Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We did it! We just threw out.....

...our last disposable diaper! At home, anyways. I'm not saying we won't occasionally use them when we're out, but I'm so glad to be done with them for the most part!

Can I just say I love, love, love our diapers?!?! And guess what? It's been a week, and so far, no leaks! I'm really surprised- I expected to love our FuzziBunz pockets, but I'm really starting to prefer our prefolds and covers- we have both Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Super Brites. I prefer the Super Brites because they have two gussets instead of one. Our FuzziBunz are one-size, so we'll only need to move up sizes in covers and prefolds, and even that won't be for quite a while. Still, I think I'll be ordering lots more prefolds before I invest in any more pockets. I hate stuffing them, and it annoys me that they take longer to dry. I love being able to just wipe out a cover and reuse it for the next change. Also, I really have the routine down with prefolds. The FuzziBunz have six snaps on them, and by the time I get all of them snapped, I could have already gotten a Snappi on a prefold. Even Brett can get Lucy in a prefold- I'm sooo proud. I can't wait to get some wool soakers (hopefully in pretty colors!) for nighttime. This won't be a priority until Lucy starts sleeping through the night, though. For wipes solution, we are using Baby Bum drops. There's something so nice about pulling a soft flannel-and-terry cloth out of the warmer, especially when it's scented with lavender, mandarin, and calendula!

In eco-friendly news...I got my clothesline up today! There's something so old-fashioned and lovely about hanging up cloth diapers outside. It sounds crazy but I really enjoyed doing laundry today. Of course, having Lucy in the Moby with me enjoying the beautiful fall weather outside helped too! If it's this nice tomorrow we'll definitely be taking a blanket in the yard and playing outside.

Also, I scheduled today to have Lucy's pictures done. She'll be 2 1/2 months old by then, but I don't mind that she'll be a little older because she'll be able to hold her head up better and make cute faces (not that she doesn't do that already!) I don't have many good pictures of Brett and I together, so I can't wait to get some great family shots. Tracie Birch does beautiful work, and we're hoping to take some outside shots in Clemson. In a couple of weeks the leaves will be changing, so hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Note to self: If you leave the house with baby in FuzziBunz, and your diaper bag has prefolds and covers, remember to throw in a Snappi. Epic fail on my part today!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

As promised....

...pics of my Lucy! Enjoy :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Almost three weeks!

Sorry for the lapse in posting lately...things have been pretty busy around here! Last week Brett's mom came to visit and spend time with Lucy. With her help we managed to get a bunch of small projects done around the house. Brett planted the fall garden (mainly collards, turnips, lettuce), Trish hung up some new decorations around the house and did some yard work (planting new flowers for fall, mowing, etc), and I was busy taking care of Lucy and working on my master's class. I was so grateful for their help!

On Wednesday we headed up to Clemson. I was so nervous driving Lucy in the car that far- it's about 3 hours. Luckily I remembered to buy a mirror that straps on the headrest in front of Lucy's car seat. Since Lucy's seat is rear-facing, the mirror reflects her, and then I can see the mirror (and her) in my rear-view mirror. Does that make sense? She just seems so little in her car seat! I know it's installed correctly, but she seems to be sitting so upright in it and her little head flops around. It makes me nervous :-( We survived the trip, though.

While we were in Clemson we hit up a huge consignment sale and picked up lots of great clothes. I can't wait until they all fit! I also picked up some adorable hand-knitted hats and a Clemson headband for the Lucy Goose. I really enjoyed carrying her aroud in her Moby wrap- so comfy and convenient- and it keeps strangers' hands (and germs!) away. Brett went to the football game, but of course Lucy and I stayed home. I really didn't mind, especially considering how much it rained!

Today was Lucy's "2-week" pediatrician appointment. It was supposed to have been last Friday but I moved it to today because of our trip to Clemson. Anyway, Lucy is doing great! She is now 20 inches long, which is a quarter inch of growth. She is also up to 7 lbs 7 oz! Lucy was 6 lbs 3.5 oz when she was born, and dropped to 5 lbs 15 oz at her first pediatrician appointment. The goal was for her to get back to her birth weight by today's appointment- which she has, plus 1 lb 3.5 oz more. Definitely reassuring for a breastfeeding mom! Lucy's pediatrician was also impressed at how well she holds her head up and controls it. I'll chalk that up to lots of tummy time already. Now she won't go back to the doctor's until she is two months old- what a big girl she'll be then!

I had so much fun this past week, but am definitely glad to be back home. I really enjoy having mommy-daughter time together, especially since Lucy is big enough to start going out a bit now. I'll try to remember to upload new pictures tomorrow!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I miss my belly :-(

Me, one week post-partum

Experienced moms told me this would happen. I denied it- I was sick of watching what I ate so carefully and sick of getting kicked in the ribs all night and sick of peeing every 15 minutes. I was sick of maternity clothes and not working out as hard as I wanted to and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

But now...I feel sort of empty. I keep expecting to feel Lucy kicking. I look down and miss my belly. I know, it's crazy- I'm holding Lucy in my arms, but my brain doesn't seem to process the fact that she's the same little thing that I carried for so long. I feel like I have baby Lucy on the outside but am missing baby Lucy on the inside.

Can anyone else relate?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Lucy Mae Week 1 Recap.

Lucy and Mimi (my mom)

This post is probably going to ramble a bit, but so much has been going on that I want to try to get it all down before I forget!

Lucy came home on Thursday to a house full of family anxious to meet her. We didn't even get in the door before her great-grandparents came out to see! I think she is so lucky to have so much family- 1 great-great-grandfather, 4 great-grandmothers, 2 great-grandfathers, 2 grandmothers, and 1 grandfather (plus one in heaven!) We had a lot of fun taking pictures and guessing about who she looks like. So far we think she has my eyes and hands, Brett's mouth and feet, and possibly her grandpa's hair (dark and wavy). She is also long and lean like both Brett and I. But she is changing everyday- so who knows? Personally I hope she keeps her dark blue eyes and dark hair!

On Friday we went to her first appointment at the pediatrician's. Lucy's doctors are Dr. Neibaum (who is a DO instead of an MD, which I love), and Dr. Petranaus, both of whom are awesome! They are totally supportive of our alternative vaccine schedule and have wonderful bedside manner. You can tell how much they love babies! Lucy had a great check-up. She had dropped from her birth weight of 6 lbs 3 oz to 5 lbs 15 oz, so a total of 4 oz- which is definitely normal. I'm sure we'll have no problem gaining back those 4 oz plus some in the next two weeks! I just can't wait until she gets a LITTLE bigger so we can start cloth diapering. She had no signs of jaundice still- in fact, Dr. Petranaus didn't even order the blood work because she looked so good. The slight murmur that Dr. Neibaum had heard when Lucy was born was gone- it's very common for newborn hearts to take a while to settle into their rhythms. Now all we have to do is take her back to the hospital to re-do her hearing test, as Lucy passed in the right ear but not the left. I'm not too worried about this either, because, again, it's very common in newborns.

On Saturday Lucy got her first bath. And I don't mean her first bath at home- I really mean her first bath, since she didn't get one in the hospital. I can't say she loved it! She had another last night (Monday), and screamed bloody murder the.whole.time. Normally crying doesn't really get to me (by-product of being the oldest of seven), but this was driving me crazy! I felt so bad for her. Lucy felt a lot better, though, when she got a lotion massage- probably because I let her stay in just her diaper, cuddled up in one of her super-soft blankies. My child is a total nudist- I don't think I even bothered dressing her (besides diapers and blankets) for a couple days- she was so much happier that way. She loves to cuddle skin-to-skin on your chest and will lay like that for hours.

Sunday was pretty uneventful, besides my mom having to return home to PA. I really felt bad watching her go. She was so helpful and supportive! We are talking on the phone now more than ever, though, and we will *hopefully* be traveling to PA next month for Lucy's baptism. Oh, I almost forgot- I decided to try on some of my pre-baby clothes and was so excited to see I could fit into all my jeans! YAY! Running does a pregnant body good :-) Most of my dresses are still a little tight, mainly because my jeans sit UNDER my belly while my dresses have to go OVER, but I'm sure they will fit again in no time. I will say that I need to work on gaining some weight because I definitely think I look too thin. When I left the hospital they weighed me and I was already below my pre-pregnancy weight. It's just so wonderful to be able to walk in my closet and pick out whatever I want to wear- no size restrictions! I also splurged a little and put in a JCrew order. But I figured I worked hard while I was pregnant, and I didn't buy any new non-maternity clothes for a whole 9 months, and very, very few maternity ones (since I wear a uniform to work anyways). I am totally excited too because my awesome father-in-law said I could pick out an outfit from JCrew and he would buy it for me! But that is a decision that will take much contemplation, so I am still drooling over the website waiting for a certain cashmere sweater to go on sale.

On Monday we went for our first walk outside, and I got the hang of my Moby. Lucy seems to really love it! I have two different holds/wraps down so far, and am getting much quicker at putting it on. I love that I can walk around with it and hide her from people's dirty hands. Also on Monday, I was changing Lucy's diaper when I realized she had lost her umbilical cord already! Even though it looked perfectly healed, I was a little concerned that it was so early- only 5 days- but according to Dr. Sears and a few other sources it's fine as long as it's not bleeding (and it's definitely not). I'm going to credit the early healing to the fact that I used witch hazel instead of alcohol on her cord.

Brett also had to go back to Athens that night so he could work in the morning, so last night was Lucy and I's first night alone. I was a little nervous being in the house by myself, but we did great- AND Lucy nursed both her late-night feedings (2 am and 5 am) in bed, with me, in the side-laying position! I was pumped about this because it is so wonderful to be able to cat-nap while you nurse. My technique is to wake up when Lucy lets me know she's hungry, nurse her on one side until she's done, get up and change her diaper, then crawl back into bed and offer the other side. The other plus to this is that Lucy is already pretty chilled out by the time we get to her diaper, which is a good thing because she really doesn't like to be changed.

Overall we had a wonderful first week, and are now looking forward to getting Lucy's swing in the mail, which Uncle Stevo so graciously bought her. I also started a master's class this week, so while Lucy sleeps during the day I am busy with that. It really helps to pass the time while Brett's gone and it's good to have some adult conversation/academic thinking.

Go Tigers!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Co-sleeping rocks!

As the oldest of seven children, I spent a lot of time watching my mom care for my younger brothers and sisters. Many of the practices she used then are still encouraged today- extended breastfeeding, for one. However, one thing she did has come under fire recently, and that's co-sleeping. Although co-sleeping has many forms, for my mom, it meant literally having her baby sleep next to her in her bed. Although we had a crib for the toddlers in our house, my mom always kept the youngest baby with her and Dad.

Some people (the Consumer Product Safety Commission is one) say that co-sleeping is dangerous. The risks include suffocation (rolling onto your baby, the baby becoming trapped in the bed frame, becoming tangled in bed covers) and (according to them) an increased risk of SIDS. However, others (most notably Dr. Sears) argue that co-sleeping is safe, and is the preferred method of caring for babies around the world. Dr. Sears says that more babies die in cribs than in their parents' beds, and that the SIDS risk is actually lower with co-sleepers, because mothers are more aware of their babies' sleep patterns and are likely to notice a problem more quickly. You can read more about it here. In order to co-sleep safely, Dr. Sears recommends:

  • Do not sleep with your baby if:

    1. You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.

    2. You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea in the mother, in addition to the smothering danger of pendulous breasts and large fat rolls.

    3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.

    4. You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.

    5. You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.

  • Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

  • Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.

  • Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.

  • Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.

  • Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.

  • Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.
Keeping all this in mind, Lucy sleeps with Brett and I. We have a king-size bed, and have taken precautions to keep our little girl safe. We remove all but one pillow each when we go to sleep, and push the comforter down below where she is sleeping, putting only the top sheet over her lower half. We've pushed the mattress snug against the headboard to remove the crevice that was there. Although I'm a light sleeper, Brett sleeps a little more heavily, so Lucy snuggles up with me and Brett stays closer to "his" side of the bed. Often times I fall asleep with my arm around her, too.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision that every parent has to make, but I can say with confidence that I am so happy we decided to do it. Lucy's been home for 5 nights now, and she has yet to wake me up by crying- she nuzzles, sucks, or makes these adorable little sounds that let me know she's awake and hungry. What does that mean for us? It means that I can nurse Lucy BEFORE she's fussy or upset. I don't have to rely on hearing her cry from the nursery. A Lucy that isn't fussy is a Lucy that latches on more quickly and nurses better. Also, I truly feel that we are on the same sleep pattern now. I feel really well-rested for a new mom, and now I'm looking forward to getting the hang of nursing in the side-laying position better to make the transition to feeding time go even more smoothly. Finally, I just feel better knowing that my baby girl is next to me, which allows me to sleep better as well.

What do I love the most about co-sleeping? Besides being nuzzled awake by my baby, I love waking up before she does, cuddling up with Brett, and watching her sleep. She makes the most beautiful faces, and that makes mornings my favorite time of day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rest of my birth story...

This is what natural birth looks like!

Okay, so I left off at my water breaking....anyways, at this point Brett called our midwife and Wilma (our doula) to let them know what was going on. Wilma said she needed to get a few things together and she'd be over. Well, I guess I must be what the Bradley book refers to as a "speedster" because my contractions went from pretty irregular and un-timeable, to five minutes apart, to about three minutes apart very quickly. Brett called Wilma back and told her to just meet us at the hospital. I was pretty excited to go but was worried about having contractions in the car. Again, referring to the Bradley book, many women don't have contractions in the car because they're too tense/nervous. Well, that was not the case with me! They kept coming and continued on...by the time we were at the hospital I was working very hard on staying relaxed and vocalizing in "low tones." I don't really remember much about that part except for being so relieved to see our midwife! She had gone on ahead and was waiting on us. She even talked to our nurse ahead of time to let her know about what kind of birth we were hoping to have.

I was taken immediately into the labor and delivery room. The nurse we had was amazing- she read over our birth plan and consulted with our midwife over any questions/issues she had. In total, I was probably only in the hospital bed pre-delivery for 10 minutes or so- just long enough for a quick blood draw, blood pressure check, and doppler for the baby. I didn't have to have an iv (not even a heplock!) or wear the fetal monitor at all, which was such a blessing. As soon as the nurse was done Brett and I got down to work. We used a lot of different positions to deal with my contractions, which were coming pretty quickly by this point. I found squatting (with his arms supporting me) and rocking my pelvis was especially good for staying relaxed. Wilma had the lights turned down, soft music playing, and had lavender oil ready. After a while I got in the tub (not a nice birthing tub- a regular old hospital tub- but I'm not complaining :-) ) and it was wonderful. Wilma poured water over me with a pitcher and Brett massaged me with oil. Between contractions it was positively blissful- I felt so supported and encouraged and loved.

After a while I got out of the tub because I really wanted to make sure things were progressing. Wilma recommended I start walking "through contractions" which was really difficult, but effective. I had a quick check and was at almost 8 cm at this point. Then transition hit, and I definitely threw up a bunch (luckily only water) and felt pretty bad for a few minutes. But I knew I was close to the end, and that was encouraging. Before I knew it we were ready to push.

OMG was pushing incredible! I know people say that "you can't do anything else but push," but it's so true. It's as primal as breathing- you don't think about, you can't NOT do it. It didn't feel that long, but I think I ended up pushing for about 30-45 minutes (edit: I now know it was more like 15 minutes!). I think Ina May hit it on the head when she said it's not so much pain, but an overwhelming sensation- you almost don't know how to process it. Brett actually delivered Lucy- he got to grab her little head, rotate her shoulders- and full on deliver her (not just catch!) He put her on my belly and he said, "It's a girl!" I could.not.believe.it. I actually asked him, "Are you sure??" She was so beautiful- red and crying and amazingly alert. She was just looking everywhere!

We waited until the cord stopped pulsing and Brett cut it. I was also able to deliver the placenta without having a pit injection, which was a relief. I was bleeding rather heavily, but we managed to get Lucy latched on within minutes and that really helped. I think the most painful part was when the nurse "massaged" my uterus- our midwife had to remind her that I was unmedicated, so I was definitely feeling everything she was doing. She quickly was much more gentle. I also had a second-degree tear (I had specified in my birth plan I'd rather tear naturally than have an episiotomy) so I had to be stitched up, but it wasn't bad.

Isn't he a natural?

As I was being stitched up, Brett took Lucy over to be looked at by the nurses- still in our room. They only looked her over quickly and weighed her before she came back to me. We didn't have her footprints done, length measured, etc. until the next morning. We refused eye medication, hep B shot (she'll get it later). She also didn't have a bath as we rubbed the vernix in ourselves. Actually, she didn't leave my sight at all (we roomed-in) until her hearing test Thursday morning- and Brett was with her then. As much as I was worried about being in the hospital, the nurses were fabulous. They listened to everything we wanted and were super nice- a lot of them were excited to see a natural birth! In total, I was in the hospital for just under 3 hours when Lucy was born (admitted at 10:30 or so, Lucy was born at 1:06 am).

We were able to leave Thursday morning after Lucy's hearing test. She has to be re-tested in one ear in two weeks, which is apparently pretty common. I'm not too worried about it. We had our first pediatrician appointment today, but I'll have to write about that later because it's almost time for Lucy to eat again!

Ready to come home!

Meeting Brett's grandparents!

....More pictures to come once I censor all the ones Wilma took. They're beautiful-but considering I labored in the nude- I figured they're best kept private until I get the chance to make them more PC.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Preview to our birth story....

I'm going to split this into two posts because so much has happened in a week!

After the Braves game last week (Wednesday), I had my 37-week appointment with my midwife. Everything looked good (BP, urine sample, baby's heart rate, etc. etc.) until she measured my uterus and found I was only measuring about 34 cm. Now, I had been measuring about 2 cm behind for weeks now, and she wasn't that concerned, but 1-2 cm off is okay and 3 is something to be a little worried about. We decided to have an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay.

At the ultrasound, the baby looked great- size was good, heart/organs normal, practicing breathing, etc. Problem: my amniotic fluid was really low. 5-25 cm is considered normal, and I was measuring 5.4 cm. Anything below 5 is an automatic induction. Luckily my midwife decided to give me the weekend to try to get my fluid levels up. I was supposed to drink as much water as I could (which is tough, because I already drink a ton!) and come back on Monday for another ultrasound. If my levels were the same or lower, we were looking at an induction on Monday or Tuesday.

I spent the weekend pretty much in the bathroom, as I was drinking about a gallon of water a day, but when I went back to the midwife's on Monday, my levels were up to 6 cm! Yay for no induction! But now for the complication- after my cervical exam, it turned out I was already 4-5 cm dilated and 80% effaced, which should have been exciting- except for my midwife was going out of town the following weekend! So we had to decide what to do. I was really worried because the doctor scheduled on call has a super-high intervention rate- pro-epidural, etc. My midwife basically told me that the natural birth I wanted was probably not going to be a possibility with that doctor. What to do?!?!

I thought everything over and came back for another appointment on Tuesday. Although I could have justified an induction due to fluid levels (thereby assuring my midwife would be there), I definitely didn't want to push the baby at only 38 weeks if he/she wasn't ready. But I was so scared about birthing without my midwife- I've never even seen another doc for a prenatal visit!

In the end, we decided to take some natural steps to see what would happen. Basically, these steps would potentially speed up the labor process if I was ready, but if my body wasn't ready, basically nothing would happen and I would take my chances on making it through the weekend. I decided to: 1. Have my membranes stripped 2. Do the castor oil treatment.

I had my membranes stripped on Tuesday at about 12:00 pm and did the castor oil treatment when I got home (2 tablespoons in a smoothie, then wait an hour and repeat). The membrane deal wasn't that bad- sort of like a deep, thorough exam, but caused some cramping after. I don't think the castor oil was necessary because I started having contractions before it really kicked in- around 2 pm.

I basically spent the rest of the day Tuesday praying the contractions I was having wouldn't go away. Up until that point, I'd only had Braxton-Hicks- that is, tightening but no pain. These were definitely different and uncomfortable, but still not really regular or timeable. At about 8 pm I took a bath to relax, and for some crazy reason decided I wanted to go for a run. I know, I am crazy, but I can honestly say this is what my body was telling my to do. So about 8:30 pm I headed out the door to run in our subdivision.

I had a glorious run- because the baby had dropped, I could breathe really comfortably, and because of the cold front moving through it was really nice out. I got about 2 1/2 miles in when all of a sudden I couldn't run through the contractions anymore. I actually stopped to walk- which I NEVER do- and realized I had to really breath and vocalize to get through the contractions. Then I promptly threw up in someone's yard and knew this was the real deal.

I made it back to the house (somehow)- I knew I had to do it because I'd told Brett not to look for me until I'd been gone at least 30 minutes, and it hadn't been that long yet. I immediately grabbed my birthing ball and headed for the nursery- where I turned out the light and hid like some kind of animal for a few more contractions on the ball. I felt kinda bad because Brett knew things were getting serious, but I definitely didn't want ANYONE around me/touching me/talking to me. About 10 minutes after I'd gotten home my water broke. And that's where I'll leave this for now!