10 ways our lives have changed over the past 4 weeks

26 Aug

Our little Addison is now 4 weeks old!

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I’ve read several blogs where people do a post about a day in their life…basically just an account of what their day is like.  I thought it might be interesting to do a post about “the day in a life of a mom with a newborn,” so I started such a post last week.  Well…you can thank me later for not publishing it, because it turns out the day in a life of a mom with a newborn is not very exciting to read about unless you like hearing over and over again how much my baby loves my boobs and pooping and peeing.  And well, talking about breast feeding and poopy diapers doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities for good pictures to post on a blog.

So I scratched that idea and figured I’d write about a few ways our lives have changed over the past four weeks:

1.  The ability to multi-task has become a whole new art:

See my foot rocking the Rock N' Play?  When I took this picture, I was simultaneously pumping milk (with a handsfree bra), putting on makeup, and rocking Addison.

See my foot rocking the Rock N’ Play? When I took this picture, I was simultaneously pumping milk, putting on makeup, and rocking Addison.

 A close up view of her face in the pic above, because I think it is beyond cute and funny:

I wonder what she is thinking in this pic...my guess is that she is feeling sad, left out, and confused as to why the breast pump gets access to my breasts instead of her ; )

I wonder what she is thinking in this pic…my guess is that she is feeling sad, left out, and confused as to why the breast pump gets access to my breasts instead of her ; )

 2.  Dean and I have now come to accept a new level of neatness.  There is baby stuff everywhere, and there are baby bottles, milk storage containers, and breast pump parts drying on our counter at all times.  That our place is now cluttered is an understatement, but we are have learned to accept that this is the way it is going to be, at least for the time being.  

The counter on one side of our sink...

The counter on one side of our sink…

...the counter on the other side of our sink.

…the counter on the other side of our sink.

What one corner of our apartment looks like:  I was really motivated one morning last week to clean out our book shelves and get rid of the books we've read and/or don't need any more.  Well, I started the project, and then Addison demanded my attention half way through.  Never got around to finishing it, and half a week later, that corner still looks the same.

What one corner of our apartment looks like: I was really motivated one morning last week to clean out our book shelves and get rid of the books we’ve read and/or don’t need any more. Well, I started the project, and then Addison demanded my attention half way through. Never got around to finishing it, and half a week later, that corner still looks the same.

3.  My morning routine now looks like this:

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Computer, espresso, and breast pump.

4.  Because of the breast feeding, I am trying to drink a ton of water (2.5-3 L a day).  This was really hard at first, because I typically really only drink water when I am working out.  The first few days I felt bloated and overstuffed with water.  Funny thing is, once your body gets used to it, you, or at least I, seem to settle into a new equilibrium.  Now it’s really easy for me to drink a lot of water, and I actually feel like I get thirsty if I go 20 minutes without at least a few gulps. 

My goal is to finish at least one full Nalgene bottle (~1 L) by noon.

My goal is to finish at least one full Nalgene bottle (~1 L) by noon.

5.  Getting out of the house takes a LOT longer than it used to, even to just go for a walk.  Gotta time it right with the feeding, diaper changing, and getting myself ready.

Was just about ready to walk out of the apartment the other day when this happened:  Addison was in the carrier and spit up all over my shirt, requiring an outfit change and a further delay to getting out.

Was just about ready to walk out of the apartment the other day when this happened: Addison was in the carrier and spit up all over my shirt and herself, requiring an outfit change of both myself and Addison, which caused a further delay in getting out.

6.  Speaking of timing things correctly, the timing of when I drink a glass of wine or bottle of beer has to be strategized, since I am breast feeding.  Alcohol shows up in breast milk most significantly roughly 1/2-2.5 hours after consuming.  If I’m planning on having a drink in the evening, as soon as I am done feeding Addison, I’m like “quick, Dean, pour me a glass of beer!”

7.  Dean and I now bargain and negotiate with each other as to when we can have our personal time, since one of us obviously has to be with the baby at all times.  Recently, Dean has become super passionate about cycling.  This is a good thing, because it has made the negotiating a lot easier since we are now about equal in degree of obsessiveness when it comes to my running and his cycling.  Alright Dean, you can go on your bike ride this morning, but tomorrow I get to head out for a run…Deal?

Dean and his friend heading out for a ride Saturday morning.

Dean and his friend heading out for a ride Saturday morning.

Me on MY afternoon to go workout:  getting ready to bike over to the gym while Dean hung out with Addison.  This, btw, was my first time back on the bike since I found out I was pregnant.  Pumped to be able bike places again.  Makes getting around the city soooooo much easier and faster.

Me on MY afternoon to go workout: getting ready to bike over to the gym while Dean hung out with Addison. This, btw, was my first time back on the bike since I found out I was pregnant. Pumped to be able bike places again. Makes getting around the city soooooo much easier and faster.

8.  Our fridge is now predominantly filled with beer and breast milk.  So appetizing, I know:

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After snapping this picture, I froze about half the milk there…trying to increase my milk supply before going back to work.

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9.  When going for walks with Addison, different things now frustrate me or piss me off (to a greater degree than before).

-For example, sidewalks with stairs and no ramps?  The other day I had to snap the car seat Addison was in out of the stroller, carrier her up the stairs, and then carry the rest of the stroller up the stairs.  

-People walking side by side on the sidewalk.  It’s a lot harder to pass people with a big stroller than when it’s just me by myself.  Please don’t take up the whole sidewalk, especially if you’re walking really slow!

-Drivers who don’t yield for pedestrians at cross walks.  Oh my.  This pissed me off before, but now this REALLY pisses me off when I have Addison with me. Folks, if a pedestrian is in a cross walk, they have the right of way whether there is a stop sign or not.  YOU MUST STOP FOR THEM (For the record, I’m not talking about busy intersections where there is a street light and a defined time for cars and pedestrians to cross…I’m talking about cross walks at any other intersection or street).  

10.  And the BEST change over the past 4 weeks?  Getting to see and hang out with this cutie pie every day:

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3 weeks old: thoughts on going back to work

18 Aug

Going back to work:  Addison is now a little over 3 weeks old. Hard to believe I’m over half way through my maternity leave. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. While I physically and intellectually feel ready to work again, I’m not sure how ready I will be emotionally and how ready WE, Addison and I as a team, will be in less than three weeks. For one, Addison is becoming much more alert and interactive in the mid-late morning, and I’ve been really loving this time to interact and bond with her. In three weeks, I will not be around to interact with her at this time.

Second, call me selfish, but I like being the one that gets to feed, comfort, cuddle and play with Addison during the day during these early weeks of development. The daycare she will go to is excellent, but it makes me sad that someone will be taking my spot as the caretaker of Addison during the majority of the day.  I know tons of working moms do this, but I can’t help but worry if our bond will somehow be weakened by me no longer being around her for such a large portion of the day at such a young age.  Maybe I’m being irrational about the whole bonding fear–I don’t know.  It’s not that I don’t want her interacting with other people and babies–I think that is a very good thing–it’s just that she just seems so young still.

Third, there are certainly anxieties I have around breast feeding and going back to work. Addison eats A LOT. We have not introduced a bottle yet, because I wanted her to get completely comfortable with breast feeding before switching over to pumping and feeding her from a bottle, but we need to start introducing a bottle this week, and I have to figure out all the logistics of how much to pump, how much milk to bring to daycare with her, and how to find time and where to pump at work without disrupting the flow of my work too much.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are things I’m looking forward to about going back to work (getting out of the house, intellectual stimulation, interacting with my colleagues), and I am grateful for the line of work I do and the job opportunities that I have, but I’d be lying if I said I thought it was going to be easy returning to work in 3 weeks.

QUESTIONS:

1.  Working moms:  how was the adjustment back to work?

2.  If you chose to continue breastfeeding/pumping, any suggestions on the transition to pumping and bottle feeding?  Like what bottle/bottle tips did you use?  How often did you pump during the day?

If you don’t feel comfortable responding online, you can always email me:  jpoccia008@gmail.com

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Misc pictures:

Now that Addison is over 8 lbs, we can use the Baby Bjorn carrier for her.  I love wearing this around the apartment, because I can actually get some stuff done while still keeping her up close to me.

Now that Addison is over 8 lbs, we can use the Baby Bjorn carrier for her. I love wearing this around the apartment, because I can actually get some stuff done while still keeping her up close to me.

Ms. Addison can be quite theatrical:  these pics were taken within a few seconds of each other when she was about a week and a half.   Amazing how many facial expressions she's capable of!  haha.

Ms. Addison can be quite theatrical: these pics were taken within a few seconds of each other when she was about a week and a half. Amazing how many facial expressions she’s capable of! haha.

My first social outing without the baby.  I met up with my former residency class for drinks last week.  Great group of people...we were lucky to have such great class and that most of us stuck around Chicago for fellowships.

My first social outing without the baby. I met up with my former residency class for drinks last week. Great group of people…we were lucky to have such great class and that most of us stuck around Chicago for fellowships.

Family and baby pics:  Addison has mostly been a pretty well-behaved baby, but of course luck would have it that the day we had scheduled for the photographer to come, she would NOT. STOP. CRYING and SCREAMING.  It'll be funny to see how the rest of the pics turn out, because in some of them, we had her face away from the camera and were pretending to "ooh and ahh" over her when in fact, she was screaming at us.  haha.  Of course as soon as the photographer left, she finally decided to calm down and go to sleep.  I have a new appreciation for the patience that newborn photographers must have!

Family and baby pics: Addison has mostly been a pretty well-behaved baby, but of course luck would have it that the day we had scheduled for the photographer to come, she would NOT. STOP. CRYING and SCREAMING. It’ll be funny to see how the rest of the pics turn out, because in some of them, we had her face away from the camera and were pretending to “ooh and ahh” over her when in fact, she was screaming at us. haha. Of course as soon as the photographer left, she finally decided to calm down and go to sleep. I have a new appreciation for the patience that newborn photographers must have!

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The next two pics are two pics I took of Addison sleeping peacefully.

The next two pics are two pics I took of Addison sleeping peacefully.

Our Pandora stations have changed!!

Our Pandora stations have changed!!

Donovan proudly holding his little cousin : )

Donovan proudly holding his little cousin : )

Addison and I met Dean at work last week and walked home with him.

Addison and I met Dean at work last week and walked home with him.  Cool story, I know ; )

On Sunday I went for my first truly solo run in ten months and my first run in a month (my last run was at 7.5 miles at 39.5 weeks).  Felt so freeing to be out running.  I only did a little over 3 miles at a slow pace...have definitely lost some stamina over the past 4 weeks and want to slowly work my way back up to a regular running schedule.  More on the postpartum exercising in a later post.

On Sunday I went for my first truly solo run in ten months and my first run in a month (my last run was 7.5 miles at 39.5 weeks). Felt so freeing to be out running. I only did a little over 3 miles at a slow pace…have definitely lost some stamina over the past 4 weeks and want to slowly work my way back up to a regular running schedule. More on the postpartum exercising in a later post.

Addison was not a fan of bath time, but Dean and I couldn't help but be entertained by her reaction, particularly given the fact that she was all wrapped up in such a cute towel.  haha.

Addison was not a fan of bath time, but Dean and I couldn’t help but be entertained by her reaction, particularly given the fact that she was all wrapped up in such a cute towel. haha.

My second social outing without Addison:  celebrating my good friend Christine's engagement.  Christine and I and our group of friends all met through our church back in 2009.  We've gone through so many huge life changes together, all of which have been good changes recently.  It's amazing looking back at all we've been through and where we have come.  So excited for her and her fiancé : )

My second social outing without Addison: celebrating my good friend Christine’s engagement. Christine and I and our group of friends all met through our church back in 2009. We’ve gone through so many huge life changes together, all of which have been good changes recently. It’s amazing looking back at all we’ve been through and where we have come. So excited for her and her fiancé : )

Our first two weeks with Addison

12 Aug

Can’t believe it’s already been over two weeks since I gave birth to Addison!  I have a feeling I’m going to be commenting on how fast time is passing for the rest of my life!  haha.

Initially, I had concerns about how much to write and post about Addison.  It’s a different world today growing up with social media than when I was a baby, and she isn’t exactly old enough to decide for herself how much publicity she wants, but then again, I see baby pictures and updates all over Facebook, instagram, and other blogs, so it’s not unique to share pictures and experiences with her on social media.  For now, I have decided to continue to share pictures of and some of our experiences with Addison.  At some point when she is a little older, I will most likely make these posts private for her protection.

I don’t necessarily intend to make this blog a “mommy” blog, but this blog is about my life in general, and right now, she is pretty much the center of my life and thus is all I really have to write about, so below is a two week update.  I’m sure the amount of writing I do will go drastically down once I go back to work.

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Somehow it is already 2:30 in the afternoon, and I’m still in my pajamas with my hair still in the same pony tail I went to sleep in and the bed still unmade, and I still have a ton of thank you’s to send off to all of our generous friends (sorry if you haven’t received a thank you from us yet!  We haven’t forgotten!). I am realizing that as a new mom, the hours fly by, with few “things” to show with what I did with that time.  And yet, although I don’t have objective, concrete accomplishments to check off my to do list, those hours were taken up with priceless moments filled with love, cuddling, cooing, holding, rocking, soothing, feeding, and caring for this new life…moments I am treasuring before I go back to work and before this little girl grows up.  I can totally relate to this quote from my devotional book:  The vast ocean of Love cannot be measured or explained, but it can be experienced.  This is how I feel towards Addison.  I definitely have a new respect for all moms–stay at home or working.

So how has it been?

Sleep:  The first two nights were rough.  I think Dean and I were pretty much up every single hour of the night.  Addison did not like sleeping in the Pack N’ Play that we had in our bedroom and would quickly unswaddle herself and start crying.  We made some rearrangements with where she slept, and since then, she has done much better!  Now I am waking up once or twice to feed her and cumulatively getting 5-6 hours of sleep, which is pretty normal for me, so I don’t really feel deprived at all right now.  I’m sure that will probably change once I go back to work.

My Recovery:  So, as I had mentioned in one of my prior posts, one of my fears about the labor process was tearing.  Tearing is graded on a scale of 1-4, with 1 being the least severe and 4 being the worst.  I’ll leave out the description of how each grade is classified and let you look that up yourself if you are curious, but basically I was hoping for nothing beyond a grade 2 tear.

When I was pushing Addison out, I was pushing hard because of that drop in her heart beat…the last thing on my mind was any concern about tearing…I just wanted her out and healthy.  I experienced no pain during the delivery, presumably because of the epidural and adrenaline, so I had no idea if and how badly I had torn.  When the nurse for documentation purposes asked the OB what grade tears I had, I was relieved to hear a grade 2.

Honestly, I have had pretty much no pain associated with the tearing.  Sure, the first half a week after the delivery things in general felt a little sore, which is expected after having pushed out a nearly 8 lb baby, but that’s about it.  If I hadn’t been told or aware that I had a tear at the time of delivery, I would have never known.

I don’t mean to paint a rosy picture about tearing and the recovery process.  I have heard of people having much more pain and discomfort afterwards (probably from grade 3 or 4 tears?), but I can only speak of my own experience:  it was and has not been bad at all.  What I found MUCH more uncomfortable was the breast engorgement when my milk came in and aspects of breast feeding.

Breastfeeding:  Breastfeeding has provided me thus far with some of my favorite moments with Addison and some of my most frustrating and painful moments.

At the hospital after the first day, Addie was latching quite well, or so it seemed.  Apparently, though, she must’ve not been latching on correctly, because I ended up with a cracked left nipple (sorry if tmi).  This was painful.  Much more painful than any tear that I had.  It basically felt like a paper cut on the nipple, and whenever she tried to latch on, it felt like someone was putting alcohol on a cut.  It burned.  And when that pain didn’t go away after ~30 seconds of feeding, I decided to make an appointment with a lactation consultant.

An additional uncomfortable experience with the breast feeding in the beginning was the degree of engorgement I experienced when my milk came in.  This overall is a good thing…I am grateful that I am able to produce so much milk, but it was VERY uncomfortable.  It was in the middle of the night when I first experienced the extreme engorgement, and I–in a somewhat panicked state–woke Dean up to help me figure out how to use the breast pump.  It literally felt like I had bricks in my breasts.

Luckily, although it looks intimidating, it wasn’t that hard to figure out how to use the breast pump (it also helped that my friend had given me a brief tutorial a couple weeks prior).

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Through Obamacare, I was able to get the Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump for free. It looks super intimidating, but is actually really easy to use, and I’m really happy with it. I definitely would recommend it to others as well as a hands free pumping bra.

Source

Between the pain from the cracked nipple and Addison adjusting to drinking actual milk and being able to latch on, that second half of the first week and the first half of the second week were hard.  It is one of the most frustrating things knowing that your daughter is starving and yet struggling to latch on to feed.

Luckily, things have improved considerably and she has no problem latching on now.  There is still some minor discomfort, but it is only temporary and much more tolerable.

And although breastfeeding has proved to be challenging at times, Addison still fed like a champ.  Almost all breastfed babies initially lose weight, and the goal is to have them back at their birth weight by their 2 week appointment.  Addison exceeded that and weighted 9 oz more than her birth weight at her 2 week appointment, weighing in at 8 lbs 6.1 oz.

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At Addison’s 2 week appointment. She’s gained all of her weight back and over half a pound more than her birth weight. This little girl likes to eat!!  btw, I couldn’t be happier with our choice in a pediatrician.  I absolutely love her, and she’s been at this practice for some 30 years.  Additionally, her practice has weekend and evening hours, which will be very convenient when I go back to work.

In terms of the good aspects of breastfeeding, it has been a great bonding experience with Addison, and I absolutely love cuddling with her after she’s done feeding and passed out in a “food” coma.  For those mama’s or soon to be mommies…if you want to breastfeed–and it’s ok if you don’t or can’t for whatever reason–but if you do, know that it can be challenging and frustrating in the beginning, but hang in there…it gets better!

What Addison looks like after feeding.

What Addison looks like after feeding.

Post-pregnancy body:  I know this can be a touchy subject.  Please don’t hate me for saying this, but I am just a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  My normal weight is in the range of 110-114 pounds, with a weight of around 110.5 pounds the day I found out I was pregnant and a weight of 133.5 pounds the day I went into labor. Currently, my weight is around 115-116 lbs.

I attribute a lot this to luck:  I had an easy pregnancy, with cravings not much more than ice water and very mild morning sickness, which made it a lot easier to maintain a healthy diet.  Also, I was in shape going into the pregnancy and had no complications during the pregnancy, which allowed me to maintain exercising and being active throughout my entire pregnancy.  Additionally, I had a relatively easy and smooth labor process, which has made the recovery quick.

Each pregnancy is different, and during the next pregnancy, I could very well have horrible morning sickness, in which all I want to eat is bread and pasta, or could have some sort of complication or other limiting factor that prevents me from being active.

Exercising:  Dean and I have been doing a lot of walking with Addison (she LOVES going for walks, which I’m thrilled about), which has been so much fun because not only is it good exercise and gets me out of the apartment, but it’s good quality time with both Addison and Dean.

Out along the lakefront path with Addison and Dean!  She loves going for walks and seems to sleep most soundly when she's in her stroller and we're out and about.

Out along the lakefront path with Addison and Dean! She loves going for walks and seems to sleep most soundly when she’s in her stroller and we’re out and about.

Up until this point, I haven’t had much of a desire to run.  However, over the past couple of days, that itch to run has definitely come back.  There’s no hard and fast rule as to when you can get back to running/exercising after a vaginal delivery.  They say on average about 6 weeks, but it really depends on the person, the labor and delivery, and the recovery.   I’ll probably give it another week and then test out a short run on the treadmill to see how it feels before deciding whether to start up running again or wait a little longer.

Other random/misc. thoughts and observations:

*they say if you have a boy, be careful when changing diapers, because you may get pee sprayed in your face!  Well, I have news for you:  you still have to be careful with girls.  They may not squirt pee in your face, but they can still poop!  During Addison’s 4 day old appointment, we were in the doctor’s office changing her diaper when she projectile pooped half way across the room.  I am not exaggerating.  Good thing I have quick reflexes and was able to quickly jump out of the line of fire : )

*Addison loves sunlight.  Whenever she is awake and alert, she is always looking towards the window:

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*My breasts were so engorged and enlarged when my milk came in that the lactation consultant asked if I had ever had breast surgery (i.e. if I had implants, which I have not)…haha.  Prior to getting pregnant, I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have EVER been asked such a question.

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QUESTIONS

1.  What was the hardest adjustment for you during the first couple of weeks?  

2.  Did your baby’s eyes change a lot during the first year?  Addison’s eyes are blue right now, but I hear that they can totally change over the first few months.

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MISC. PICTURES

My sister meeting her niece for the first time.

My sister meeting her niece for the first time.

Tummy time!  Having Addison practice using her neck muscles.

Tummy time! Having Addison practice using her neck muscles.

All cuddled up in Dad's arms.

All cuddled up in Dad’s arms.

Girls evening out:  me, my mom, sister, and Addison.

Girls evening out: me, my mom, sister, and Addison.

Addison's first beer run ; )!  I believe this was taken when Addison was 5 days old?  It was my first outing with her other than her appointment.  I was sooooo excited to get out of the apartment.  I literally took a shower, blow dried my hair, and put make up just to do go get beer.  haha.  Crazy.  But seriously, it felt so good to make myself look nice after lounging around in pajamas in our apartment during the past several days.

Addison’s first beer run ; )! I believe this was taken when Addison was 5 days old? It was my first outing with her other than her appointment. I was sooooo excited to get out of the apartment. I literally took a shower, blow dried my hair, and put make up on just to do go get beer with her and Dean. haha. I may have been a little crazy, but seriously, it felt so good to make myself look nice after lounging around in pajamas in our apartment during the prior several days, even if it was for a ten minute outing ; )

Family Funday Sunday in Lincoln Park.

Family Funday Sunday in Lincoln Park.

Anthony saying hi to his cousin...

Anthony saying hi to his cousin…

He insisted on being the one that got to push her in the stroller.  So cute : )

He insisted on being the one that got to push her in the stroller. So cute : )

I posted this on Facebook and instagram, but it is one of my favorite shots of Addison thus far and makes me smile whenever I see it.

I posted this on Facebook and instagram, but it is one of my favorite shots of Addison thus far and makes me smile whenever I see it.

 

Addison’s Birth Story Part 3

9 Aug

Here is Part 3, the final part, of Addison’s birth story.  Part 1 and Part 2 were posted previously as well as a brief overview of her birth.

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After the nurse in triage told me they were going to admit me, she said it would still be awhile before there was a room available upstairs (btw, my official admission time was after midnight, which was my goal/hope for insurance reasons).  I believe I was still in triage at 2 am, which is when the nurse came back in to check my labor process….I was now 4 cm dilated.  Shortly thereafter, a room opened up for me upstairs, and the nurse came to get me to transfer me up there.  She gave me the option of walking or using a wheelchair, and I opted for the walking.  I wasn’t able to walk through the contractions and had to stop and lean against the wall when I had one, but being up–and really, being in any position other than sitting or lying on my back–was more comfortable to me, so we slowly made our way upstairs.  She took me to the back elevators that I use every day when I’m at work, and I remember commenting on how weird it was to be using these elevators as a patient dressed in a hospital gown rather than as an employee in my nice work clothes and white coat.  Good thing this was happening at night and not during the day when all of my colleagues and coworkers were there!

For those of you who are familiar with Prentice Hospital, the views from some of the rooms overlooking the lake are phenomenal, and I was originally hoping to get one of those rooms.  We did not, and I could’ve cared less (not that there was anything to look at at that hour anyway).  I was glad, though, to be in a much more more spacious and comfortable room as compared to the triage room!

When I met my nurse on the labor and delivery floor, I asked for a portable fetal monitor and tocometer so that I could move around freely.  I’m not sure how happy she was with this request, because she warned me she would probably be in there frequently to adjust it, as they are very finicky, but it ended up only needing adjustments a few times in the beginning.

By this point, the contractions were really intense…the most intense discomfort I have ever felt.  Every three minutes or so, I’d feel the wave of a contraction start to build.  I was unable to sit or lie down because of the pain, so I had the bed raised up to a comfortable position for me to lean over, and when a contraction started, I would stand next to the bed and lean over it bent at the hips with my elbows/arms resting on the bed and my head down.  Dean was half awake, lying on the bed/couch near the window, but as soon as he would hear me breathing heavy, he would jump up and start rubbing my lower back, which helped to mitigate the pain somewhat.  This went on every few minutes for a few hours.

As the night wore on, I became more and more exhausted.  Like, incredibly exhausted…probably the most exhausted I have ever felt, and that’s saying a lot given the years of getting up at ungodly hours to figure skate (when I was younger) or run before school/work and the 9 years of medical training I’d been through so far.  I think it was a combination of the physical and emotional fatigue from the labor process thus far, having worked all week as well as earlier that day, and all the stress and relatively little sleep over the past few weeks from ending residency on night float and starting fellowship.  I was so tired I was practically hallucinating.  I would close my eyes for a few seconds in between contractions and immediately be in a dream world, only I was still half awake.  It was weird.  The only way I was able to close my eyes at all was when I was on the bed on all fours, with my head on the bed and my butt somewhat in the air, somewhat resembling Child’s Pose in yoga…sitting or lying down, as I already said, was out of the question because of the back pain.  I must’ve been quite a sight whenever one of the nurses came in to check on me.  haha.

I forced myself to get up a few times and make some laps around the hospital floor I was on.  I told myself since I had held out so far on getting an epidural because I wanted to be able to move around, well then I better get my butt up and move around!  So Dean and I took a few walks around the labor and delivery floor.  He was sneaky and took a few photos (and a video) of me attempting to walk around, which I did not know of until the next day.  I was a pretty funny sight, in my oversized hospital gown and Mizuno running shoes:

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Looking stylish in my big gown and Mizuno running shoes strolling around the hospital! ; )

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This picture cracks me up. I think I could fool people with this picture into thinking I was an old, hunched over lady walking around a hospital or nursing home!  haha. Luckily the hospital had railings along the walls in the hallway. Whenever I felt a contraction coming on, I was unable to walk through it, so I’d grab onto the railing (which I’m starting to do here) with both hands and lean forward.

I think the OB resident came into check me at some point between 4 and 5 am.  I was still only 4 cm.  I was discouraged and overwhelmed by how much I still had to go.  By this point, I didn’t want to walk around anymore.  All I wanted to do was be able to lie down and sleep.  If I was this exhausted now, how was I going to make it through the rest of this labor and then push this baby out?!

The hospital staff was great…they never pushed having an epidural on me, but they did periodically check to see if I was ready for one (I had signed the consent for one when I first got admitted).  Each time I had said “not yet”.  Finally, at a little after 5 am, I was ready for one:

1)  I was in desperate need of some sleep and rest, particularly knowing I still likely had several hours of labor left and then had to physically push the baby out.

2)  I had stopped or temporarily slowed down in progressing through my labor in regards to cervical dilatation, so the moving around didn’t seem to be doing much any more.

3)  I was too tired to move around anymore anyway, so I no longer cared if I was bedridden

4)  I had had enough of the intense contractions.  I had several hours to “experience” what labor felt like, and I was now ready for some pain relief ….I felt no need to win any battles for length of labor without an epidural.

At 5:30, some 7 hours after the intense contractions had started, the anesthesiology resident came into my room to place the epidural.

Quick digression here on resident house staff:  I am a firm believer that if you go to a teaching hospital, you better be willing to accept care from residents and fellows.  Few things pissed me off more as a resident than when a patient demanded to only be seen by an attending.  If that is your attitude, go to a community hospital or somewhere with no residents.  I am no different than any other patient and was seen by both an OB resident and an anesthesiology resident, who were great.  And honestly, in regards to getting an epidural, you’re probably best off having one placed by a resident rather than an attending.  My guess is that the residents probably do a ton more epidurals per year than the attendings and probably do a better job!

So anyway, as I said, the resident came into my room to do the epidural at around 5:30 am.  It was a super quick procedure (as I knew it was), and the only minor discomfort was the slight sting from the lidocaine (numbing medication) at the beginning…the much more uncomfortable part was trying to hold still when I was having a contraction while he was placing the epidural.

Once it was placed, he gave me a dose of medication, and my legs immediately felt warm and sorta tingly…then I felt my whole body completely relax, as I was suddenly pain free.  Have you ever done the relaxation technique in yoga or elsewhere where they tell you to tense up all your muscles and then let go of all the tension and relax…that’s what it felt like.  I had now idea how tensed my entire body had been for the past several hours until I got that epidural and was able to relax.  It was amazing and the best feeling ever….like night and day.  Suddenly, I was able to smile and engage and talk with the people around me.  Most importantly, I was able to lie down comfortably and get some rest.  I was literally completely pain-free, like I could barely tell I was having contractions, and they certainly weren’t painful anymore.

Finally able to smile and relax after the epidural.  More importantly, I was able to nap and get some rest.

Finally able to smile and relax after the epidural. More importantly, I was able to nap and get some rest.

Me being able to sleep meant that Dean could, too, since he didn't have to jump up every few minutes to massage my back.

Me being able to sleep meant that Dean could, too, since he didn’t have to jump up every few minutes to massage my back.

Shortly after getting the epidural, the OB resident came in to artificially rupture my membranes to help the labor progress since my water had not yet broken.  I was then started on a very low dose of pitocin, which I don’t think they ever had to increase considerably.

For the next several hours, Dean and I just rested, and no one came into check my cervical dilatation.  Later on that morning I met the OB from the practice I went to who was working that day and who would most likely be delivering my baby.  I had seen a few of the OBs in my practice, but I had never met her until that morning.  Some people like to have had a longer, more personal relationship with the person delivering their baby, which I understand, but I honestly could’ve cared less…all I cared about was that the physician delivering my baby had good judgement and skills when it came to the delivery process.  I did, though, immediately like the OB when I met her.  She had a very calm, friendly demeanor.

She told me to let her know when I started feeling pressure from the baby’s head down below.

Later that morning, I started to feel pressure from the baby’s head and was wondering why no one had checked me for the past several hours.  The nurse said the doctor would be in shortly.

At around 11:00, the OB came in and checked me and was like, “You’re going to have this baby within a half hour!”  I was fully dilated and the head was low.  OMG, I thought.  Shi* just got real!  I figured I was getting close to being ready, but I didn’t realize I was now ready to push the baby out!  For the first time throughout this whole labor process, I felt nervous.  I couldn’t believe the moment was here…the moment I had waited nine long months for.  We were about to meet our daughter face to face.

"It's go-time...let's do this!"  Dean took this right after the doctor told me I was ready to start pushing.

“It’s go-time…let’s do this!” Dean took this right after the doctor told me I was ready to start pushing.

The nurse and doctor left the room for a brief second, and I suddenly felt a wave of nausea.  Apparently, it’s very common to vomit during this “transition phase”, and that I did.  Since no one was in the room except Dean, I yelled at Dean to grab a trash can or something for me to vomit in.  He literally grabbed the biggest trashcan possible.  The nurse walked back into the room with Dean at my side holding up the full sized trash bin (the kind the garbage people use) to my face.  Haha.  She quickly got a more appropriate smaller bin for me to use : ).  Meanwhile, the doctor and nurse started getting the room ready for me to delivery, and then, before I knew it, they were having me push when I felt a contraction.

I was scared it would hurt when I pushed, but it didn’t hurt at all, so I pushed hard…I literally felt like the vein in my forehead was going to explode.  While I was pushing during the second contraction, I noticed that I couldn’t hear the fetal monitor anymore.  There was no heart beat sound.  I started to worry.  My OB remained calm, but I knew enough from my background that this was potentially concerning.  She didn’t say much other than to tell the nurse to put a pulsox on me, but I did notice her looking over frequently at the fetal heart rate monitor.

At this point, I knew that during this third contraction, I HAD to push this baby out.  You normally push three times per contractions…I still hadn’t pushed the baby out by the third push on that third contraction, so my OB told me to just keep on pushing despite the contraction having stopped.  I did, and with two more pushes after a total of about ten minutes of pushing at 11:22 am, our baby Addison made her entrance into this world.  She had APGARS of 9 and 9, weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz and measured 21 inches in length.

Addison was immediately placed skin to skin on my chest, and I got meet my daughter face to face for the first time.  She was healthy, beautiful (ok, let’s be honest…as beautiful as a newborn baby can be having just been pushed out of a uterus through a small orifice…haha), and perfect.  I have seen many babies delivered, and now I was able to experience the birth of a baby from the mother’s standpoint.  It was a surreal, beautiful, and love-filled moment.

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Me meeting Addison face to face for the first time, immediately after delivery (They do skin to skin contact with the baby and mom immediately after delivery).  Amazing moment.

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After a few minutes of skin to skin contact, they took the baby from me to clean her off, do her measurements, and give her her eye drops and vitamin K shot.  I then asked my OB about the heart rate dropping during that second contraction.  She was like, “yeah, if you hadn’t pushed that baby out quickly, we would’ve had to take more drastic measures.”  She didn’t elaborate on what she meant by that, and I didn’t ask.  I didn’t want to know, because I didn’t care.  I was just happy Addison was out and healthy.

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Proud Daddy Dean holding his (screaming) daughter for the first time : )

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First family picture.

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I must say, I felt like I had a very smooth and relatively speaking, easy labor.  Sure, the hours of back labor were not comfortable, but it’s not like I was expecting labor to be a relaxing, comfortable process (although it sorta was after the epidural).  Looking back, I don’t think I would have changed a thing about how things went.  I’m glad I didn’t get an epidural right away.  It’s not that I found the contractions an enjoyable experience, but for better or worse, I was able to experience the intensity what labor feels like…to feel my body taking over in a powerful, strong way to bring life into this world.  It’s a beautiful thing what a woman’s body can do…to grow another human and then deliver it to this world…a miracle, in fact.  Additionally, experiencing the intensity of labor with Dean by my side, helping me the best he could, was a special experience…we were in this together, as life partners and soon to be parents.

I’m glad, though, that I got the epidural when I did.  It made the labor a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience.  I was able to be more present in the moment rather than inwardly focused and was able to engage much more with the people around me, including Dean.  Also, had I not been able to get some rest and conserve and regain some energy, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to push Addison out as quickly as I did, and who knows how things would have ended up.

Although I feel fortunate that the labor went as well as it did, I am most grateful for a healthy, beautiful girl.  Having been a family of three for two weeks now, I can’t imagine our lives without Addison, and I can’t wait for the journey that awaits us as parents as we raise this little girl : ).

 

 

Addison’s Birth Story Part 2 and Discussion on Epidurals

5 Aug

This post was supposed to be “Part 2″ of Addison’s birth story–and it partly is–but as I wrote this, it ended up turning into a long discussion on epidurals and less of a birth story, so there will be a Part 3 that describes my experience during the rest of the labor process.

You can read part 1 of the birth story, which is posted here, or if a detailed account of the labor process isn’t your thing, you can read a brief summary of Addison’s birth here.

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So Dean and I arrived at triage around 11:15 pm or so.  After checking in, we went into a room where they checked how dilated I was.

When the nurse checking me said I was 2.5 cm dilated, I thought What? Are you serious?!  My contractions are this intense and I’m only 2.5 cm dilated?   At 2.5 cm dilated, wasn’t this still considered the latent phase of labor, prior to when contractions become really intense??  My pride deflated as I suddenly felt like the biggest wuss ever.

They then left me in in the room hooked me up to a tocometer (to measure contractions) and fetal heart tone monitor.

Because I knew they were trying to monitor the baby and my contractions, I tried to remain as still as possible as I lay in bed.  Now, I’m not sure what back labor or labor in general is like for other people, but when I was forced to lie on my back through all those contractions, I was miserable.  Lying down on my back seemed to make the intensity of the pain at least ten times worse whereas moving around and leaning forward lessened the pain.

After what seemed like an eternity, the nurse came back in.  I was sure she was gong to tell me to go back home and labor some more there before coming back, but instead to my surprise, she said that the doctor wanted to admit me…that going from 1 cm the day before to 2.5 cm was pretty significant and that my contractions were really strong (not sure how they were judging this, because I didn’t think an external tocometer could actually measure strength of contractions objectively?  Maybe she was judging by the frequency of contractions?  Someone in OB enlighten me).  The nurse also told me that the doctor said that if I wanted an epidural now, I could get one.  At 2.5 cm?  I thought.  I declined.

I will sidetrack here a bit to discuss my thoughts on getting an epidural, because for some reason, which I do not understand, many Americans have turned whether or not to get an epidural into some huge, monumental decision that defines you and your labor process.  It’s ridiculous.  There are pros and cons to getting an epidural like any intervention or medication, but each person and each labor is different, and the decision to get one can be affected by one’s personal desires regarding the labor process, the length and degree of pain from the labor process (which if you ask mom’s who’ve had more than one kid, can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy), and how the labor is progressing.  What do I mean by progressing?  People respond differently to an epidural (Any OBs reading this, please feel free to chime in and correct me about this or anything else described in this post, as you would obviously know much better than me about labor and epidurals).  There are some in which the contractions lessen following an epidural and the labor process seems to be delayed, and there are others who’s labor quickly progresses after getting an epidural, because they are finally able to relax and their cervix thus can more easily dilate.  I also believe an epidural can lengthen the pushing stage of labor.

So what are the risks of an epidural?  What effect does it have on labor outcomes?    Most importantly there’s not a whole lot of risk to the baby.  Studies have shown no significant differences in women who got an epidural and those who don’t in the baby’s APGAR scores, fetal distress, and baby time in the NICU.  In regards to the mother, those who get an epidural have a greater chance for having instruments used during labor and an increased risk of fever, but there is no significant difference in the overall C-section rate or risk of long-term backache (The above info is based on Emily Foster’s Expecting Better book, which received a lot of criticism in the press and from some in the medical community, but which I found to be very informative and used in addition to other resources and my own research to make decisions throughout my pregnancy).

If your primary goal of not having an epidural is to be able to go around afterwards and brag about how tough you are for having a “natural” delivery, then you’re doing it for the wrong reason.  However, on a personal level, I do understand why some women want to labor without an epidural…for them, it’s not about bragging to others but about a sense of empowerment to oneself and/or truly experiencing all of the labor, good and bad.  I get that.  I also get the fear of a slippery slope of interventions once you get an epidural (having a foley catheter, increased use of Pitocin, increased risk of instruments).  I had that fear myself.  In my opinion, there’s a lot of monitoring, testing, and interventions that get done in OB (and to be fair, in other areas of medicine as well) that may not be necessary, and I understand why people would want to avoid that...I wanted to avoid that myself.

An additional reason for avoiding an epidural is some may not want to be restricted to bed.  Once you get an epidural, you have to stay in bed.  This means you have to get a foley catheter inserted into your bladder, because you’re not allowed to get up and go to the bathroom.  Also, for some people, moving can help the baby get in an ideal position for coming out, which you obviously can’t do any more once you have the epidural.

So why get an epidural??  It provides damn good pain relief without getting into your system systemically.  This can obviously make the labor process a lot more comfortable and enjoyable, and may even allow one to “experience” the process better because one’s not so inwardly focused as a result of the pain.   Another advantage…it may allow one to sleep and get some rest.  The labor process, particularly for first time moms, can be long.  It is exhausting just going through the process of getting dilated (because you are tensing up every 3 minutes or so and probably aren’t sleeping through this process, which can go on for many, many hours and even days), and then after all that, you have to physically push that baby out, which can take up to 2-3 hours hard physical work.  Getting some rest and conserving energy may help you be more efficient at pushing that baby out.  And finally, as I described above, there is really not a whole lot of significant risk from getting an epidural.  It is a really easy procedure to do (I was doing them myself even as a medical student) and epidurals have been administered safely for a LONG time…my grandmother had epidurals when she was in labor.

Bottom line, it’s a personal decision whether or not to get an epidural, and it’s really not as significant of a decision as people make it out to be.  Do what’s best for you and know that there is no right or wrong way to experience labor.

So after this long digression on epidurals, what was my opinion in regards to getting an epidural?  Honestly, I didn’t have have any strong opinion either way, but I did want to go as long as I could without one, because I wanted to be able to move around (because I thought this would help the labor progress).  However, I did not know whether that would mean going through the whole labor without one or only part of the labor without one, because I simply did not know how labor would feel or how it would progress.  I’ll admit that I also had a few fears about getting an epidural:  I feared feeling a loss of control once I got an epidural…being a type A person, the sense of losing my control over something sorta terrifies me.  I also feared it would stunt my labor process and make it harder to push the baby out.  And finally, I feared it could lead to other interventions during the labor process.  What I didn’t fear was any increased risk in a negative outcome to my baby, which was my primary concern for any decision I made regarding this pregnancy process, so I had a low threshold for asking for an epidural if I felt I needed one.

As it turned out, I did eventually ask for an epidural later on Saturday morning, and none of my fears turned into a reality.  In fact, the exact opposite of what I feared is what ended up happening.

To be continued…

Addison’s Birth Story Part 1

3 Aug

Addison is now 8 days old…what an incredible week it’s been!  Dean and Addison are napping together next to me in bed, so I actually have a moment to to try to write this before her next feeding session (which is what I feel like I spend all my time doing…she is one hungry baby!):

My two loves napping together next to me : )

My two loves napping together next to me : )

Below will be part 1 of her birth story.  If you want the quick version, I will refer you to my last post which is a summary of the whole process. Otherwise be prepared for a much longer, detailed account here.

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July 23rd was my due date.  Given that I was already some 50% effaced or so at week 36-37, my OB thought I may deliver early or on time.  However, July 23rd came and went like any other day and was an uneventful aside from the electricity going out in our apartment building and me having to lug my makeup and stuff to the hospital to get ready for work.

Up until the last week, I had been awaiting the labor process with excited anticipation.  Now I was more than ready for her to come and getting frustrated that she hadn’t arrived yet. I was willing to try anything to help her come, even though I knew there was no proof to any of these methods:  I ate eggplant parmesan and spicy foods, I was still walking to and from work every day, I squated on the floor and bopped up and down (while Dean gave me funny looks…haha).  Clearly running didn’t cause preterm or term delivery, as I had completed a 7.5-8 mile run just a few days ago.

People at work kept telling me I still hadn’t “dropped” and that I still had some time.  All though these comments were all in good intent, it was frustrating to hear, because I didn’t want it to be true and was fearing she would never arrive.

Taken at work on my due date at 40 weeks.

Taken at work on my due date at 40 weeks.

I kept my hopes up, though, and excitedly went to my appointment the following day at 40 weeks and 1 day, hoping that I would’ve made some progress from the prior week in regards to effacement and dilatation.  My hopes were crushed, though, when my doctor said I was barely over a cm dilated (so maybe a few mm more than last week when I was one cm dilated) and still only partially effaced.  I knew we were going to start having to discuss the possibility of induction.  Now, I know people have had pleasant experiences with being induced, but as I said before, I really, really did not want to be induced.  I wanted to experience the excitement of going into labor naturally and not knowing when it was going to happen.  Plus, I have heard that contractions from the Pitocin needed to induce labor are a lot more intense.  What made the induction process even less desirable for me was when my OB mentioned that they may need to insert a catheter into my cervix to help it efface more (sorry if that is tmi…I feel like once you go through pregnancy and labor, there’s no such thing as tmi and being prude any more, haha).  We set up an appointment for the following Thursday night (41 weeks and 1-2 days) to get an induced, with a goal of having the baby out by the following Friday (41 weeks, 2 days).  I solemnly agreed to it, and then asked her what my chances were of going into labor on my own, even though I knew there was no good answer (physical exam is not a good predictor of when labor will start).  She said she has seen people go into labor the following day after only being a cm dilated, so it was possible.  One of my friends was only a cm dilated at her last appointment prior to going into labor, so I clung onto some hope and said a little prayer on my walk back to the hospital/work that I would go into labor before next Thursday.

That prayer was answered.

The next morning (Friday, July 25th), I awoke to more of a crampy feeling lower in my pelvis.   I figured it was probably just some cramping from the physical exam the day before.  I got ready for work and race walked to the hospital to make our 7 am conference on time.  I was sitting in conference waiting to present my case when I felt a contraction.  As you know, I have been feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions for half of my pregnancy where my entire uterus becomes rock hard.  I had become so used to these by this point that I hardly even notice them any more unless I’m running (cause it affects how I run) or sitting around doing nothing.  This contraction was definitely noticeable and more uncomfortable, with an associated menstrual cramp type feeling lower in the pelvis.

This continued fairly regularly throughout the day.  The contractions were definitely noticeable and would cause me to tense up, but I was able to focus through them, call back patients regarding biopsy results from the day before, and continue on with my work throughout the day.   I was thinking this may be early labor, but didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I was actually glad to be working, because it kept me distracted and made the day go by fast.

That evening I walked the 1.5-2 miles home and noticed the contractions were more uncomfortable once I got home.  I wasn’t sure if they were increasing in intensity or if I was just noticing them more now that I wasn’t focused on work and other things.  I was starving but ate a light snack rather than a heavy dinner in case this was, in fact, actual labor.

As the evening progressed, the contractions definitely got more intense without question.  I wouldn’t call them terrible at this point by any means, but they were uncomfortable enough that I stopped whatever I was doing when they occurred, and I started applying a heat pack to my back during each contraction.  Once I started needing a heat pack, I was pretty sure this was labor, so now I just had to wait for things to progress before going to the hospital.

I wanted to labor as long as I could at home before going to the hospital because

a) I didn’t want to be that person who shows up at triage only to get sent back home because they weren’t in labor or weren’t far enough along

b) once you get admitted, you’re a lot more restricted as to what you can do (no eating…you can move around if you haven’t gotten an epidural, but the portable fetal monitoring devices act up and so you’re still somewhat restricted).

c) I didn’t want to get admitted before midnight, because I didn’t want a few hours of admission prior to midnight to count as a “day” of admission to my insurance company.

However, I was GBS positive, which means that I couldn’t labor at home too long, because it was important for me to get at least two doses of antibiotics before delivery.

By around 11 pm, the contractions were getting quite intense.  I had been using an iphone app to time them and was now having them every 3-4 minutes:

Iphone app used to time contractions.

Iphone app used to time contractions.

I told Dean it was time to grab our bags and head to the hospital.  He was pretty excited by this, which made me smile (in between contractions : )  ).

Leaving for the hospital with our bags Friday night.

Leaving for the hospital with our bags Friday night.

The contractions seemed be progressing in intensity by the moment.  The discomfort was both in the lower pelvis and in the back, but it was the back contractions that were extremely uncomfortable.  On our way out to the car, I had a contraction, and I could barely walk through it.  I looked like a crippled old lady trying to walk.  On the drive to the hospital, I was fine in between contraptions, but as soon as I started to get one, it was like every bump in the rode or acceleration/deceleration of the car made it worse.

At around 11:15, we checked into triage.  It was sorta weird being back at the hospital I work every day at and had only left some 5 hours ago or so.

To be continued…

 

Welcome Baby Addison

29 Jul

On Saturday, July 26th at 11:22 am, we welcomed our little girl, Addison, into this world, and what an incredible past three days it’s been.  I will write a full post (or two) about the birth story, but for now, here are a few details:

-I had my 40 week appointment on Thursday, July 24th (technically 40 weeks and 1 day) and was discouraged to hear that I was still only partially effaced and barely over a centimeter dilated…not much of a change from the week before.  We discussed the possibility of inducing and set up a time do do so the following Thursday if I did not go into labor beforehand.

-The next morning the contractions I was feeling felt different than the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having…they were more uncomfortable and felt lower in my pelvis.  Nothing that I couldn’t focus through, but I was definitely aware of them every time I had one.  I started to suspect this might be early labor but didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I still went to work and was actually glad to be working, as it kept my mind off of what was happening and focused on other things.

-The contractions increased in intensity that evening, and I was having to put a heat pack on my back every time I had a contraction.  By 10 pm, I was pretty sure this was labor.  We finally grabbed our bags and left for the hospital once the contractions for the prior two hours were every 3-4 minutes, ~1 minute long.

-After being seen in triage, I was admitted a little after midnight, and a little over 11 hours later, I had our healthy baby girl in my arms.

-Aspects of the labor were very hard…I had pretty bad back labor, but overall, I had a really positive, smooth labor experience, and I was fortunate to only have to push for about ten minutes (through three contractions).

-Addison ended up being a lot bigger than everyone was expecting!  I always measured small in regards to my fundal height at my appointments, which made my OB nervous, but Addison ended up weighing almost 8 lbs at 7 lbs, 13 oz and was 21 inches long!  Healthy with Apgars of 9 and 9!

-Lifechanging, overjoyed, heart full of unconditional love…just a few of the words that come to mind about my experience over the past few days.  I now know what it feels like when you hear a mother say she would risk her life for her child.  I love this girl so much I would do anything for her.  It’s suddenly like all the things I’ve gotten stressed about and considered important in the past are suddenly totally insignificant.   Family, life, moments together with loved ones…that’s what is important.  Dean and I couldn’t be happier and feel so fortunate that God blessed us with this little girl.  We also have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from our family and friends.  We and baby Addison are truly blessed.  Thank you all : )

A few pictures:

Our girl has arrived!

Our girl has arrived!

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My father meeting his granddaughter.

My father meeting his granddaughter.

My mom and Addison

My mom and Addison

Dean's parents with Addison.

Dean’s parents with Addison.

Leaving the hospital on Monday.

Leaving the hospital on Monday.

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