Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our First Few Weeks

 photo IMG_3216_zpseb303ec8.jpg photo IMG_3221_zps578eb88e.jpgI hate being pregnant. I really do. I also feel REALLY ungrateful for admitting that because I have so many close friends that have suffered through infertility and would give anything for the nine months that I so loathe. I want you to understand that I 100% appreciate pregnancy and what it gives to me.
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 photo IMG_3246_zpsefa64479.jpgThis time round, after having suffered a miscarriage and nine months of wanting to be pregnant and not being able to get myself into that state, every-time I found myself complaining I would send a little prayer thanking the Lord for the opportunity I had to grow my daughter. I made a HUGE effort to never complain on blog or on facebook or out loud at all because I felt like complaining would make me seem so ungrateful for a gift which I truly do appreciate more than anything.
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That all said? I still HATE being pregnant.

 photo IMG_3289_zps35687b32.jpg photo IMG_3255_zpscf0fe83d.jpg photo IMG_3238_zpsf05e27c8.jpgThe funny thing is, I think loathing the nine months of growing my children, have actually led me to an extreme love of the newborn and early post pardum stages. I LOVE newborns. I feel like the trials that come with a new tiny life are WAY easier, and much more enjoyable than anything I face during gestation. These past two and a half weeks have been the best two and a half weeks since the very first week I found out I was pregnant with Monica. Better even because those early weeks of pregnancy were fraught with fear over loosing the tiny life I so desperately wanted to carry. The chances of loosing Monica now that she is here are so much less than before and I am free to simply love and enjoy her and my new life and family.
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 photo IMG_3258_zps0d8341b5.jpg(The photos you are seeing I have tried to place in order of when they happened- the first few days after we came home, firsts like first outing to the doctors, to the pool, first bath etc. And then us just loving on Monica. Which is done A LOT :)

 photo IMG_3250_zps8e0d381c.jpgNot everything has been easy of course- I was surprised to find that my hospital stay was harder this time around. In part because of awful night nurses, but also because I had never experienced after birth pain with Logan. Yay- that sucks like swear words I shouldn't type out :)
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 photo IMG_3341_zps5cd5e115.jpg photo IMG_3257_zpse1976ec0.jpgBut, once I was at home at managing my own pain it was much better. I also lucked out enough that the longest amount of time I have gone without full time help since Monica and I came home has been an hour. I cannot express how eternally grateful I am for Adams parents for watching over Adam and Logan while I was in the hospital. For my friend Nikki who came and stayed with me those first few days I was home and so nervous about moving that I slept on the couch.

 photo IMG_3317_zpsf77dda02.jpg photo IMG_3296_zpsd30d3ae4.jpg photo IMG_3327_zpsf87b7ccf.jpgAlso to my mother who flew into DC a few days after Monica was born and has been with me ever since. I don't know who will miss her more when she leaves next week- Logan or me :) She has made it so I can really cook, cuddly each of kids when I want too. So I can workout, take long showers, nap... so Adam and I can date. Logan has had a constant play companion and after five children and being in primary her whole life- my mother is an EXPERT on play :) She has done all my cleaning and all my laundry and even given me a card playing partner when my kids go to bed.

 photo IMG_3308_zps9ee7bdb6.jpgIt has been AWESOME and I realize fully how richly blessed I have been. My night time prayers have become nothing but utterances over how thankful I am for the help I have received, for how great Logan is with Monica, how awesome Adam is about the ups and downs of a bigger family, how easily I have healed, and how great Monica is herself.
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 photo IMG_3301_zpsa2b0748f.jpgBecause she is an AWESOME baby. If I thought Logan never cried Monica cries even less- only when shes ready to eat. Though when she is that is a loud, vociferous and never ending shout until food is in her mouth :) But she is a great breastfeeder- we have had no issues with latch or milk production. (That is also thanks in part to my sister awesome breast pump- I pump once a day so Logan can have the fun of feeding Monica and so I can measure how much I am producing... I think just the act of pumping has really helped me produce more.)

 photo IMG_3337_zpsfd994a41.jpgAlso, like Logan, Monica is a great sleeper. I love the book BabyWise for sleep training and try to follow it as best as I can. And after our first two rougher nights at home, Monica eats every three to four hours during the day, and every four to five at night. Which means I feed her before I go to bed, get up once at night, and then she acts as my morning alarm. It is great. I still find I need a nap in the afternoon but the sleep I get at night is long enough for me to at least get to a REM stage and now that I am not pregnant it is ten times better.

 photo IMG_3248_zpsb093b032.jpgYeah- the best part of these past two weeks (besides watching Logan love his sister so much that he gives her his before unsharable toys, and holding a teeny warm body against my chest) is NOT being pregnant. No more annoying and painful daily shots. No more nausea, food aversions, or lactose intolerance. No more "bowel issues", heart burn or acid reflux. No more being so heavy and huge that I cant touch my calves, toes, OR sleep comfortably. No more nerve pain, braxton hicks, or round ligament pain.

I eat what I want! I shave! I paint my toes! I work out! I sleep on my back and on my stomach! The only pain I am in is the one I inflict on myself from some awesome exercise. Add to that having my own live doll (I swear I spend more time in Monica's closet choosing out outfits and hair-bows for her than I do in my own) and having a new baby girl is one of the best things ever.

 photo IMG_3333_zps165cd94d.jpgIts been a pretty joyous time. I am healing as fast as I did with Logan (yeah to being about to workout after two weeks!) and everyone adores having our new baby in the house. Adam hasn't said a word about us waking him up at night. In fact when we do he usually responds by rolling closer to me and either placing a hand on Monica's head while she eats, or on my arm as I feed her. Most endearing thing ever. Adam is pretty Logan focused when he gets home from his rotations- something I am worlds grateful for because Logan needs it and right now Monica doesn't know the difference. But once Monica is fed and Logan is in bed Adam scoops up his daughter and they cuddle together for hours while Adam does his work and relaxes. (Which leaves my mom and I time alone for cards haha!)

See why I felt it appropriate to change our blog name to The Beautiful Life? That's what it is.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Monica's Birth

After more than a week post pardum, I figured I finally had the brain and the time to write this blog :) Sorry about the wait! I know that for some people birth stories can be boring, so I will try to put as many pictures in here as I can to keep you tied in :) These first ones are of me the day before I gave birth to Logan (the right- hair up), and the day before I gave birth to Monica (the left, hair down). Logan was a week further along in gestation- keep that in mind as you look at my amazing girth.
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A lot of you will be surprised, based on some of the blogs that I have written before, to discover that I opted for, nay, ASKED for, a planned c-section. If you remember I have actually said before that I really had no desire to have an all natural birth. My first c-section, despite being an emergency was easy. I healed easily. I loved it. The more and more time that passed this time around the less and less I wanted to experience a VBAC. (Some of the pictures to the left is just us having last minute fun before Monica came.)
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When Adam and I moved here to Martinsburg and I had to meet with my new OBGYN, she asked me, or double checked with me really, that I was going to attempt a VBAC. I told her my worries and this is how she responded: (a summation of what she said :)

My first son was born c-section and according to me I had an awesome recovery and I was on blood thinners for NONE of that. In her mind me attempting a repeat c-section, even though it puts anyone at a higher risk for clots, was not something to worry about especially since this time I was on thinners. My doctor also said that the more nervous I was about a vaginal birth, the harder it was going to be for me, and there was no guarantee that I wouldn't have to have another emergency c-section anyway. 

 photo IMG_3178_zps36df1c35.jpgI know it sounds like she was trying to convince me to have a c-section, but really she was just trying to make me feel better about the thoughts that I WANTED to have one. I really REALLY love my doctor and I think she could sense that I had already made my decision and was trying to make me feel better about it. She was very open to doing a VBAC if I wanted it and told me the decision was all mine. She actually told me she wanted me to take the week to think on it- to not make any decision before that.

The clincher in the entire conversation was when she mentioned that she was going to be out of town the first two weeks of August. Right when I would deliver all naturally. So if I DID decide to go that route, my high risk pregnancy and birth would be at the hands of some other attending (who I specifically DID NOT choose for good reasons) residents, and the med students.

 photo IMG_3169_zpsb64a09fd.jpgI love med students. You could have 20 of them in a room watching me give birth and I wouldn't mind. However, NONE of them is going to touch me, assist etc. I wanted MY doctor and no one else. And if I wanted my doctor- it was going to be a c-section.

So the date was set! I was going to be taken a few days before 39 weeks- all repeat c-sections are done early that way the woman doesn't go into labor on her own. Mine was a few days before 39 weeks because my doctor wanted it on a Friday. (All the med students are in class on Friday so me having an operation that day ASSURED that there would be no one without an MD in the operating room. Bar Adam of course.) I felt really at ease about it ever since- we were able to plan family and friends to help us- Adam was able to take time off (which was a HUGE blessing since he has been working surgery. If I had happened to go into labor on my own and Adam was in the OR- then I would have been STUCK laboring on my own. Also another reason for the planned c-section.)

My in-laws came into town on Thursday July the 25th- they were going to help Adam and I while I was in the hospital. I slept maybe an hour or two total that night- nerves, fear, excitement- I sat up in bed watching Friends on my iPad for HOURS to keep myself calm. Adam slept great despite his nerves- he had kept on asking me if the doctors were sure she would be okay- that she was big enough, that her lungs were developed enough...

Adam and I were up at 4am Friday morning- the 26th. Showered, Adam ate (I couldn't) loaded the car, drove to the hospital, and I was in my labor bed in a gown by five thirty. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 and I had been shocked that the hospital thought that they were going to need two and a half hours to get everything settled- but they used the whole two hours. Between blood tests, and baby monitoring, anesthesia counseling, paper signing... its a lot.

The last half was just Adam and I in the room talking. About ten to 7 the prep nurse came in and told me that a woman had just showed up in labor and there was some issue that meant she needed to be dealt with first. My surgery was going to be pushed back till 1pm. I was devastated and livid. Adam was livid. I hadn't slept, I hadn't eaten or had anything to drink so I was parched, I was nauseous. After months of lactose and tolerance, no sleep, nausea, extreme nerve pain, self administering shots that left huge bruises on me every day- I was DONE. I wanted her OUT.

I think the Lord could feel my distress because at 7:05 the anesthesiologist walked into the room and started talking to me about the different meds I was going to receive. Adam and I were super confused until we heard them mention in passing that the woman who had come in was stable and laboring fine and that my doctor insisted on taking cadre of me first. Now- if another woman needed serious help I didn't want to stop her from getting it but I was pretty stoked that my doctor considered me a first priority.

It went fast from there. Adam went to change-they took me next door to the OR to get my spinal. I was a little nervous without Adam in the room, and I guess right after the spinal my heat rate kinda dipped cuz they had to give me TWO shots of ephedrine to keep me steady. Ephedrine makes you feel WEIRD. But then they gave me a shot of the most amazing anti-nausea medicine- I felt better than I had in MONTHS.

Adam came in and sat by my head- my doctor is one of his attending's and he has worked with some of the nurses so it was REALLY fun to have a natural repore with them. I'm not sure how long into it- probably fifteen minutes or so- they told me- "Here she comes!"

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I waited- and waited- there was no sound. I started to flip. I asked if she was okay and right as the nurses were assuring me that she was gorgeous I hear a SUPER loud scream :) And it didn't stop. I started to cry. I turned my face to Adam and said with a laugh, "I don't think you have to worry about her lungs being developed enough." They bent her down to me so I could see this purple cheesy looking thing then the pediatrician and pulmonologist took her to look her over- Adam went with. 

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Once they were assured that she was perfectly healthy- they weighed her (the nurses had a bet going haha!) then Adam brought her over to see me. With Logan I remember it taking me two days or so to really feel that deep parental love. And I don't know whether its because I have been feeling that love for two and a half years now, or because the Lord knew I needed it, but right there in the OR I was just overwhelmed with how much I loved this tiny delicate looking thing. Oh my gosh I loved her.

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They took her to the nursery so Adam could give her her first bath and they could do the normal fresh newborn testing. They were almost finished with me so my doc sewed up my inside then went to take care of the other lady there, and the chief resident sewed up my skin. I had no problem with this because I had, surprisingly, been in the hands of this guy before. When my doctor had introduced him to me I KNEW I recognized him and with Adams help we realized that a year a half ago, this man had been the one to do my DNC when I had miscarried. I cannot even express to you how special it was for him and for me, that he was there in the most painful moment of my life taking care of me medically, and that he now got to be there for one of the most joyful moments of my life. How many doctors that are forced to take a child out of the world, are able to be there for the same woman, bringing a new child into the world? It was amazing.

He also did an amazing job by the way :) Everyone who has seen my scar has been ridiculously impressed by how small, skinny and great looking it is. The guy actually told me that my old scar, while fine, looked a little bulky so he was going to scrape it away and make me look better. I responded with an enthusiastic, "Go for it!" (and I hadn't even thought my old scar looked bad!) All the nurses, and the myriad of doctors that we had in the room kept on telling me that I was the best patient and the easiest c-section they have ever had. Adam says they DO NOT say that to everyone, and its because I have "a pleasant personality" but I think its just because they were so great and efficient and the Lord, thankfully, gave me a body that while struggling to be fit, heals from hurt fast. Blessings.

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They wheeled me into the recovery room where I had to stay for an hour. This is just to make sure that I react to drugs just fine- there's no crazy bleeding issues etc. Half way through Adam brought Monica in to me and I got to hold her and breast feed her for the first time. Logan was three inches longer than her at birth, and he LOVED to stretch out. Monica likes to curl up and she seemed to little to me!

Its amazing how fast mothering things that you haven't done in two years come back to you. I had to have a nurse help me position her the first I breast fed but after that we had no issues with breast feeding, diaper changing- all easy peasy. (This is Monica on the left, and Logan on the right. You can tell they are related right?)
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My in-laws brought Logan to see me right around 10:30- he was in love with Monica right from the start. The only way he would let go of her so Adams parents could see her was for us to distract him with the present Monica got him. Which he was equally excited about :) It was amazing to all sit around my bed together though- our little family. It was so relieving for me to have Logan so enthralled with his sister that he would totally forget about kissing me. They all left, Adam included, around 11:30 so I could sleep, and right after they left the room Logan came running back in so he could say good-bye to baby Monica one more time. One of the most endearing moments of my life. (Though to be honest- we have had A LOT of those since Monica was born.)
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I stayed in the hospital till Sunday. I was actually allowed to stay until Monday if I wanted, and I did kind of want too. My c-section was healing great, but I was in a lot of pain. Mostly because I was not ready for the after birth pains? Yeah- those of you who have not a second kid watch out. I don't even remember feelings Logans, but this time every time I peed or nursed it was like I was in the middle of labor. Awful. And my pain meds were kind of restricted thanks to the fact that I have to be on blood thinners till 6 weeks post pardum. However, my day nurses were AMAZING and helpful- my night nurses were from hell. They ignored me, I went whole nights with no pain relief- I decided that while I could use an extra day of hospital rest, I would probably get better rest at home where I could manage my own pain relief.
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So Adam picked us up around 2 and we came home! My in-laws had made an adorable banner for us :) Logan had SO much fun with them- he got a little spoiled which was EXACTLY what he needed, and Adam and I got a little spoiled because despite the fact that Adams surgical attending gave him the weekend off, Adams parents took full care of Logan and the house so Adam could spend more time with me. They were fantastic to us and I couldn't have been more grateful. 
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And I am now realizing that this post is forever long, and probably forever boring so I will sign off here, and give you the update on our first week as a family of four in the next few days. WE can sum by saying however, that it has been AMAZING. Logan has been great, Monica is totally healthy, and I had forgotten how much I LOVE having a newborn. So far two kids has been no issue and I fully believe that the Lord has just been blessing us that way Adam has no reason to stress more than he needs too while he's working in surgery. We do indeed have a blessed and beautiful life.