Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Month Old!

Yesterday was Olivia's one month birthday! So of course we celebrated by having a photoshoot. As you can see, Andrew is a sweet and loving big brother :) We'll get updated stats on Olivia at her check-up tomorrow.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Settling In

It's been three weeks today that we've been home with Olivia. It's strange, but Carl and I agree that it's already hard to remember what our life was like before she arrived. Perhaps sleep was a little easier to come by and the logistics for doing just about everything were simpler, but I'd say we're settling in to our new family of four (six, really, counting the four legged furry ones) and learning what it means to be caring for a newborn while chasing after a two year old.  I have to say I think we're managing quite well so far, but we have had a fair amount of help in various ways.

We made it through our first week with my mom's help. She did a lot of cooking (thank goodness because I was pretty much constantly ravenous)and a lot of errands too. Keeping Andrew entertained was also a huge help. I know she was exhausted by the end of the week!  My dad and his wife, Susan, were then here for a coupe of days and they also did a good job keeping Andrew busy. He had a great time running around the mall and playing horsey and marching band with them.

There were also visits from my brother and sister-in-law. Andrew always has fun playing with Uncle Bubba and Auntie Amy...and I enjoy the opportunity to catch up with them too :).  Nicky came down for a couple of days as well and helped stock our freezer with some tasty meals. She also played with Andrew at a playground while I took Olivia in for a weight check (back to birth weight a day before 2 weeks!). I also have to mention the visit from two of my best friends this past Friday. It made my week to get to see Claire and Sarah (and Oskar!) and introduce them to Olivia.

The other great help we've been receiving has been from the awesome moms and dads that we know from playgroup and preschool. They have been taking turns bringing meals over for us for the last two weeks (not sure exactly when our last delivery is!). It has been so great not having to worry about what we're having for dinner each night and also fun to see what everyone brings over. I've also enjoyed the chance to catch up a little with these friends since we haven't been to playgroup since Olivia's birth. Having such a supportive group of families around us and offering whatever help we may need reiterates to me how important it is to have a network of positive friends. I feel a strong sense of community with this group and am so happy to be a part of it!

So despite the lack of sleep and extended time it takes to prepare to go anywhere, life is good. With all of these amazing people in our lives, we have much to be thankful for this on Thanksgiving this Thursday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Olivia's Birth Story

Today was my official due date. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been home with Olivia for over a week already (though I had a feeling that “Baby X” would be born early and would be a girl. I’m claiming mother’s intuition.)! In honor of my due date, I thought I’d share Olivia’s birth story.

Having had an induced labor with Andrew, I had no idea what to expect this time around.  Would labor start spontaneously or would I need interventions for one reason or another?  Of course, I hoped that labor would start on its own, and it did.  I had been having contractions for a couple of weeks so I was a little anxious every time I started to notice the tight feeling in my belly.  There was no regular pattern of contractions until the Thursday before Olivia arrived.  I started noticing the contractions that afternoon, and while not painful, I was able to time them and see that they were coming about every 8 minutes.  After a few hours of timing and no change in frequency or discomfort, I decided it would be best to try to ignore the contractions until they became uncomfortable enough that I had to pay attention.  The contractions continued throughout the day on Friday so I tried to keep busy to take my mind off the possibility that our baby was coming soon.  By Friday evening, I wasn’t feeling much in the way of contractions, so I went to bed as usual.  When I woke up for a bathroom trip, I started feeling that tightness again.  After I lay back down, I realized the tight feeling was coming regularly and was more uncomfortable than it had been the past 2 days. I timed the contractions for awhile and they ranged from about 5-8 minutes apart and weren’t getting more intense.  I figured I would need my rest (regardless of whether baby was coming or not!) so I tried to go back to sleep.  When I woke a few hours later (around 6:50 AM), I felt a strange sensation followed by warm fluid.  I jumped up from the bed and ran to the bathroom.  Sure enough, my water had broken.

I tried to wake Carl gently, but I think his reaction of springing up in bed with a racing heart is probably normal when a wife tells her husband that her water broke.  We called the hospital to tell them we’d be heading over soon and Carl’s parents so they could come take care of Andrew.  We got to the hospital around 8 AM and checked into a triage room so a nurse could see how far I had progressed.  I was already dilated to about 5cm and they moved me to a labor and delivery room.  Once we were moved, the contractions started coming closer together and became more intense.  After a couple of laps around the floor, I told the nurse I was ready for the epidural. I had a few pretty intense contractions while the anesthesiologist got the epidural ready and placed, but I quickly felt relief when she was finished.  My legs became completely numb which was a super strange feeling (I still had some feeling after the epidural with Andrew). The nurse checked me again and I was dilated to 7cm and she said she didn’t think it would be too long before I’d be ready to push.

I rested comfortably for a couple of hours (the movie “Hot Fuzz” was on and kept us entertained).  I did some practice pushed with the nurse starting around 3 PM and she called the doctor in to deliver our baby and told us that baby had lots of hair.  The doctor came in and after a few more contractions, Olivia entered our world. It is such an amazing feeling seeing your child for the first time.  Nothing can quite compare to those first seconds.  The doctor told Carl to announce the sex of the baby and because of the way the cord was wrapped around, he said “It’s a girl…I think!” After a quick double check, we knew we had a daughter and we smiled at each other and cried some happy tears. The nurse allowed Olivia to stay cuddled with me for about the first 45 minutes of her life, and I am so thankful to have had that immediate opportunity to hold her and nurse her. 

Eventually it was time to get Olivia cleaned up and get her measurements and time for me to have something to eat.  I was STARVING!  I ate a sandwich and some veggies and was feeling good.  I even made a couple of quick phone calls to share the news.  Then I started feeling hot and nauseous and proceeded to get sick.  My fist thought was that I just ate too much, too fast.  But then I started feeling woozy and was seeing stars.  The nurse quickly laid me back down (my legs were still numb) and checked my bleeding.  As she pushed down on my belly, I could feel the gush of blood and knew that wasn’t a good thing.  She called the doctor and started pitocin to help my uterus contract down and gave me 2 shots of something to help stop the bleeding.  When the doctor came in, he said there was still too much bleeding and he needed to take me back to the OR for a procedure to get it to stop.  Everyone around us worked quickly, but calmly, which I think helped Carl and I both stay as calm as we could. 

The next part is a bit of a blur because I was feeling so bad and was a little freaked out about going into surgery.  My epidural had been removed so I had to go under general anesthesia.  I think if I had been awake for the procedure, I would have really been scared, so sleeping through it was probably a good thing.  I vaguely remember waking up in recovery and barely being able to open my eyes.  Carl came in with Olivia so I could feed her, with his help and the help of a nurse because I was so weak.  I was brought back to the labor and delivery room for the night and the nurse checked on my frequently to make sure the bleeding remained under control.

In the morning, the doctor came in and said he wanted to give me some blood because I had lost so much (a third of my blood – gone!).  I signed the papers to get started and continued resting for the day while the 3 units of blood were transfused.  My mom arrived at the hospital in the early afternoon, followed by my dad and his wife a little later.  I was happy to see them all and know they wanted to see for themselves that I was recovering.  Andrew was finally able to come visit with Carl’s parents later in the afternoon as well.  He seemed put off by me being in bed with IV’s attached to both arms, but he had fun visiting with all the grandparents.  By the time the third unit of blood was finished, I rapidly noticed improvement in how I was feeling.  I could open my eyes and carry a conversation and even sat up without feeling like was going to pass out.

We were moved to a post partum room that evening (Sunday) and expected I probably wouldn’t be released until Tuesday.  My vitals were so much better by the morning that the doctor said I could go home that day if I felt up to it.  I spent most of the day resting in the hospital, but was ready to be back home that afternoon. 

I am still amazed by how quickly I have been able to recover.  I was still fairly weak for a couple of days and tired as all new parents are.  Thankfully, the rest of my body is cooperating by not feeling too sore or achy.  I have been more comfortable moving around than I was after Andrew’s birth.  There is definitely something to be said for being in good health before and during pregnancy because you never know what could happen.

Sweet big brother
So, we’ve been home for a little over a week and everyone is doing well.  Olivia eats and sleeps very well and makes plenty of wet and dirty diapers for us to change.  Andrew has been a great big brother so far.  He likes to hold Olivia (with our help) and gets worried when she cries (“my baby sister…”).  He was also protective of her when his friends at school came close to look at her.  I am sure we will have sibling rivalry at times, but we are off to a great start! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome Olivia Jean!

On Saturday, October 29th, we welcome our baby girl, Olivia, into the world. She has been a wonderful baby so far and we are excited to watch her grow!

I'll be writing about her birth in a separate post as soon as I have a chance...