Friday, March 20, 2015

I thought..

I thought so many things before I had Charlotte and I'm here to tell you all that motherhood is nothing like I thought it would be.

 photo 145AC038-2396-453D-A4B0-D588AD133A4E_zps0yd92ohz.jpg

 I thought I would be exhausted--the awful, jet lag exhaustion complete with stinging eyes and puffy cheeks. I can't tell you that I'm not ever tired but not in the way that I imagined. I'm a girl who LOVES her sleep. Usually when I would wake up in the morning I  would figure out how long it would be until I could go back to sleep. I would look at my calendar every week to figure out when I could fit in a "sleep late day" during the work week, and I tried my hardest every week to go to 4pm Mass on Saturday so I didn't have to get up and be at church Sunday mornings. Now I sleep for about an hour and a half to 2 hours max at a time, but turns out if you string enough of those bits of sleeps together, you feel pretty good. And I can't deny that waking up to a sweet little baby face isn't all that bad. I don't mind waking up to feed her because I know I'm the only one that can do it. I've put 3 pounds on this baby in three weeks and I could not be more proud of myself. Will I be happy when she can take a bottle and I can get a few more consecutive hours? Yes. But for the time being, I'm loving where we are.

I thought I might have a hard time feeling like Charlotte was mine. Some friends told me that they had a little trouble connecting with their baby right away and warned me that that was  normal so not to freak out if that happened to me. I was prepared for that feeling and it made sense to me. I understood how it might be hard to feel completely in love with someone that you've just met and know nothing about. I'm a practical girl. However, I had just the opposite feeling. As soon as Charlotte was out of me and on my chest, I knew she was mine. I did know her--I grew her for 37 weeks and so it wasn't even love at first sight because I loved her from the moment I saw the plus sign on the pregnancy test. I was immediately connected to the little miracle that was wriggling in my arms and I've never stopped feeling that way. I never really had any "magical" feelings during pregnancy like you hear some people talk about. I didn't know I was pregnant the minute it happened--I actually was sobbing the night before I found out because I thought I wasn't. I didn't have a 6th sense that let me know she was a girl--Forrest told me she was a boy and I believed him so when they told me she was a girl I was in complete shock. However, I did know that she was my baby, whom I would do anything for, the minute she was born.

I thought I might be super grossed out. Poop, throw up--no way. That's not my game. Forrest cleans up any pet accidents because I'm not good at nasty things like that. However, when it's your child, and they are depending on you, you just get over yourself and deal with whatever nasty comes your way. I've been thrown up on, like for real thrown up on, not  just a little bit of spit up, tinkled on, and nearly pooped on. It really doesn't matter--you just clean it up and get on with your life (and throw in another load of laundry).

I thought I would be so antsy to get back to work. I have actually been doing lots of work from home so as not to fall behind, but that makes me just want to stay here with her even more. Plus, I'm super amazing at wearing pajamas and watching movies all day long too. Mainly, I love being here with my sweet girl all day long. I hate thinking about returning to work and missing these precious hours with her during the day. I don't feel stir crazy or bored like I thought I would and I don't resent Forrest for getting to "leave" every day like some people suggested I might. I'm just happy and content to sit here and hold my little one all day long. I know my time to do so is almost up so I'm savoring every precious moment.

I thought I would feel "chained" to the baby and that I might resent her or regret giving up my regular life. I've yet to feel that way. Yes, it's hard to go somewhere when I am responsible for feeding her every three hours but you just plan well and make it happen. Or your don't make it happen and let people deal with the fact that you created a human and that human needs to eat. It won't be this way for long and I don't want to rush a single second of her needing me like this. I'm not worried about the fact that I need to get my nails done or that I could really use a massage and a trip to the gym because there will be plenty of time for that later.

Lastly, I thought I might look at Forrest and ask "what have we done" when things got rough. I have never ever once thought that. Of course, I think we are pretty lucky because Charlotte seems pretty easy and good natured, and we have both had a very positive attitude about everything, but I've never regretted having her not for one single second. I have no idea what we did or how we lived without this little love in our lives and I can't wait to see how her life, that we gave her, unfolds before our eyes.
Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2 weeks (but she is actually 3 weeks!)

Happy due date Charlotte! (March 11, 2015). Time flies when you are in love and sleep deprived! Our little girl has been here for 2 whole weeks and we have already reached her due date. Oh the things we have learned in those 2 weeks! Charlotte is gaining weight SO well and has entered a growth spurt too! That requires me to feed her pretty much all night long, but if it keeps my baby growing I'm going to do it! I'm really surprised that I'm handling the sleep difference so well, as I LOVE my sleep. However, it doesn't take much to nurse a baby and put them back to sleep, and I'm great at drifting right back to sleep once she is snug in her bed, so it hasn't been too bad. Plus we sleep from about midnight to noon (complete with several interruptions of course) so I get several good hours in there. I have to admit that I do not mind the laying around the house all day in my pajamas part of having a newborn. It's going to be so hard to get back to work! I'm actually working a little each day to keep up with my case load and so I don't leave any clients waiting for too long. It actually makes me feel really productive to work a little each day and hopefully will make the transition back to the office go smoother.

As for Charlotte, she is just the sweetest thing. Some notes:
--The dogs going into attack mode and barking at any moving thing that comes our way doesn't phase her or even wake her. I hope this is because she is used to hearing them from when she was inside me. And while we are discussing the dogs, they have not been allowed in our room since they came home to meet Charlotte. This was hardest on Ruffles because she is used to sleeping in bed with me but for cleanliness sake they have been banned for a while. They have the run of the rest of the house so they are fine but a little confused. The cats stay in the basement because I'm afraid they will jump on her by accident.
--She had her first real bath last night (3/10) and was not a giant fan. I think she was cold. However it didn't last long because she went tt in the water so we just went back to a sink bath. She LOVES to put her toes in the warm water!

 photo B66AD872-633A-4BDC-B0A6-B0B2D48E85E2_zpsucq9fu56.jpg
This was her first sink bath at home.

--She loves riding in her Mom a Roo! She just stares at the little mobile at the top too.
--She also loves light--probably that's pretty much all she can see. If we turn on a lamp she will gaze at it and I always put her in her Mom a Roo by the window so she can look at the light coming in through the blinds.
--She listens when we talk and will turn her head to voices. It's funny to watch her when I'm on face time with someone because she is not sure where to look to find the voice.
--She finally has let me start dressing her! For the first nearly 2 weeks of her life she exclusively sported a diaper, hospital t shirt, hospital cap, and was swaddled in a hospital blanker. She now has decided she doesn't need  or want to be swaddled which necessitated putting real clothes on her so she doesn't freeze and she has made her peace with it.
 photo 3059D7E0-D3EA-45D5-B5C1-22A635DBEDDF_zpsxf0j0aax.jpg
Her uniform for the first couple of days.

 --We have been feeding her every 3 hours like clockwork since she was born. However, she decided this week to rebel and do it her way. We had 2 terrible nights and then I just gave up on 3 hours to see what she would do. Well, she woke herself up to eat every 2 to 2 1/2 hours--hooray! No more alarm clocks!!
--We have been weighing her on a kitchen scale every day to make sure she is still gaining weight, and she REALLY is!

Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lack of Bump Update

I wish I could say I miss carrying around my giant bump and swollen body, but I must admit I don't. I did feel strange for several days because I couldn't feel the baby moving in me and in the hospital I even started to tell my mom that I hadn't felt Charlotte in a while before I caught myself and remembered she was in the crib. That goes away quickly because you have too much else to worry about! I had so many questions for my friends after the baby was born about what was going to happen to me and no one remembered super clearly so I"m hoping this may help some of you and who knows, maybe remind myself again in the future. 
 photo 621F5C26-A709-4FE7-AB2C-CE1E94533C56_zpssx8a5beh.jpg

Total Weight Gain: Exactly 40 lbs. I'm kind of glad that I had her early because who knows how high it would have gotten. I haven't weighed myself yet but I have already lost a significant amount. My tummy is much much smaller and not as wiggly as I thought it would be and my bottom and legs are distinctively smaller. I must have been carrying lots of water everywhere!

Maternity Clothes? I'm pretty much wearing pajamas all day long but the few times I have had to leave the house (a funeral and doctors appointments) I've worn my maternity jeans (which I had outgrown by the end, truth be told) and regular sweaters and tops that aren't form fitting. I'm wearing a lot of strappy tank tops for nursing purposes underneath. 

Stretch Marks? Has anyone ever heard of getting stretch marks after delivery? Well that happened to me. I KNOW they weren't there before I had her because I looked every single day but now I have some!! 

Sleep: I still sleep great when I'm asleep. Charlotte is a noisy sleeper so she wakes me sometimes when she isn't awake but over all if she is asleep so am I. 

Food Cravings/Aversions: I never thought I felt much different while pregnant but being un-pregnant has made me see how different my appetite was. I feel totally normal again. I'm not starving nor do I have to worry that I might throw up on someone if I get too hungry. I just eat. And sometimes I get hungry and that's ok! I know I have to keep eating for breastfeeding but now I have far more control. I don't want to eat ice cream in bed at 10:30 pm any more and have more patience to wait for healthy options rather than stuffing my face with whatever is in front of me. 

Symptoms (of not being pregnant): I cried a lot in the evenings for no reason at first. I'm not sure if I was tired or hormonal or what. I don't feel any type of sadness or depression except sometimes I am sad that my pregnancy and the excitement is over. I was upset the other night because labor and delivery was over! To me being pregnant was like being engaged, It was all parties and excitement leading up to the big day. The big day, however, is such a blur, especially when you weren't expecting to have the baby when you did and in the way that you did, and I felt like I wished I had paid more attention and "felt" it a little more. 

Belly Button In or Out? IN! Hooray! I'm hoping it goes all the way back to its former slit like status but beggars cannot be choosers. 

Wedding Rings On or Off? Still off. My hands are not swollen but I think my knuckles are and I have to force them on and that's not worth it to me. My knuckles really hurt when I wake up so I"m not sure what that's about. 

Miss Anything? Knowing that I'm the only one that "knows" Charlotte and having her all to myself! Of course I love having her here but there was something special about it being just the 2 of us for a while. 

Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One week update

Charlotte has had much excitement in her few days in this world. The day after she was born, a snow storm hit, dropping nearly 10 inches of snow outside our cozy hospital window. Yes, 10 inches of snow fell in one day in Alabama. What a special way to welcome our sweet one. I like to sing "My Favorite Things" to her from The Sound of Music and one of the lines is "silver white winters that melt into spring", and I know I'll always think of her birth when I hear that line from now on. She had many many visitors and got so many presents!! We were exhausted but it was lovely to see how many people loved our new little love.

 photo 7658A135-545D-4E33-B3E7-BA42AF2D9B5C_zps1ulyoedv.jpg

Before we could leave she had to have her hearing tested, which required 3 different attempts but thankfully she passed. Mama was beside herself with nerves!
It was so special for me to dress her in her coming home outfit. Her dress was the one I wore home from the hospital but even cooler than that, my dad wore it home too. Her bonnet was handmade by Forrest's grandmother for him.
   photo 7827E855-EFC9-42C5-8940-B51AEDC2B0DB_zpskv3psru0.jpg

I was beaming as the nurse wheeled me to the door, clutching tightly to Charlotte's car seat. Forrest snapped her in and we drove her home, while the snow was still covering the ground.

 photo 5AE469B2-BED6-4635-A9B0-1564CA7936D4_zps12hmmrbb.jpg

 We were so happy to be home together, our new little family of three. We were really worried though when Charlotte didn't eat very well at all nor did she settle for much sleep. The next day we took her for her first doctor's appointment and we learned she had lost a lot of weight (down to 5.13 lbs) and her bilirubin levels were high. If it was too high we were going to have to admit her to the hospital so the doctor told us we needed to feed her as much as we could and get her to poop the bad stuff out. We are lucky to be friends with our pediatrician too so I knew that Claire would tell it to me straight. I had my friend Casey. who is a lactation consultant, come over and help me with pumping and feeding. (Yes, I'm friends with my ob, pediatrician, and a lactation consultant--it's good to be me sometimes).  I was really encouraged and determined to fatten my baby up. However, while she was there, Claire called Forrest to say we had to admit Charlotte and we had to keep her under the bili lights and on a bili blanket for a day or so. I was crushed. I cried all the way to the hospital and most of the time I was there. I couldn't bare to see them stick her baby heel or to see her squirm in her bed.
   photo 9FBA06EC-D2CB-49E4-B37C-D99CA1B32990_zpslnudbup4.jpg

A lactation consultant hooked me up to the hospital grade pump and we fed my milk to her via syringe after attempting nursing every 3 hours.
   photo 4816F305-1BEA-48F2-9FEE-8BF7D66AB54C_zpshbum569a.jpg

She really got the hang of it after a while. One of the consultants told me to look for "rhythmic nutritive sucking" and we like to use that term now. We were released around 6 pm the next night when her levels were back down and had stayed down for 6 hours on their own. It was the hardest day of my life but we got through it. It was again fantastic to have our little one home, and we were armed with a plan of feeding and pumping that was sure to get her rolly and chubby in no time.

On Sunday my mom came to help us. She has been so fantastic. She does dishes, laundry, fixes our meals, and helps me feed her during the nights since Forrest has had to start back to work. Charlotte is lucky to have such a great Momsie!

 photo 66E037E7-328E-4C02-8FC5-E1FEE1DE15A6_zps9zksrags.jpg

 On Monday morning we loaded her up for her follow up appointment with the doctor. She had gained back up to 6.4 lbs! Success!! Unfortunately her red blood cell count was high and we had to take her to the hospital to have blood drawn from her veins instead of her heels. I cried all the way from the doctor's office (literally the office, not the parking lot) to the hospital and most of the time I was there. I couldn't stand thinking of them hurting her. The nurses were so kind to her and to me and made us feel very at ease. Again, she passed and we were able to bring our girl home. Forrest went straight to work and I went straight to sleep. We are now just trying to get her settled at home, since every time she gets here we have to leave for a while.
She really is the sweetest most precious little baby. She sleeps really well and now she is starting to eat well too. She loves to be snuggled and swaddled but she also sleeps great in her pack n play by herself. She has started to stay awake a little bit during the day and I love looking at her and holding her and wondering what in the world I did without her.I look forward to seeing her grow and change but don't want to rush a single minute of it. We are so in love.
Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A new birthday to remember

I woke up on Monday morning, 2/23/15, totally over it. We had a very busy weekend and baby girl was keeping me awake during the nights. When I woke up that day I felt like I had actually slept well but that I could sleep for several more hours. Luckily I only had one case set on the docket and it wasn't high priority, so I text my brother in law to ask him to handle it for me until I could get there and went back to sleep. I got to the courthouse around 11 and everyone was asking me how I was and was I ready. I distinctly remember telling one friend that I would smoke the baby out if I could because I was feeling terrible. After lunch I was at the office, ready to see clients back to back every half hour until 5, when I realized I hadn't felt her move all day long. That wasn't unusual, as she typically slept late in the mornings, but after I ate she was busy most afternoons. I tried to wiggle her, lay on each side (on the couch in my dad's office), bounce around, etc. But nothing. I text the doctor (thank goodness I'm friends with her) and she said I should come in. My dad's secretary drove me to the doctor's office and I anxiously called Forrest, who was at work. He actually had my dad in the chair putting in crowns and he basically left him toothless in the chair (haha). Lindsay, the doctor, found her heart beat right away, thank goodness, but ultrasound showed that she had hardly grown since the last check up 3 weeks prior. I knew when Lindsay said for us to come chat with her after the ultrasound, that the news wasn't good. She indicated that her size was a concern and I needed to walk over to the hospital for monitoring. It was probably nothing but we needed to be sure. She said we probably should prepare ourselves for an induction in a week or so.
So over to the hospital we went. I was put into a gown and had a fetal monitor strapped on. I loved being able to track baby's heart rate on the monitor---I told Forrest I was never leaving the hospital because I felt safe with her being constantly monitored. The doctor on call came in to check the numbers and showed me that baby's heart rate was strong but not varying. Apparently they like to see it going up and down and her's was sitting around the same spot. He said we might just need to induce that night. Forrest and I both were like "oh no, Lindsay said next week" and the doctor just smiled and said well ok let's see how it goes. Later we found out that he left our room and went and reserved the last available labor and delivery and post partum rooms for me. About 2 hours later Lindsay came and looked at everything and told us the news--we were having a baby! She said that she looked "ok" but not "perfect" and we weren't going to settle for anything less than perfect. Forrest and I were in shock--we had so much left to do and we were really not mentally prepared for the news. Fear, excitement, confusion, were all emotions we felt as I left the monitoring area and got set up in my labor and delivery room. Lindsay let me eat dinner (bless her) and call family in before we started the induction. My last meal was chicken fingers and fries and 2 ice cream bars. I had given up sweets for Lent until the baby came and I didn't even last a week.

 photo 1EEE9F93-F555-48B5-928D-3CC05A2F4C20_zpsd0ij6zxb.jpg

My mom and dad went to my house and picked up my suitcase which was half way packed. I had thrown my new hospital jammies in the wash and they took them home to dry, and they also picked up the dogs. I was rigged up to more monitors, an IV, and a blood pressure cuff that went off every 15 minutes. At 9:33 pm, they started my pitocin. I did not want any pain medicines other than the epidural and they said I could ask for it at any time once I started to feel the contractions. I lasted until about 3:30 am. I had a strong contraction and felt a weird pop. I got Forrest to check my monitors and he said nothing was different and then I called the nurse to take me to the bathroom because they wouldn't let me go on my own. When she helped me up, I realized that the pop was in fact my water breaking! We were on our way to a baby!! After that the contractions were really getting strong so we called the epidural guy. I really started to freak out at that point. I was shaking so badly because I was afraid of the needle. The guy was so nice and let Forrest watch him do it and I have to admit it did not really hurt much. It was SO weird going numb. I didn't like the feeling of not being able to move my legs but I did like not being able to feel contractions.
I dilated very slowly but was 80% effaced when I got there so they thought I might take a while. Every 2 hours I progressed about 1 cm. When they checked me at 8 I was at 5 and when Lindsay arrived a little before 10 for another check, I was at 10 and ready to push. Again, Forrest and I were like, um, no, we are at a 6 thank you!! I started freaking out because I wasn't ready. My mom wasn't there and my sister was on her way in from Nashville. I didn't even have my friend Rachel there to be the photographer as planned! Luckily they said I had time and they would start when I was ready. Once we made the calls and Rachel arrived I started pushing. That was a weird weird thing. I couldn't feel anything so I had no idea if I was doing it right. Deep breath in, push for 10 seconds (the slowest count of 10 I have ever heard), do that 4 times in a row. Over and over and over. I was exhausted. I kept asking Forrest if it was working and he said it was. I was surprised that the whole thing was going down with only 1 nurse in the room--I thought there would be hoopla. Over and over I pushed and they kept saying "I see her head!" "She has hair." At one point I remember saying just pull her out by her hair because I was so frustrated. I even made Rachel look to make sure they weren't lying about my progress. Lindsay arrived at some point and she told me I knew I was getting close when she got dressed in her gown. Ok--I had a goal. Forrest was an amazing coach. He was so encouraging and was saying things like if I climbed that mountain in Peru then I could surely do this. He also used some Nick Saban football motivation on me. However, I'm pretty sure the best motivation was when he said that as soon as I got her out they would let me eat again. Boom--challenge accepted. I remember feeling very tired and like I wanted to quit but I was determined NOT to have a C section after I had been through all of that so I was going to get her out. All of a sudden I started to feel again in my left leg. I had already had an epidural booster because I was having pain in the same place but they didn't seem to listen when I told them. Lindsay just kept saying "Oh it's ok! Use that pain to push!!" I remember thinking that  I was not too thrilled with that answer but figured the quicker I got her out the quicker the pain went away. Game on--I was ready. Turns out that the nurse turned my epidural off so I could push better. At least that makes since now. Before I knew it Lindsay was getting dressed. Hooray! My nurse also called the nursery nurses to come in, which made the room much busier. I got really nervous when the anesthesia guy came in the room and asked over and over why he was there. I knew it wasn't for me but was afraid it was for the baby, that something was wrong. (He was there in case she needed to be intubated but I didn't learn that until afterwards when I asked). I remember pushing with all my might and kind of screaming a little and next thing I knew they were flopping my sweet girl on my chest. I wasn't even aware that she had been born so I was in shock to be holding her. Forrest and I got to hold her and pet her sweet skin for an entire hour before they even tried to weigh her or check her out. (From pics I know they did listen to her heart and a few other things but all that happened with her lying on my chest.) My baby was my arms.. and she was totally perfect. I had been waiting 37 weeks to hold her and love her and now it was all over.
   photo 621F5C26-A709-4FE7-AB2C-CE1E94533C56_zpsn46vaeor.jpg

We were a family, just like that, with one giant push. It took an hour after I had her before they let anyone come see her since she was learning how to nurse. I didn't mind--I will always be glad we had that special time together. Soon though they needed to check her out so they let in family from the waiting room. My mom and dad, sister, Aunt Fran and Aunt Sue, and my grandmother--they all rushed to greet her. I felt so so proud. I also felt amazing because they were letting me eat  again! Yay! After her bath they loaded us up and took us to the post partum room where we would stay for the next 2 nights. I hope I never ever forget a single moment of that day, of the fear, the anticipation, the excitement.The day I became a mother is the day I was forever changed by the tiniest of little lives, yet I honestly have no idea how I ever lived a single moment without her. I am truly blessed to be her mother and I hope that every day I can endeavor to deserve the  honor.

 photo 0BBE6FB8-7728-4FD4-8851-6261496A3AC7_zps6zvhx1ny.jpg

Our first family photo.

Meet Charlotte Ann Bailey

 photo 6DBE7B52-B739-4656-B3B3-9C7BFBB42B42_zpsth0iwoaq.jpg

6 pounds 8 ounces
20 1/2 inches long
Born on 2/24/15 at 12:13  pm.
Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter
Blogging tips