Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Month Old

If you are a mom you've heard the cliche over and over again to enjoy your children while they are young/little because they will grow so fast. As annoying as it can be to hear this over and over again, it is oh. so. true! Mariela turned a month old this past Sunday (April 25th) and boy did that month fly by. She has changed so much in that month, too. That newborn baby look has faded and she now looks like a baby complete with chubby cheeks, roly poly thighs, and a baby pot belly. She now smiles at us socially and has started to coo. Her awake times are getting longer and she takes great delight in staring at her mobile on her bouncy seat and having some tummy time each day. Her head control is very good for her age and she actually lifts her head up all the way during tummy time.This past weekend we took Mariela for her first long car ride (an hour and a half each way) to meet her Great Grandmother. I've never seen my grandmother so enamored and so completely in awe of something so tiny. It was really hard to leave and pry our daughter out of her loving arms. I'll never forget the tears of joy in her eyes as she touched Mariela's nose, ears, hair, and stroked her tiny hands and explored every inch of her.
We scheduled Mariela's baptism for June 27th and have finally chosen her Godparents. My older brother, Pete, and our sister-in-law, Marisol, are going to be her loving Godparents. I'm so glad that my brother is able to take a part in such an important role in her life as I wasn't sure he'd be allowed to. We are baptizing Mariela Catholic and my brother is Christian, but not Catholic. Luckily, my church allows one of the Godparents to be considered a Christian witness while the other must be a practicing Catholic. My sister-in-law is a practicing Catholic and we're very close, so I'm really glad she said yes when I asked her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Operation Veggie Garden 2010

We might be a little crazy...ok, maybe a lot crazy...but we're doing a vegetable garden once again this year only this time I have my little bambina to care for, too. It could get interesting trying to keep up with the garden, but my father-in-law has promised to help out. He has a friend that is letting us borrow his rototiller to get the soil ready and is convinced that we should plant based off of his 2010 Farmer's Almanac. We also went an extra step and got permission from the town to plant our garden in the wetlands that are part of our property. They aren't very "wet" per say, but we do worry that the water table might be a little high in that area of our yard and cause the roots to rot. There's only one way to find out and that's to try planting there, so this year we're going to give it a go.
I started the seedlings inside last week for some of the veggies and the rest (carrots) I'll start directly in the ground once the soil is tilled (and the Farmer's Almanac says it's a good planting day!) next month. I really hope that if anything, we get some tomatoes this year so I can can them for homemade tomato sauce. The tomato blight in the Northeast last year wiped our plants out completely. This year's garden will be extra special if we can grow some vegetables that I can make into baby food for Mariela. I hope to make some of her first foods for her and will freeze them in ice cube trays in individual portion sizes.
This year's garden will include: tomatoes, corn, broccoli, green beans, carrots, squash, and pumpkin. My father-in-law is going to grow some Spanish peppers that my mother-in-law uses to flavor her Spanish rice and we also bought two raspberry bushes to plant in our yard as well. I hope to grow enough squash, pumpkin, beans, and carrots to feed Mariela and our family.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

10 Things Tuesday

I haven't had much time to post while caring for our little girl as she's keeping me busy. I can't believe how fast she is growing already, the hard work is totally worth it when you see that milky grin after a late night nursing session. Mariela even giggles in her sleep and it melts my heart every time I hear her happy. While she's napping and I actually have two hands free I'm going to share ten things I've learned so far since becoming a Mom. Warning: poop and other bodily functions mentioned. 10 Things I've learned Since Becoming A Mom:

10. Baby poop really does look like mustard in a breast fed baby. Not only that, projectile isn't just for vomit, it applies to poop, too. Just ask A.R! He was changing her diaper and got suprised by some projectile poop that covered the changing table and even hit the wall and started to drip down. I laughed, he yelped for help.

9. I've relearned how to type one-handed...darn that formal typing class in middle school...and it isn't easy with a baby snoozing in your other arm.

8. Breast feeding is the hardest, most rewarding, time consuming, and natural part of caring for my daughter. It hurts in the beginning, to the point that I was in tears several times in the first week as my nipples got toughened up. But, once you and baby learn to work comes naturally and I love sharing those special moments with her while feeding her the best possible food a newborn can receive.

7. My right boob produces less than my left and at first I thought it was defective. I have no idea why it produces less (maybe because I sleep on my right side??), but it is actually smaller than my left as well. I only know that it is producing less because I started pumping to build a freezer stash of milk for when I go back to work for Mariela in case my supply tanks. I started to freak out when I saw how little I was able to get while pumping from that side until I checked with my online breastfeeding chat room and found that it is normal for one breast to produce differently than the other.

6. Don't forget the diaper bag at home. Enough said.

5. A new mom really does forget the pains of labor once her little one is in her arms. A.R. and I have already discussed and set a time frame on when we plan on starting to try for baby #2. At first, I thought we were just delirious from the sleep deprivation to even have that conversation (I wasn't even the one to bring it up!). Now, I'm looking forward to expanding our family again.

4. If one more person tells me to sleep while the baby sleeps I'll go postal. Sleep deprivation is a funny thing, you actually get used to the half awake daze and it doesn't seem so bad after the 2nd or 3rd week. I DO nap when Mariela does in the early morning, but if I slept everytime she did I wouldn't get anything done including feeding myself.

3. Carrying a baby around is great for your arm and back muscles. Seriously...I don't think I need to worry about buying arm weights for my home gym!

2. Holding your little one in your arms while they snuggle up to you and sleep is the BEST feeling in the world and I can't stop kissing my daughter...on her chubby cheeks, her forehead, her nose, or on her tiny hands.

1. When your little one smiles at you the first time, it WILL melt your heart. I promise.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Mariela’s Birth Story


Mariela Joy arrived on Thursday, March 25th, at 3:10am.  She weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and measured 20 1/2 inches long.  Her Apgar scores were 8 and 9 and she is just perfect and the most beautiful newborn, but of course I’m biased being her Mommy. :)  Here is our birth story:

My mom flew into town on the 23rd, the day before my due date, from North Carolina to help out and hopefully be here for the birth.  She is now officially my good luck charm for starting labor!  I felt the first contractions at 3am on the 24th, but was able to get back to sleep after moving to the couch where it was easier on my sore pelvis.  They felt like intense period cramps low in my belly at this point.  When the dogs woke up to go outside at 6am there was no going back to sleep for me.

By now the contractions were more intense and coming regularly so I started timing them.  Alexi had a big project due at work that he was trying to complete before I had our baby girl, so I woke him up and told him he should probably log in and finish up or hand it off.  He ended up handing it off and calling out of work for the day around 8am when I’d been timing an hour and was having contractions every 7 1/2 minutes.  My mom woke up and we told her what was going on and she was super excited that she arrived just in time.

I had my 40 week appointment that day at 11:30am, so I was waiting for the office to open to call them to see if they wanted me to still come in or just wait and go to Labor & Delivery when it was time.  The doctor’s office ended up calling me at around 9:30am to ask if I could come in early because they had to do a C-section at my appointment time.  I explained what was happening and they told me to come in and get checked out, so we all showered and packed up the car and I gave my dogs a kiss goodbye in case they sent us right to the hospital.

When we arrived at the doctor’s I was still contracting every 7 1/2 minutes and having to stop and breathe through them and my mucus plug was starting to come out.  Sitting during the contractions wasn’t comfortable anymore.  I breathed through two contractions in the waiting room, totally freaking out several of the other pregnant women waiting, before they rushed me to the back to be checked out.  At the internal I was still only 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced.  Since I was contracting regularly the doctor did an NST in the office to make sure Mariela was handling the contractions okay and then gave me an ultrasound to make sure there was enough fluid.  She passed the NST and the ultrasound, although my fluid levels were high which we later learned could be a sign my water was going to break.

The doctor came in and told me I was definitely in early labor and that we should go home and eat a light lunch and start walking.  He then said it could be “a day or two” before I had her.  My response was, “or two?!  That is not an option!”.  So, we left the doctor’s office and decided to go to Hometown Buffet for lunch so my mom and Alexi could pig out in case they didn’t get a good dinner because I was at the hospital and then we were going to go to Sam’s to do some last minute shopping and walk.  Well, as we were walking into Hometown (Alexi literally had his hand on the door getting ready to open it!) I felt a gush and said, “Uh-oh”.  My mom thought it was another contraction, so she asked if she should be timing and I said, “nope, I think my water just broke.”  It was 12:45pm when I felt the first gush.  I stood there half freaking out because I was hungry and wanted lunch, but I was also a bit embarassed to go into the restaurant and walk to the bathroom on the other side to check things out.  At this point my pants weren’t wet yet, so we just went for it.

In the bathroom it appeared I was leaking, but it wasn’t a huge one, so we asked if we could get our food to go and were going to head home to wait it out.  I loaded up a to-go container with jello, mac ‘n cheese, grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, and carrots (all foods I wouldn’t mind throwing up if I got sick during labor) and we headed to the car.  While I was loading up my plate I had more contractions and the fluid kept leaking out a bit more.  At one point an older lady stopped to ask if I was ok and said I should be taking it easy!  HA, if she only knew!  When we got to the car Alexi called my doctor back and they said we should head to the hospital to be checked.  I had some puppy pads in the car that we put on the seat in case I leaked worse and I ate my Hometown food on the way to the hospital all while taking a break still every 7 minutes for a contraction. :)

We arrived at the ER and as I was getting out of the car the flood gates opened and my water broke completely.  My pants were soaked and it was warm and gross to wobble into the ER like that with my jeans sopping wet and fluid leaking into my flip flops.  The security guard saw us coming and looked grossed out.  He escorted my mom & I to the private L&D elevators all while giving me the side eye as I dripped amniotic fluid on the floor the whole way.  When we got to the 6th floor for L&D, the nurse saw me and knew who I was as our doctor had called ahead.  They saw my jeans and all the residents came to see what they called a “gross water rupture”.  I guess it isn’t all that common for laboring women to walk in there with their water already broken completely.  I was filling out a few forms confirming our insurance and our pediatrician while still leaking during every contraction.  At one point I was signing papers and looked down to see fluid dripping by my feet.  Finally, they took me to my L&D room to get me set up.

The nurse and I discussed my pain med desires (nothing or an epidural for me) and I was hooked to the monitors for a bit.  Since my water was now broken, they didn’t want to recheck me often due to risk of infection and since I was just at the doctor’s office they let me labor on.  After awhile, the nurses shift changed and I got a new nurse.  The first nurse was a sweetheart and was going to be on the Post Partum ward the next day, so she said she’d check in on us.  The new nurse helped me get up and walk around by hooking me up to the battery monitors for the baby.  Alexi and I spent some time walking the halls (hearing two women give birth with screams- I vowed not to be a screamer!) and then went back to the room so I could labor on the birthing ball.  At 3pm I was checked again, but I was still only 2 cm and now 80% effaced.  The doctor came by and said if I hadn’t dilated more in a few more hours they would start Pitocin since my water had been ruptured awhile now.

At 6pm, I was checked again with still no progress so I was hooked up with Pitocin.  I was nervous about taking the Pitocin because I heard it could make contractions intense and so far I was doing well with laboring on my own and breathing through the contractions without any meds.  I continued to labor on the birthing ball or while standing up and rocking back and forth.  At one point I was just moving around my room and would lean on Alexi during the contractions.  We had one of those hand-held vibrating back massagers that was a huge help during my back labor.  Gradually, the contractions were getting more and more intense, but I labored on without meds until 9pm when all hell broke loose.

I was sitting on the birthing ball and felt a pop and then I had the most intense contraction yet.  I stood up, but no position provided me any relief.  After that contraction ended I had another right on top of it.  The pain was so intense through my whole belly and wrapped around to my back.  When the next contraction hit I lost it…I started sobbing and was bent over the bed begging for the epidural. Alexi was holding me and rubbing by back with the back massager, but as the contractions peaked I didn’t want to be touched at all.  The nurse came right away and ordered the epi for me and said they’d wait to check me until after it was done.  She asked if I felt an urge to push, but I didn’t yet…the contractions were just so intense and one on top of the other.  I tried to go to the bathroom to avoid a catheter for awhile and it was brutal contracting the whole time.  I kept sobbing asking where my “f’n drugs were” and I couldn’t sit still through the pain.  No positions helped ease it at this point.

At 9:30pm I got my epi and it was heaven.  Sitting still through the contractions was almost unbearable while they put it in.  Alexi held me and the nurse and him helped me breathe through them, but it didn’t really ease the pain at all.  I had to be stuck twice as the first stick hit a blood vessel and sitting still even longer was excrutiating.  Finally, the epi was in and I started to get some relief.  At first I could still feel the contractions in my pubic bone area, but eventually the meds kicked in completely and I was able to rest.  The doctor checked my progress and I was now at 4cm.  From here, things moved a bit quicker with the dilating.  By 10:30 I was 6 cm (2 whole centimeters in an hour!) but she still hadn’t dropped down past –1 station.

The nurses shift changed again around 11pm and before my new nurse introduced herself, all of a sudden my room was filled with nurses and residents.  Mariela’s heart rate had dropped significantly and wasn’t recovering.  They had me flip from side to side and reposition to try and bring it up again.  It turns out when I laid on my left side it seemed to be compressing her cord, so I had to labor the rest of the time on my right side.  My mom heard one of the nurses asking if they should grab the scrubs for Alexi and it wasn’t until later we realized how close to an emergency c-section I was at that point.  We were very worried for awhile.  Thankfully, the doctor was patient and was all for letting me continue with a vaginal birth provided her heart rate stayed up.  At this point they put in a catheter just in case I did end up in a C-section.

At 12:30am I was checked again and I was 9 1/2 cm dilated and fully effaced.  The doctor and nurses let us rest for a bit longer to try and wait for the last of my cervix to dilate instead of trying to push through it.  By 2am I was starting to feel a lot of pressure and the urge to push, so they got ready to check me again.  At 2:40pm I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing.  I felt all the pushing and pain down below, but the nurse said it was normal as the epi doesn’t reach there.  I pushed for a few contractions and the doctors started to set up for Mariela’s arrival and put their scrubs on.  Before I knew it, the doctor said with one more push her head would be born!  I was so tired and hungry I remember thinking, “holy crap, already?!”.  It felt like I only pushed through a half dozen contractions before she was born.  In between contractions, I would just lie back with my eyes closed and rest while catching my breath from pushing.  The next contraction came and I started pushing.  Alexi was encouraging me along and then he said, “Oh my God hon, I see her, I see her hair! She has hair!”  and then, “Oh my gosh, she’s here, she’s here…I see her head!”.

At this point the doctors made me stop pushing as they discovered the cord was wrapped tightly around Mariela’s neck which was why her heart rate was so finicky on the monitors.  The doctor had to cut it right away and it actually squirted the nurse to my left, got me a little, and hit the ceiling!  Not pushing for that brief period was excruciating.  I tried blowing through it, but it did nothing to ease the intense urge and pressure to push.  Finally, they had her all suctioned and I was able to push her shoulders out and at 3:10am on March 25th, Mariela Joy was born!!  I had such intense back pain and pressure because she was posterior or born sunny side up!

They laid her on my chest very briefly and I was able to touch her, but it kind of grossed me out a little because she was still dirty from being born.  Then, they whisked her away to the incubator as she still had fluid in her chest they wanted to drain out.  For awhile they worked on her and I couldn’t see, but then I heard her sweet cry and she was fine.  The pediatrician came to be sure she was doing okay and she got an 8 and a 9 on her Apgars.  In the meantime, I was getting stitched up from a 2nd degree tear from an episiotomy (I saw the scissors they used to do it, EEK!).  After I was stitched up I delivered the placenta and this is where it got scary again.

The doctors were having a hard time stopping the bleeding and my uterus was slow to contract back down to size.  At first I didn’t realize what was happening and then I saw the doctors’ (I had a resident and a doctor working on me) hands emerging from my girly parts covered in blood as they massaged my belly.  The massaging actually hurt bad enough for me to groan as they rubbed my belly, and when I saw the blood on both doctors hands I panicked and started crying.  (sorry if TMI, but…) I could hear the blood drop into the hazard bin below me when they took their hands out from massaging me internally, there was so much.  Alexi saw what was happening and left Mariela’s side to come hold my hand and help me remain calm, but I was terrified.  The regular doctor stepped in and the resident (Dr. Uma- who was a sweet heart) was reassuring me. 

They both kept alternating massaging me internally and externally to get the bleeding to stop.  They had to give me an extra IV bag of medicine called Cytotec and a suppository that would help stop the bleeding.  I also got another shot in my IV of some medicine that would make my heart flutter, but would help my uterus clamp down.  Finally, the bleeding subsided and we could breathe a sigh of relief.  I was able to hold Mariela after they weighed and measured her.  I had to have a whole new bag of Pitocin to continue to help my uterus clamp down, so I was on an IV until Thursday night.  Once I was moved to the Post Partum wing the nurses checked me often to make sure the bleeding was still in control. 

And there you have it!  Our birth story…despite the 9 months of pregnancy, the swollen ankles, intense pelvic pain from 6 months pregnant onward, the scary parts of labor and delivery, and the pain, I would do it all again tomorrow.  Isn’t it funny how fast you forget everything once you see those tiny eyes looking up at you and hold her in your arms?!  Happy Birthday Mariela!