Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Fourths

Ella is officially three weeks old today! 

I have to say, parenting is the most exhausting thing I've ever done. But, when she forms into a tiny little koala bear on my chest, I realize it's the most meaningful thing I've ever done, too. 

Something noteworthy that happened this week? Ella became a recognized human! She received her Social Security card and number. They grow up so fast, don't they? 

Also, at her two week doctor's appointment Ella was back to her birth weight at 7 pounds 4 ounces. 

And her feet became even more delicious, if that's even possible. 

What didn't happen? She didn't get any less fussy, poor girl, poor mom. But she has slept in her cradle for 3-4 hour long stretches at the beginning of the night a few different times this week allowing her exhausted parents to cuddle up and relax before passing out, too. Woot! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Walk a bye baby

Ella and I needed to get out of the apartment, and since the temperature peaked somewhere around 48-50 degrees, we took a short walk. Short because I didn't know how she would do and because we kept having delays ..... 

Turns out, after some initial protesting Ella bell zonked the whole time. Not even traffic noise or guys wrestling in the Gotta Stop could rouse her from her deep sleep. Guess we'll be taking more walks! 

And I rewarded myself with a Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and a Baby Ruth candy bar (Baby Ruths are amazing, btw - the oft neglected candy bar). 

P.S. Not to jinx anything (I'm getting more superstitious in my old age, it's true) but Ella has slept the first half of the night the last TWO nights in her cradle. From about 8:30pm to 12:30am .... I'm really optimistic about our future! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Weeks

Well, our baby girl is officially two weeks old. It both seems long and short. Short because in the scheme of things two weeks is only a very small fraction (hopefully) of a lifetime. Long because without regular, long intervals of sleep the weeks have felt a bit like one continual day. Like somehow I'm paused on life's time continuum.

We are obviously still getting to know this sweet little girl, but here's what we know so far:

  • Ella's least favorite thing of the day is getting her diaper changed. Unfortunately for her this is something that happens at least 8 times a day, you'd think she'd just get over it by now! 
  • She enjoys riding in the car - as long as she's got a full tummy. 
  • Ella is destined to be competitive eater. She's constantly sticking out her little tongue looking for the next refreshing gulp of milk. 
  • She is trying to make the thinning hair look of 45 year old men a cool style. We'll keep you posted on if that catches on. 
  • She's got a feisty little personality. 
  • She already enjoys getting her nails done. She might be her most calm and serene when this Momma bear is filing her tiny razor nails.
  • By far the most popular adjective used by everyone to describe her is "beautiful." I love it. 
Ella is a little bit of a fusser - and that can be trying at times because you just want your baby to be happy. But, she's also such a sweetie and we love to smother her in sloppy first-time parent kisses and coos. 

Additional reading: Baby Daddy

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Like a Cannonball ... part II

We got to the hospital about 10:50pm. 

It was obviously after hours and the hospital had recently been on lockdown due to a shooting incident in the area (about a block from our apartment - apparently Hermiston is the new Compton). I was using a homemade heat pad (read men's tube sock filled with rice and closed with a rubberband) to help me through the contractions. I was walking like a 90 year old man minus the cane - hunched over and shuffling. A security guy got me a wheelchair and wheeled me on to the elevator and up to the OB unit.  

We got checked in and unfortunately for me, Dr. J was still the on call doctor. The nurse checked me and I was 4cm and 90% effaced and contracting about every 2 1/2 minutes. She called to let the doctor know. Well, Dr. J, after seeing me that morning, wasn't convinced I was progressing. The nurse told me I could walk for an hour or get in the jetted tub for an hour. Well duh, I chose tub. I couldn't really walk anyway - walking made the contractions more intense and I couldn't hardly take steps. 

At first the tub was kind of relaxing that lasted about 30 seconds and then hell came. The intensity of the contractions picked up, as did their pace plus I was having terrible terrible burning kill me now back pain. They were coming so fast and so painful, I never felt like I had a rest and felt like I could never take a regular, calm breath. There was little I would let Eric do to sooth me. I was curled over, with my forehead on the edge of the tub, hands squeezing the non-existent life out of the handicap bar that helps you out of the tub. I may have told Eric I hated Dr. J during the peak of some of these contractions. All I wanted was to be admitted and get some drugs in my system. The longer it took for me to be admitted, the longer I knew it would take for them to call the  anesthesiologist, and I couldn't imagine living through that kind of pain much longer, but knew I would have to because Dr. J wasn't ready to admit I was having active enough labor. Well....I showed her! 

I only endured 30-40 minutes in the tub. I told Eric and the nurse that if I was still only 4 cm after all that pain, then I must really be a wimp like my Mom says. Eric could barely get me to stand up and get out of the tub. He and the nurse had to dry me off and put on my robe as I stood paralyzed by one contraction wave after another. Also, during this time I told Eric unless I got drugs we weren't having any more kids. Ever. From here on out my mind gets pretty foggy and I've had to ask Eric to fill in several of the blanks. (Like how I ended up naked on the delivery bed..... )

After magically getting back on the delivery bed,  the nurse decided to check again. She said she couldn't even feel my cervix. And muttered the word "complete' with disbelief in her voice. She called in another nurse to check me - Maria - the angel of natural childbirth as I will call her. She said I was completely effaced and completely dilated. At this point I was really pissed. I knew that meant I wasn't going to get my epidural! The nurses started rushing around and before I knew it Dr. J was there. Active labor? Progression? Ha! I showed you Dr. J! 

She and the two nurses were all trying to convince me I could push without any pain medication. Dr. J - to her credit - spoke very calm and rationally to a very not calm first time mom. I feared a couple of things in pushing - okay, obviously the pain - but also being forced to push before my body was ready and then having to push for two hours when I was already exhausted by the seemingly constant contraction and pain. Because labor had progressed so quickly, I was afraid if I pushed without giving my body a chance to catch up I would risk tearing really badly. Dr. J was not a very good comforter. I remember her saying something about "no guarantees" about the "amount of time" I would have to push. Maria, the angel of natural childbirth, was able to alleviate some of my fears. She told me there'd be burning, but it wouldn't be anything like the pain I was feeling now. It'd be easier to manage. She also told me that women who end up having to push for hours are those whose babies are up higher in the birth canal, but mine was really low and ready. She said to just push with the contractions - that all that pressure was my body telling me to push - with her rationale, she finally convinced me I could do it. 

So we went for it. 

In the early phase I heard Dr. J mutter the word "episiotomy" which might as well be a four letter word in my book. In case you aren't in the know, episiotomies are something that used to be routinely down, but are now, supposedly, not really regular practice. I remember saying something like, "Why?" Luckily, Maria, the angel of natural childbirth, took over discouraging Dr. J from doing the episiotomy. Dr. J is a new doctor to Hermiston - so she's new to working at this hospital and with these staff and with the general guidelines they have, like avoiding episiotomies. 

Luckily, Dr. J opted not to do one. I apparently was squeezing Eric's hand and nurse Nicole's. I didn't let go to let her put an IV in my hand to start fluids. I remember at one point the crew asking if I wanted to touch her head. I said no... haha. They then asked, "Does Daddy want to?" I again, said no.... It was one of my rules. He wasn't supposed to look down there during all of the trauma. He said he only quickly peeked twice, so I'll forgive him. 20 minutes of pushing later at 1:09am our baby girl was out! O.M. G. It was insane. And I had no tearing, almost as relieving as the cessation of back labor. 

I couldn't believe I'd had a baby. 

I couldn't believe I'd had her with no pain medication whatsoever. It really is kind of empowering. Not that I am 100% convinced to go all natural in the future. But knowing I can feels pretty dang good. Plus, both she and I were so alert afterwards, high only on oxytocin. I was a little fuzzy only because my mind was having a hard time catching up with the last two and a half hours! 

Eric had called his mom right after I had gotten out of the tub and she arrived shortly after delivery. After holding Ella (at this point she still had no name - I think we ended up choosing Ella the next morning) skin-to-skin and doing an initial breastfeeding, she got a bath and I got to talk to my Mom. 

So that's the story. She's here, she's healthy and we're tired, but happy! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Like a Cannonball ... part I

Sunday afternoon I thought my water started leaking. We waited it out all evening with no real contractions starting but a small gush or leak continuing randomly throughout the evening. Fearing infection, we decided if no contractions started we'd go to labor and delivery Monday morning. Monday morning came, no contractions, so I showered got all pretty and photographable for what I thought would be our baby's birthday, and we made sure our hospital stuff was ready and headed over. After several hours of waiting and a swab test, they told us that the test came back negative for amniotic fluid. I couldn't believe it.
Waiting at the hospital, take one.
I was dilated to 3cm and 80% effaced - having non-painful contractions about every 10-15 minutes. The Doctor on call (Dr. J) had me go walking for an hour. Nothing was happening. Dr. J (not my preferred doctor, but one I've seen) came and checked me. I was pretty skeptical when she felt up there and said she didn't "think" they had ruptured. So, they sent us home around 12:30pm. I was pretty frustrated. I ate away my frustration with a large sized value meal at Mickey D's for lunch. Eric was home so we just hung out all afternoon, and evening.

Around 5:30pm Eric and I discussed whether or not he needed to call work and tell them he'd be there in the morning. He wanted to wait "just in case" and I didn't think he should wait because I didn't forsee anything changing in the next 12 hours. His stubbornness won over my pessimism and he waited to call.

About 7:30pm Monday night, we sat down for dinner. I got up to get some milk and felt a really strong contraction. The first one that made me stop and wait it out - it was different than what I had imagined a contraction feeling like. A lot more burning and a lot less pulling apart feeling. At that time I felt a small gush - much like all the other times, and we continued eating. I started feeling more of those types of contractions over the next couple of hours, but they were usually only about 30 seconds and weren't super regular. So, Eric and I put in a movie - The Blindside. I enjoyed the movie, admiring Sandra Bullock's transformation. I kept experiencing contractions, and before I realized it, Eric was able to time them by how often and how hard I squeezed his hand. Periodically he'd pipe in, "They're about 7 minutes apart now..." By 10 pm the intensity of the contractions had gotten pretty severe, but they still weren't in a real pattern - sometimes 7 minutes apart sometimes 12. Eric kept suggesting we head to the hospital, but I was determined not to get sent home again.

Just as Big Mike is telling the NCAA lady he wants to go to Ole Miss because that's where his family  went, I had to got up because I couldn't stand sitting during my contraction. Then, very shortly after that one, I had such a bad contraction that I had to lie down on our bed. Eric came in, kneeled beside me in my half-aware state and calmly, but firmly suggested we should go to the hospital. Seeing how stubborn and ridiculous I was being, I finally relented. Looking far less beautiful than when we'd gone to the hospital that morning - and at this point not even caring if I was wearing a bra, we scurried around in between contractions and were able to get into the van. 

Thank goodness our car ride was only 5 minutes down the road. And thank goodness Eric stayed calm and didn't take the corners like his usual cavalier self. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We came home today. It feels a bit odd to have a baby in our house, yet it feels more like a home now that she's here. 

We're pretty much in love with this face. 

Sweet dreams baby girl! 

By the way, sometime soon, I hope to post more details about her birth and a few more photos of Ella and all her admirers. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baby Bird

Let me introduce to you....

First out-of-womb hiccups. 
I loved these because she used to get such strong ones inside. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What to do when you're due....

Yes people, my due date was Friday. And while I lived through Friday, January 6th, I don't have a baby girl to show for it ... just yet.

So, what's a girl to do when she's due?

Stormy polish.
  • Ignore all warnings about labor vomiting and pooping and continue to eat what you want, including Diet Pepsi and Doritos. 
  • Practice your boxing and tennis skills on the Wii. 
  • Vacuum. 
  • Wander around Wal-Mart, putting random food items in your arms because you were too lazy to grab a cart after you discovered there were no baskets available. 
  • Pick out a fabulous new nail polish - try it on in the store while the girl is restocking shelves right behind and will most definitely smell the fumes - and then buy it. Put it on and feel pretty even with a 40 week pregnant bloated body. P.S. It's called 'Stormy.'
  • Download some new music, including some inspirational tunes for major upcoming, life altering events, by Flo and Kelly.  
  • Find bumpy roads and let husband do the driving! ... But turns out few roads are bumpy in Hermatilla. Give me the Blue Mountains! 
  • Eat fried okra, fish and chips at Chuckwagon - and contrary to the sound of the name, not upchuck. 
  • The only way Eric eats vegetables. Fried. 
  • Go see a movie in the theatre. Preferably the longest one showing, so as to keep you distracted longer. Our choice? War Horse. 2 hours and 35 minutes, baby. And well worth our matinee fees! Go see it if you feel the need to be inspired. 
  • And wait. 

At least that's what I'm doing. 

Monday, January 2, 2012


Last photo of 2011! 
Baby daddy baller.

This shirt really hides my mid-section.
By this photo, who'd know I was 9 months pregnant ?

For the win!