish) and read Divergent.  That's about it... I haven't even completed any baby books.  Ooops.
2. Run a 5K in under 27:00.  This will be a late fall goal for me but I think it'll give me something inspiring to train for over the summer after Owen comes. 

Starting back to running ASAP!  Can't wait to tackle this one. 

3. Get back to the weight I was when I took my positive pregnancy test.  Ironically, this was the lowest weight I've seen since high school.  Not ironically, I think it had something to do with basically giving up alcohol.  Dammit. 

This officially starts tomorrow.  I gave myself 4 weeks of continued gluttony (with the addition of champagne and wheat beer) and now it's time to get back to clean eating.  I can use the extra energy.  

4. Paint Owen's room and get his nursery ready!  Started with a paint sample today so moving right along with this project.

DONE!  Woot!  His room came out better than I hoped.  I just need to get his cool birth stats page framed for the wall.  

5. Run a half marathon in under 2:10.  My previous best is 2:05 but I think I want to tackle the under 2 hours mark in 2014.  I'm trying to be realistic about life and my body post-baby.

This one is going to be a tough one because my target half marathon is the weekend of my brother's wedding so we'll be out of town.  We're planning to run one in San Antonio in November but Rock N Roll half marathons are notoriously crowded and may not be the place for me to run my fastest...

6. Do my own 30 day yoga challenge.  I'm not even 100% sure that I went 30 days straight when I was in teacher training!  I did more than 1 class a day on several occasions so I know that I can physically do it but I want the mental challenge of getting myself to class every day for 30 days in a row. 

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! I have a baby now and most yoga does not provide childcare!  This one might have to be amended to be a fitness challenge for now.  I wasn't deeply in love with Pilates when I wrote this list.  

7. Go to the Blathering in October.  It's high time and I'll be able to really enjoy it this year.  And it is a "kill two birds with one stone" situation as I've always wanted to visit Charleston and South Carolina is one of only 4 states I have left to go to.

Have hotel reservations and roommates.
Bought plane ticket.

8. Get spin certified.  Hopefully can knock this one out in late summer.  This one makes up for the fact that Owen is due during the week of our MS 150 ride this year. 

Add "Get Pilates certified" to this.  Still planning to make both happen.

9. Find a play group, for Owen but also for me. 

It may not be a play group, it might be a Mother's Day Out or daycare situation depending on me going back to work.  

10. Find a church and baptize the little man.  This one will be a mom-assisted goal, for sure.  But I grew up with strong church bonds and friends and I want that for Owen.

Done!  Joined the church at 38 weeks pregnant.  Owen's baptism is scheduled for a significant family date in September.  Love the church. 

11. Go and see at least 6 movies in the theater.  Again, probably an easy goal for you but a REALLY tough one for me! 

Saw two:  Argo and Promised Land... will I get the other four? (doubtful)

12. Stay on budget now that we'll be a one income + part-time yoga teacher family.  Time to get serious about not getting everything I want.

I suck at this.  

13. Work on my garden and plant a lime and/or lemon tree. 

Work in progress!  Definitely rocking the garden.  Sadly, the citrus tree was not recommended by the horticulturist at the Farmer's Market due to our region's temperatures.  BOO.


14.  Be more present.  Turn off my phone.  It's part of my goal from item #1 and I haven't been doing it.  

15.  Go on one date night a week with Adam.  Make it work and continue to make our marriage a priority.  Happy parents = happy baby.

16. Get Owen to sleep through the night and work out a daily routine that is good for both of us.  

5 months down, biggest goal accomplished (I birthed a baby!), 7 months to go

Monday, May 27, 2013


Well, it only took me three weeks or so to finally regain a semblance of control over my emotions!  Ironically, it occurred around the same time that my body started regulating and adjusting to breastfeeding.  The only thing that wasn't good was that I think with the loss of some of the out of control hormone levels, I started to actually feel some of the pain of recovery.  I feel like Week 3 hurt worse than Week 2!  I think that post-partum recovery is often one step forward and two steps back.

Owen is growing like a weed!  He'll be one month old on Thursday and I'm excited to do a post for that.  I had started his baby journal book while we were still at the hospital but this week I finally got all of the pictures printed and did his big scrapbook too.  It was a lot more fun looking back at my pregnancy than I thought it would be.

Mentally, I feel so much more like myself now.  Physically, I feel like I gained 10 lbs in the past week and I've refused to get on the scale for almost two weeks now.  Tomorrow after the holiday, I'm putting both Adam and I on a "diet", which basically means for me, I'll be tracking my eating and for Adam he'll lose a ton of weight just because I'll be cleaning up my diet and making more healthful meals.  I gave myself the month of May to really enjoy myself when it came to eating and drinking but it's time to get serious.  I'm planning to start running again this week (bending the recovery rules just a bit) and I'll be hopefully cleared to go back to my normal routines when I see the doctor in two weeks.  I want to feel good again and healthy.  It's also an example I want to set for Owen.  I've said that I'd do another marathon but I want to do it when Owen is old enough to remember.  I want to always set the example of a healthy lifestyle for him (with balance of course) and I always want him to see me as a strong person who can do anything that I put my mind to.

I'm toying with the idea of possibly going back to work in October.  I don't know any of the details yet but it's been quasi-overwhelming to look at potential child care and Mother's Day Out options.  I know I'll be back to teaching after he gets his two month shots in July so he'll be exposed to some child care during my classes and I believe firmly that it'll be good for both of us to have the time apart.  For me, to be back to teaching and for Owen to learn to be comfortable with other caregivers and other kids.  We'll see what opens up for me as far as my job situation.  It will be an interesting road to travel and one that I didn't think I'd go down so soon.  I have to admit that when we were leaving the hospital, I had a bunch of anxiety about my new identity as just "Owen's Mom".  I have nothing against being a stay at home mom but I did enjoy my work and I like the financial freedom that working outside the home brings me.  As with so many things that have come up for me and us since the turning point that was the positive pregnancy test, I've made decisions that I never thought I'd be making.  Never say never, I suppose, is the best motto for this parenting gig.

We had a mini milestone yesterday when we went back to church for the first time since Owen was born.  He was awake for the whole service but whenever he got a little grunty, Adam just gave him his pacifier and it did really well!  We don't have any more visitors scheduled so we're just going to settle into our little life here.  Overall, I'd say we're all doing better than I expected :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Even though I JUST KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN, it doesn't take away from the fact that it still blows my mind.  I'm talking about the fact that as each day passes, I forget most of the mundane details of my pregnancy, labor, delivery and the immediate aftermath.  My friend had a baby on Thursday and as I was driving to the hospital to see her (thankfully, not the same hospital Owen was born at because I  probably would have had a mini breakdown) I had the most odd feeling.  I realized that I don't remember a lot about our hospital stay.  Looking back, the four days just seem like a big blur.

This is how you get sucked in to having more than one child.

While I still bear the soreness in the right side of my ribcage and back, I don't feel the intensity of the pain of pregnancy.  It's been so long (almost 3 weeks now!) since I've been sick that the memories are fading of how icky those nine months were.  I've thought so many times lately that I could probably do it again if I had to.  Do I want to do it again?

I told Adam that if he wanted to have another baby, that now was the time to "speak now or forever hold your peace" and that if we were going to go for it, I'd want to start trying soon and have "Irish twins".  When I told him this, he understandably freaked out.  Was I asking to have another baby?  Not really, but I did say that I'd do it again if it was something he really wanted.  And I do love him that much that if having a second child was something he couldn't live without, I'd be willing to do my part to make that happen.  The ensuing conversation was hilarious and we tabled the discussion for now that we're pretty sure that we're done here post-Owen.

I tried to process all of that a little more in my head and ultimately settled on this, this life we have now, is enough for me.  It's not the idea of being pregnant again or having another baby that I'm in love with, I'm grieving the loss of the experience, the anticipation.  Fridays are hard because we spent so many Friday afternoons at the doctor's offices, Adam and I together.  It was a great way to start our weekends together and at the very least we always got to hear his heartbeat and get the good news that Owen was growing well on the inside.  I miss that.  Not pregnancy itself but the excitement that surrounded it.  All of the hope, the nervous feelings, the intense love we felt for someone we hadn't even met yet.

No matter what happens, there will never be another first pregnancy or another first baby.  The experience of having a second child would be markably different.  It would be Owen coming with me to appointments, not Adam.  I would never be having that exciting/scary very first ultrasound again or the big moment of the anatomy scan of my firstborn.  Not to say it wouldn't be awesome in it's own way but what I am feeling is the desire to have some of that time back, the moments we shared together waiting for Owen to arrive.

If we ever do change our minds or if we're blessed with an unexpected second addition, I feel fully confident that there would be plenty of room in my heart to welcome another baby, another child.  Even though my heart feels a tug of sadness when I think about never being pregnant again and never having the experience, right now, all of this is enough.  Owen and Adam (and the two mangy mutts) are enough for me and my heart feels full.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mom Guilt

I spent a really long time on Mother's Day afternoon while Owen was napping reading over all of the blog posts I'd written during pregnancy.  I remember not wanting to write at all and feeling so negative a great deal of the time but now I'm happy to have those thoughts and feelings written down to remember exactly where I was, mentally, during that time.  

It also inspired me to do more writing in these early days of his life.  There is so much changing and going on and I'm hoping this space will remind me later of what this was like.  

Last week, we went to the pedi for a weight check and to meet with the lactation consultant.  Owen was starting to slowly gain back his birthweight so I left feeling good.  Thursday was not our best day for feedings and I think he went 6 hours at one point overnight without eating.  It was really stressful but I struggled with getting him awake enough to eat most times!  Then on Friday, it seemed like we were snapping out of it.  While he still went a longer stretch in the afternoon and a couple of longer stretches at night, he ate almost every hour to hour and a half during the morning and evening.  I figured he was going through his growth spurt and was just demanding more food to help up my supply.  When I was pumping, I wasn't seeing significantly more but when you're pumping and actively feeding at the breast, it's hard to gauge what your supply is really like.  Unfortunately, he didn't have a bowel movement from Friday until yesterday (Tuesday) so I was pretty concerned about that.  I just kept looking at him on Monday and thinking that he was so so skinny!  Adam kept telling me I was crazy but now I know to never ignore my mother's intuition that something is wrong. 

Yesterday was his two week appointment.  The first thing they do is measure and weigh the baby.  He's growing in length but his weight was down... way down from even his lowest point after being born.  It's normal and expected for babies to lose up to 8-10% of their birthweight but by two weeks they should have gained it all back and he was down nearly a pound from his birthweight.  That combined with no poop had me a little shaken up.  The pedi wasn't concerned about the poop since breast milk is highly digestible but the weight loss means that we'll be supplementing with formula for now.  None of this takes us completely by surprise since the fact that my body is even making milk at all is a small miracle.  I'm not disappointed by the formula, in fact, I feel strangely relieved.  The guesswork of breastfeeding is extremely hard for me and with the formula, I can measure and know at least half of what he's getting per day.  It's also nice to know that Adam can help feed him and they can have that bonding time together.  

Last night was tough, getting him to eat such an increased volume was really hard at first.  We finally realized what it's like to have a spitting up baby that poops and pees EVERYWHERE.  He pooped and projectile vomited on Adam and peed all over the wall in his nursery.  We got to take an impromptu bath- good times.  But he's a different baby, more alert and I love getting to see his blue eyes.  (I'm starting to think they are changing and will be brown, womp womp womp).  

I struggled a lot last night with everything, for some reason nighttime makes things harder for me even when I've had a good-hormone day.  I wished away most of my pregnancy without realizing that it wouldn't be any easier to take care of him with him on the outside.  I could shield him from pain and make sure he was well fed and growing when I was pregnant with relatively little effort.  Now, I have to watch him get blood tests and shots and he has to learn to feed himself.  It's hard for me to give up so much control that I had over the situation before.  The hormones still make me feel very out of control of my emotions and the Mom Guilt sometimes takes over me and makes me feel like I am a terrible mother and that I'm failing him in someway, even when I rationally know that isn't true.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Owen's Birthday

It's only fitting that I'd find the time and emotional space to finish this on my first Mother's Day.  I wanted to write this as detailed as possible so that I will always be able to look back and remember this time.  April 30, 2013 was the date of my greatest accomplishment in life so far, the end of nine long months of pregnancy and even longer than that the months of waiting for our precious son to be in our arms.  I'm thankful to Owen Thomas Michael for making me a mother and giving me entrance into the club of women that celebrate this holiday.

We went to our doctor's appointments on Friday, April 26th to have our last ultrasound with the high risk people.  As previously stated, I was diagnosed with fetal macrosomia, which is a medical reason for being induced after 39 weeks.  We met with the scheduler at our doctor's office who called downstairs to Labor and Delivery and set my appointment for 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, 4/28.

I woke up on Sunday morning so ready to rock and roll!  I got really sick on Saturday night after dinner so we had been awake later than planned but I was able to get a solid 6.5 hours of sleep, which was a rarity toward the end of pregnancy.  I even took another 1 hour mini nap before getting up to shower for church.  I felt like drying and straightening my hair since I had no idea when I'd be able to do so again after baby.   We went to church and lunch and did a big lap around the mall window shopping and visiting my old co-workers.  Went home and cleaned up some more around the house and did all of our last minute stuff before picking Adam's mom up at the airport.  My mom came over, we left the doggies with their grandmas and then went to dinner at Cheesecake Factory before heading to the hospital.  We sat at the bar because I was nervous about being late to the hospital and split a Crispy Chicken Costelleta and Oreo Cheesecake.  We had friendly banter with the bartender about being on our way to have our baby!  It was a great meal but in retrospect, I wish we had taken the cheesecake to go to the hospital and ate it a little later.  I ended up with a little heartburn and upset stomach after checking in but managed to keep that last meal down (knowing what I know now, this was crucial).  We checked in, got an awesome room and the first of many amazing nurses to start my induction.  I was given Cervadil, which is a medicine to help ripen the cervix.  Luckily, I was starting early labor and beginning to make a little more progress, which was hopeful after our exam on Friday.  I worked darn hard over the weekend to make those little changes happen!  They also gave me low dose Ambien to help me sleep, which was awesome.  I fought through my last night of terrible pregnancy reflux and slept pretty well before they took us downstairs to Labor and Delivery at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning.  I met my nurse, Cathy, who was this blonde adorable lady.  She struck me as someone who might have been a cheerleader in high school and we set our goal for a healthy vaginal delivery for her shift (that ended at 7:00 p.m.).

When we got there, I was checked and found out that I hadn't progressed much over night, which was super discouraging for me.  I was hooked up to an IV drip of Pitocin and contractions started becoming more regular, frequent and progressively more intense.  Baby was tolerating everything well and they kept upping my doses and my doctor came in and broke my water around 10:15 a.m.  That was an entirely odd experience, to say the least!  Throughout the morning, lunchtime and early afternoon I was making slow progress and as they kept increasing my dosage of Pitocin, I kept feeling more and more pain and intensity with contractions.  I did the first of about 10 billion things that I said I'd never do and had my dad, mom and mother-in-law in the room with us when I could tolerate it.  At some point after 2:00, we had them leave as I was starting to labor harder.

By 4:30, my doctor came to see me for the last time that day and I was still in pretty early labor in the grand scheme of things.  However, my contractions were coming one on top of the other with very short breaks (where I was still feeling a lot of pain) in between.  I knew the on call from my doctor's practice would come in to check me at 6:30 and my next goal was to make it until then before deciding on getting an epidural.  I made it until right before 6:00 before I realized that goal sucked and I really needed to re-evaluate.  Adam and I tried almost every position we'd learned in yoga and birthing class to labor in and nothing was working.  One of my biggest fears with getting the epi was that it would chain me to the bed and I wouldn't be able to move around like I wanted to and a big part of making the decision to get one was that sitting up on the edge the bed and laboring was actually the only position I could tolerate.  After I got sick for the first time, I was starving (shhh, don't tell, I snuck a couple of handfuls of snacks that we'd brought) and really struggling mentally with my slow progress.  One of the only pieces to our birth plan was for me to be in between contractions (and hopefully more in my right mind) when I asked for the epidural because I knew that in the heat of the moment I might ask for one.  I just wanted to make sure I was truly ready.  At right around 6:00, Cathy came in and we labored together through a contraction and when it was over, I just said, "I'm done".  I faced my other big fear with the epi, that it wouldn't allow my body to progress, and despite my initial disappointment I knew I had to do it.  It was just before my 6:30 check with the on call doctor that I got the epi put in and it completely changed the course of my labor.  I was happy that I put in 10 hours of Pitocin and med-free labor but I was still not even to 4 cm, which is where most people start the active labor portion and check in to L&D when they go into labor on their own.  Thinking about it that way is so crazy in retrospect because I'd already felt I'd been put through the ringer and things were still moving so slowly.

Looking back, I definitely had two distinctly different experiences:  the med-free portion and post-epidural portion.  Because I got the epi around 6:00 p.m., it was just before the nursing shift change and right around the time that we started working with the on-call doctor.  It was surreal having Dr. Angel come into the room and talk to us the first time because all signs were pointing to her being the doctor that would be delivering our Owen, whether it was in that L&D suite or in an operating room.

My fears about the epidural were that it would slow down the progression of labor or stall it out, thus guaranteeing me a c-section that night since my water was broken.  When Dr. Angel came in just after 6:30 and I was finally relaxing and getting some rest.  Both she and Cathy agreed that I'd done the right thing and that having the epi would help my body to relax and move forward with labor.  They set my goal for first getting to 4 cm and then progressing one centimeter per hour after that.  Around that time, Cathy left and my new nurse, Laurie came in.  Luckily Dr. Angel was very positive but also realistic in her talks with us.  We knew that c-section was on the table if my body couldn't progress 1 cm per hour.  She did give Laurie to ok to jack the Pitocin level up to really jump start things.  She also agreed that she'd be by every two hours to check on me and we'd continue to move forward from there.  It took FOREVER for my body to get to 4 centimeters!  I think it was at her 8:30 check when we finally hit that milestone.  When she left, we knew we had until 10:30 for my body to get to 6 cm or it was to the operating room with us.  That was scary, knowing that I'd been laboring for 12 and a half hours to move only 3 centimeters and that now my body was really going to have to get moving.  I also realized that Owen was not going to have an April 29th birthday, most likely.  My mom, dad and Adam's mom had gone to dinner and come back.  They hung out with us in our room until just before our 10:30 check.  My body was doing it's part and was at a 6, saving me from a c-section for now.  I was relieved but still frustrated.  We were heading for a long night.  Dr. Angel recommended that we try to get some rest.

I had made a Spotify playlist that we'd been listening to for most of the day.  At one point, I think we had HGTV on in the background but I think that was during the epi-free portion of the day and I was in no shape to pay any attention to Property Brothers and HouseHunters.  As we laid down to rest, I had Adam put a song that I had basically joined Spotify to get, a mantra by Dharma Mittra called Hum Sa.  Hum Sa is one of my favorite mantras (also said as So Hum) and it simply means "I am" or "I am That".  In my weird blend of yoga spirituality and Christian faith, I just love it because it's simple and makes me feel a little closer to God.  I also tend to hum to release energy when I'm really sick, which is why it came to my mind when I was talking to Cheryl, the doula that taught my prenatal yoga classes about my potential labor playlist.  I joined Spotify because I knew that one of my favorite yoga teachers, Carter, would have it in his account and sure enough I was right.  Dharma Mittra is his guru and his version of Hum Sa is a 45 minute track and I've heard it countless times in Carter's classes, most recently when I spent every Monday afternoon from basically 20 weeks pregnant until 34 weeks in class.

When Hum Sa started, Adam laid down on his couch and me in the bed and I fell in and out of a sleeping state that I can really only describe as an extended savasana (for non-yogis, this is the few minutes at the end of your yoga practice where you lay down and quietly meditate).  It's also known as the final relaxation at the end of practice.  I was acutely aware of my surroundings and of the music but I was also not fully awake.  I think Hum Sa was on repeat because I feel like it was still on when I woke up a little more than an hour later with a start.  I yelled for Adam to bring me a barf bag (#2 of the day if you're counting) and to call the nurse.  I don't know why I wanted him to call for Laurie, as I'd already been sick once that day and this was probably barf #1,385 of pregnancy but she came running in because I'm pretty sure they could hear me hurling over the intercom.  Maybe I thought they'd give me another hit of Zofran like they had before?  Who knows now.

Either way, Laurie had this almost excitement about her when she came into the room, which kind of irritated me at the time because I felt like a hot pile of garbage.  As I said before, my labor was almost two different experiences and the change over from Cathy to Laurie was a huge part of that.  Where as Cathy was perfect for my non-medicated portion where I needed someone to be my cheerleader, Laurie was way more mellow and perfect for the time in my labor where I needed to simply relax and allow things to happen.  Laurie explained that being sick was a really good thing and that most people get sick just when they have fully dilated and are getting ready to push.  She said that even though it was more than 30 minutes before Dr. Angel was supposed to come, she was going to check me then anyway.  She checked and looked at Adam and I with a smile and said that I was complete.  For those keeping track, that was my body dilating 4 centimeters in barely over an hour and that also meant that I'd slept/meditated my way through transition, which is considered to be the worst part of labor.  My mind was blown.  It was almost midnight and the reality that we were about to do this thing was really setting in for Adam.

Laurie said that his head was not in the best spot yet and that she wanted me to "labor down" for another hour to see if we could get him to move and to conserve my energy for pushing.  HUGE BUMMER at the time but in retrospect, I appreciate that she had the foresight to slow me down.  That hour went by both slowly and quickly.  At about 1:00 a.m., Laurie started setting up the warmer that was in our room with baby things!  Another nurse came in and set up the "sterile table" and good grief was that ever sobering.  There were a lot of tools on that table that I was hoping we wouldn't have to use.  At 1:00, Laurie thought I still needed to keep laboring in the hopes that the contractions would bring him to an even better spot.  I asked her if I could be in a better position to help further that along.  She and the other nurse moved some stuff around on my Transformer L&D bed and they laid me on my right side with my legs basically in a squat position with one leg being held up by a stirrup.  I'm so thankful that i continued to work out and practice yoga throughout my pregnancy because almost as soon as I moved positions I started feeling those sensations that I'd need to be pushing soon that Laurie wanted me to feel.

We got the all clear to start pushing at a little before 2:00 a.m.  Pushing was an entirely different ballgame of crazy.  As we got started, Laurie said that she'd describe for me how she wanted me to push.  Then it occurred to me that in all the classes we'd taken, no one had ever really talked about that!  Scary.  I pushed holding the backs of my legs for a little while but Laurie installed these little handlebars next to me that I could use to really get my body into it and it made a huge difference and I felt like I was stronger and better able to push.  It hurt so bad to push!  It was definitely like mile 21-26 of the marathon where I had Adam with me and all I wanted to do was walk but he kept pushing me to run or jog.  At one point, I said I couldn't do it and Laurie told me there was no other way and that I had to keep going!  I got sick several times, which really sucked and set us back because I'd have to sit out the next contraction to rest.  Adam also had an oxygen mask for me that I could use to help me breathe between contractions and pushing sets.  When we started, I was pushing in sets of three but at the end, Laurie had me do a fourth push on each contraction to really move Owen out.  A few minutes before 3:00, she called for Dr. Angel.  I remember the doctor coming in and starting to get ready and I told Laurie that I couldn't not push that I had to keep going.

I think Dr. Angel was only there for one set of pushes and I felt Owen's head and then shoulders come out.  The shoulders were what really hurt!  It was just seconds until we heard him take his first breath and cry and then all of a sudden this huge, messy baby was placed on my chest.  I couldn't believe first how big he was and secondly how much of a conehead the poor baby had!  (I didn't realize that the conehead would start going away within a few minutes.)  Adam was crying, I can't remember if I was or not but I was so overwhelmed and freaked out that this perfect little being was what had been inside my body all that time!  A few minutes later, they took him over to get cleaned up.  They weighed him and he ended up being 8 lbs, 8 oz which was almost what the ultrasound from Friday had predicted.  After they cleaned him up, they brought him back over to me.  I think at some point in there, I got cleaned up myself, although I'd rather forget those parts!  We had about an hour after he was born with just the three of us before I sent Adam to the waiting room for the grandparents who had been waiting all day for him to be born.

Looking back, we're not entirely sure how well the epidural worked for me!  It helped me to not feel the strength of the contractions but I definitely felt a ton of sensation that I'd venture to call pain during pushing.  Most of the evening, I could feel one side or the other and we spent time rotating from side to side to help with that.  At one point, we'd even called the anesthesiologist back in but by the time he came, I was feeling ok and didn't really want him to mess with me.  Most people I know didn't feel pain during pushing so I'm not sure what happened there.

We went up to our room around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m.  By the time we left the basement of L&D, the sun was coming up.  The bright side about Owen being born at 3:06 a.m. was that we still had the entire day to celebrate his birthday!

Emotionally, it's Owen's 12th day of life and I am just now able to finish this without completely breaking down into sobs.  I'm just starting to break through the hormonal haze and feeling a little more like myself.  Most of my pregnancy symptoms are long gone and I'm feeling human again.  The places where Owen lived in my ribs and was kicking my ribcage and back are finally healing and feeling less sore.  My upper body hurt for days after delivery because I was using so many muscles to lift my body up to push.  I'm still feeling a little pudgy but I'm enjoying that my belly is soft instead of this protruding  rock-solid structure that got in the way of everything.  Time is definitely healing my wounds and each day that goes on makes me feel a little more "normal" in our new normal.  If you made it this far, you deserve many congratulations!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I'm still working on Owen's birth story.  It was easily the most powerful experience I've ever had so actually writing it down from start to finish has been emotional and really tough.

The amount of hormones still working their way through my body makes me struggle to get through the days sometimes.  He's doing well but doesn't love to sleep in his crib at night so Adam and I are playing around with different things until we find a solution that works for us and allows us to get some much needed rest.  With Owen being born just after 3:00 a.m. and me basically not sleeping for around 36 hours, it set me back a lot on sleep when we got home.  I'm just now starting to have days where I feel human again and not like a total zombie.  After bad nights, I spend most of the day falling apart and I started feeling feverish and awful on Monday night, I think due to some engorgement.  My body has been through the ringer and it's taking longer for some parts (my ribs and back, strong little baby!) to heal than I expected.  If I forget to take my ibuprofen, I'm miserable.  But OH HOW WONDERFUL IT IS TO BE ABLE TO TAKE IBUPROFEN FREELY AGAIN, my friends.

I catch myself near tears at least 15 times a day when I remember something from when I was pregnant.  It's not that I miss one second of being pregnant, but I do miss some of the freedoms that came from not being a mother.  I'll never get another minute to not worry about Owen's well-being.  I get nostalgic when I think of what life was like when it was just Adam and I.  I would never trade this for the world but sometimes I have to catch my breath when I have a moment thinking about the days leading up to our hospital stay.  The last things we did to prepare to meet our son.  The feelings we felt both then and now about this entire experience.  It's been the biggest life change that either one of us will ever have and sometimes I struggle with the magnitude of it and just how different my life was only 9 days ago.

Oddly enough, being pregnant was both the most uncomfortable I've ever been physically but the most comfortable I've ever been with my body mentally.  It was so weird to not have to suck in my stomach to hide my chub when my belly first popped.  I didn't really gain a ton of weight until the very end since I was so sick for so long.  I was able to eat whatever I wanted mostly judgement free.  It was such a strange experience for someone that has struggled with body issues for so long.  I'm still adjusting to my post-pregnancy self but I have to say that other than my boobs being ridiculously big and hurting, my body has bounced back better than I ever could have imagined.  I still have some weight to lose but I don't feel as hideous as I thought I would.  I packed away the vast majority of my maternity clothes today, most likely never to be worn again.  Weird.  I sometimes have feelings about that.  I am relatively certain that Owen is it for us but it does feel odd that I'll never share that special time with Adam and another child.  I hated pregnancy with a fiery passion- why is it that I feel such weird nostalgia?

Mostly my heart has just grown and it takes lots of tears to accommodate that extra love.  I always thought that I had the perfect relationship and marriage for me before but I never could have imagined what the last nine months and Owen's birth would do for my love for Adam.  I worried needlessly that Owen would change things between the two of us but it's only changed them for the better.  I never knew just how strong a rock he was for me to lean on until now.  As for Owen, I see a little more of myself in him every day.  When he was born, all I could see was Adam's face with my nose.  I see some of the stubbornness that he inherits from me already starting when it's bedtime, although he is physically so much of his father's child.  It still overwhelms me that we have a son.  That we created him together.  That my body grew his body and that he turned out so perfectly for us.  I know all babies do but he really does look like a little angel when he's sleeping.  As much as I love him now, I can't wait to see who he becomes.