Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Natural Birth Plan

If you've been reading the blog for awhile, you know that I elected for a natural birth (i.e. no pain meds) with Will. My mom delivered both my sister and I naturally, so it's something I've always wanted to do too.

I had a very easy labor and delivery with Will. I was in active labor at the hospital for about three hours, and he was born after just 25 minutes of pushing. I attribute this to being very fit throughout pregnancy, as well as pure luck.

I don't presume to think that a natural labor is right for everyone, but I have had some people ask me how we wrote our natural birth plan. Our plan is based largely on the Bradley Method, and strives to advocate preferences instead of demands. Our birth plan helps Ben and I know what we're self-advocating for, and ensures our medical team is on the same page. But a plan is just that... a plan. It's a guideline, not a mandate, so we try and be open to the fact that things may need modified in the moment. 

A copy of our birth plan (below) is in my chart, but we will also bring copies with us to the hospital. We give a print copy of the birth plan to our nurse when we're admitted, along with small gift to thank him/her for their involvement in our child's birth (we brought chocolates for the nurses when we had Will).

Baby Girl ***** Birth Plan
Parents: Ben and Samantha *****
Estimated Due Date: April 18, 2013
Physician: Dr. *****
Hospital: *****

We desire a labor and birth that results in a healthy outcome for baby and mother. We would prefer:
    To have a vaginal delivery over cesarean
    To have as few medications and other medical interventions as possible
    To have as much freedom of movement and position as possible during labor, including during the pushing stage
    To use intermittent FHM, ideally only during initial admission. If continuous FHM is deemed medically necessary, we’d prefer to use a portable or wireless fetal heart monitor
    That labor augmentation techniques not be used
    That the membranes not be ruptured artificially
    To allow Sam to push with the urge
    That pain medication is not offered
    To risk a tear to the perineum rather than have an episiotomy
    To allow the placenta to deliver naturally (without cord traction)

If medically possible, we would prefer:
    To hold and bond with our child (skin-to-skin) immediately after birth
    To delay cord clamping and cutting until after the cord has stopped pulsating
    To initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, including in the recovery room in the case of cesarean delivery
    That no eye ointment or eye medication be administered to our child
    To delay standard newborn procedures and tests until after the initial breastfeeding and bonding
    For at least one parent to be present for all medical procedures
    That no bottles, pacifiers, artificial nipples, formula or water be given to our child at any time during our hospital stay without our consent

Above all else, we appreciate your care and expertise. 
Thank you for your role in our child’s birth.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day By Day

Thank you to everyone who took the time to email me or respond on Facebook to my prior post. I was feeling so defeated, and your support made all the difference.

Wednesday was a really bad day. But it was just one day. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and today, Will has been awesome. Some strong toddler preferences, sure, but nothing like the epic meltdowns we had earlier in the week.

It's a good reminder that one day doesn't make you or break you as a parent. I want to continue pushing myself to be the best mom I can be, but there will be hard days along the way. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint.

Doing my best to take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some days I wish I was a better mother

I'm at my wits end. I'm not sure if it's because he's two, or because I'm seven months pregnant, but everything has been a battle lately.

He doesn't want to change his diaper.

He doesn't want to wear either of those shirts.

He doesn't want to get undressed for swimming class.

He doesn't want to put on a jacket.

He doesn't want to sit in his chair for lunch.

He doesn't want to get in the car.

Sigh. And the list goes on and on.

I know each of these things sounds relatively minor. But each "doesn't want to" results in an epic battle: parent (setting the limit) vs. toddler (pushing the boundaries). Some things I'm learning to loosen up on (Do I really care whether he wants to wear his blue and brown sweater for the the third consecutive day? Probably not.) But other things are non-negotiable (Sorry, but we need to wear a swimsuit for swim lessons).

Ben and I try to be super consistent. We offer choices. We let him know what's coming up next so he'll feel prepared. We provide clear and simple instructions. We listen and empathize with his emotions. We follow-through with reasonable consequences when his behavior doesn't meet expectations.

And yet, he's pushing limits (and buttons) day in and day out. Our days are peppered with tantrums and tears (from both of us). I'm frustrated. And exhausted. So I can't help but wonder...

Am I failing him in some way?

I read books and blogs about the ways to guide more cooperative toddler behavior. Limits, choices, consistency, etc. We're doing everything we can to provide firm and loving guidance. And yet, here we are.

I find myself wondering... is this his personality? A phase? Something we're doing or not doing? I struggle with saying "he's just two" as we know plenty of two and three year olds who manage to listen, cooperate and peacefully co-exist with their parents.

I'm at a loss. Right now our plan is to stay the course (clear direction, consistent limits, reasonable consequences) and hope something clicks in his cute little brain. But if you have any other suggestions, I'm listening.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A letter to our daughter

This is a letter I wrote to BG on December 2, 2012, the night we found it she was going to be a girl...

Dear Baby Girl,

Tonight is Mama and Daddy's anniversary... six years. To celebrate, we went out to dinner and asked the restaurant to make us a pink or blue dessert to reveal your gender. It was a delicious meal, but the dessert (a pink cannoli) was truly sweet. I can't believe we'll be welcoming you, our daughter, in just a few short months.

We've been calling you BG (short for Baby Girl) since the first trimester. I had a feeling you were a girl early on, as this pregnancy has been so much different than the pregnancy with your brother. Simply put: I felt awful. It was a really rough ten weeks for me and you. I was nauseous and exhausted virtually all day and night. But as my second trimester approached (14 weeks) it was like a switch flipped... almost overnight I stopped feeling sick and had my energy back! Since then, this pregnancy has been an absolute joy.

Although we didn't learn your gender until tonight (Sunday), we got to see you at your 20 week ultrasound this past Wednesday. We got several photos from the ultrasound tech, and I simply can't stop staring at your beautiful face. You have such delicate little features... cute button nose, sweet rose bud lips. I can't wait to shower you with snuggles and kisses when you arrive in April.

Undoubtedly, the greatest blessing is that you're healthy. You have a strong heart, with four chambers and blood flowing smoothly throughout. Your kidneys are working, and your brain looks "beautiful" according to the ultrasound tech. I'm so thankful to know you're growing healthy and strong.

I started feeling your kicks and movements a few weeks ago, but they've been much more muffled and sporadic than what I remember with your brother. It turns out, the placenta is on the front of my uterus this time, meaning there's a thicker cushion between the two of us. I usually feel you moving around a few times a day though, which is such a joy. Even though this is our second pregnancy, I can't believe how new and magical everything feels again. You are such an incredible miracle.

Daddy, Will and I love you so much. We can't wait to meet you in a few short months.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Will's Big Boy Room

In November, we moved Will from his crib to a twin bed. Which was basically just an excuse to totally redo his room.  :)

I don't really like rooms that are too "theme-y", but I wanted some sort of cohesive element throughout the decor. In selecting pieces for his new space, I found myself being drawn to nautical elements like boats, anchors and the color navy. So I ran with it...

Big boy bed
Burlap pennant
Reading nook

I really love the way the space turned out. The bed (no longer available in white) was a bit of a splurge, but the quality is exceptional. Seriously, this thing will easily last though two kids.

I found the duvet cover at West Elm (no longer available), and ordered the artwork from Etsy. The anchor pillow and the burlap name pennant came from a darling little shop I visited while in Louisville.

Arguably the coolest part of his room is the reading nook. I first saw the concept on Pinterest and immediately fell in love. The shelves (actually spice racks from Ikea) came in a natural pine color, but we painted them white to match the other furniture.

Will had been sleeping in a converted crib since he was 19 months old, so the transition to the twin bed was no big thing. For a few days prior we talked about how he would be getting a new bed and new room. The evening of the big transition, he had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's so we could get everything ready. When we got home the next day, he immediately climbed into his new bed and asked to be covered up. After pretending to go to sleep, he got up, announced "it's morning!" and proceeded to his reading nook to read a few books. It's been smooth sailing (and many restful nights) ever since.

One thing that I believe helped with the overall transition was completely disassembling his crib and putting it in the basement. We didn't want Will to feel like he was getting kicked out of his crib or that the baby "took" his bed, so we felt it was important to remove the crib completely, essentially removing it as a sleeping option. It would have been way easier to just move the crib into the spare room, but we wanted it out of sight and out of mind. Hopefully when we bring the crib back upstairs for BG's nursery, he won't even remember that it was his.

UPDATE: I've had a couple of people ask about the bumpers on Will's bed. You'll notice we didn't do an external bedrail (I personally hate the way they look), but we didn't want to risk Will rolling out of bed every night. Instead, we elected to use these soft bumpers. They go between the mattress pad and the fitted sheet. They're soft enough for him to climb over comfortably, but keep him contained while he's sleeping. We love them... highly recommend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A plague on our household

Sigh. As I posted yesterday, I'm recovering from acute bronchitis, which has all but wiped my pregnant body out. Its been rough, but I was starting to think a healthier household was in our future.

Then last night, Will started vomiting.

Things all went to hell during dinner. Will said he was hungry, but he'd vomit everything up within 10 minutes of eating. Poor baby couldn't keep anything down. Not bland foods. Not even water.  I think this is the first time I have ever put him to bed without something in his tummy.

He's not running a fever, and was acting like himself between episodes of vomiting, but it's heart breaking to see such a tiny person sick. His little body would wretch and he'd look at me with tears in his eyes, seemingly pleading "Why, Mama?"

Incredibly, at age (almost) 2 1/2, this is the first time Will has ever vomited. Ever. I consider this somewhat of a victory, but as Ben noted, the "barf badge" is a parenting honor we weren't eager to earn.

Never having dealt with a puking child, I honestly wasn't sure how I'd handle it. But at one point last night, with his vomit on my sweater and in my hair, catching puke in a hand towel as I reassured him and rubbed his back, I was struck by the unlimited and unconditional love I have for this child. The lengths I would and will go to for him continue to astound me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sick and Pregnant

There is nothing worse than being sick while you're pregnant.

Ben, Will and I all had the flu over Christmas, which socked us with aches, chills, fever and cough for about a week. We were all on the mend (finally), but my cough came back with a vengeance late last week.

All the coughing was making it difficult to sleep, so I visited my doc on Monday. They diagnosed me with acute bronchitis and gave me an IV in the office to get my fluids up.

Thanks to Ben, I've been resting a lot and starting to feel better. But I can't help but worry what all this stress on my body is doing to poor BG. She's kicking like crazy (and fine I'm sure), but I hate thinking that anything could affect her healthy growth and development.

So I rest. And worry. And try to eat especially healthy to counteract the illness. But as my friend Nicole so aptly pointed out on Monday, being sick just takes all the fun out of being pregnant.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pregnancy 2.0

Perhaps the biggest news since I stopped blogging in May: we're expecting again! We're due in April 2013 with a beautiful baby girl. Here are all the details on pregnancy 2.0, including finding out, the first trimester, the gender reveal, and more.

Finding Out

I had been at a conference in Louisville for four days and just didn't feel "right". I was really tired and not feeling that hot, which I attributed to traveling.

After I got home I couldn't shake the feeling that something was off, and over breakfast I said to Ben: "I bet you I'm pregnant." On my way to work that morning I had to pull over to dry heave, which pretty much confirmed my suspicions. Sure enough, a home pregnancy test later that evening was positive!

Oh, hello there!

To be honest, I was excited, but a bit freaked. I was thrilled we were having another baby, but getting pregnant wasn't supposed to happen until after I graduated in December. I still had my last semester of graduate school ahead of me, not to mention two demanding part-time jobs. Another lesson in having to go the flow... it turns out I can't plan everything!

The First Trimester

After my easy-breezy pregnancy with Will, I was shocked by how awful I felt this time around. I was exhausted and nauseous 24/7. I remember being tired with Will, but not like this. There were many days I would shut Will and I in his room and take a nap on the floor while he played. I physically couldn't keep my eyes open!

Then there was the morning sickness. Or all-day sickness as Ben liked to call it. I realize now how fortunate I was in my pregnancy with Will. It's still amazing to me how I managed to function. I very rarely vomited, but I was nauseous constantly. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I pretty much existed on saltine crackers and water, as I couldn't stomach anything else. But just as quickly as it came, the sickness subsided seemingly overnight around week 13. Since then, I've been feeling great!

The Gender Reveal

Ben and I debated not finding out the gender this time around, but ultimately we wanted to help Will prepare for a brother or a sister. Right or wrong, we felt that being able to share the gender with him might help with explaining the pregnancy and the big changes that would be coming to our family.

We both suspected it was a girl early on, since my pregnancy had been so different. As a result, we started calling baby "BG" and "Beej" (short for Baby Girl) in my first trimester. I was eager to find out out the gender, but I was much more anxious about the ultrasound this time around. When I was pregnant with Will, I didn't fully realize all they were really looking at in the ultrasound (heart, brain, spine, overall development). I was just excited to go in for a peek at my baby! The second time around, your child feels so much more "real" than the first. You've done the parenting gig, and know first-hand just how precious and amazing their little lives are. Fortunately, she's perfectly healthy (and totally adorable)...
BG - 20 Weeks

The 20 week ultrasound was right before our six year wedding anniversary, so we decided to have the ultrasound tech write the gender in an envelope for us to open at our anniversary dinner. But instead of just opening the envelope at the table, we asked the chef to make us a pink or blue dessert to reveal the baby's gender. It was a really fun evening, and we were over the moon when a little pink cannoli arrived at our table...

It's a girl!

The Third Trimester and Beyond

I start my third trimester soon, which is just crazy. I can't believe how quickly things are going. As is the life of a second child though... they will never be your sole focus!

We've started throwing around ideas for girl names... Emma, Olivia, Norah and Charlotte currently top our list. The middle name will be either Frances or Louise, after my mom.

I hope to start on the nursery at the end of the month... we've been putting it off because we will no longer have a guest bedroom. We're going with a yellow and gray theme, which has been a lot of fun to pull pieces for. I find myself being drawn to a lot of bird decor (like this piece and this piece), so it will be interesting to see how it all comes together.

We've also been reading up on ways to prepare Will for BG's arrival. We got some books on being a big brother, and I've been reviewing ways to "introduce" siblings in the hospital. If you've done this before and have any tips, I'd greatly appreciate them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bump Watch 2.0

This pregnancy has been flying by! I can hardly believe my third trimester starts at the end of the month. Here's how we've been growing...

12 Weeks - October 2012

16 Weeks - November 2012

20 Weeks - December 2012

24 Weeks - January 2013

Ugh, I feel so huge in that last photo. I'm carrying much higher and much wider this time around. The profile shots look about the same as my pregnancy with Will, but I feel like there's just more belly in the front.

I'm not nearly as active this pregnancy, which I attribute to my terrible morning sickness and being pregnant through the winter. Unfortunately, this means my weight gain has been more rapid... I'm up 20 pounds as of my last OB appointment. They assure me this is within the normal range, but I'm still trying to get to the gym more consistently.

I was really fit throughout my pregnancy with Will, which I believe helped with his (relatively) easy labor and delivery. At this point in my pregnancy, I like walking, stationary biking and modified yoga. But chasing after a two year-old, I often have trouble finding time to get to the gym. If it was nicer, Will and I could go for walks or head to the playground, but it's been way to cold. Any suggestions on incorporating more exercise into our day?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm baaaaack!

If I'm popping up in your blog reader... surprise! After a 6+ month hiatus, I've decided to resurrect the blog.

Turns out, I really missed this whole blogging gig. Specifically, I missed writing about my kid. About parenting. About pregnancy. I missed recording my joys, frustrations, challenges and triumphs. Perhaps most importantly, I missed writing it all down so I could actually remember it.

So I'm back.  :)

There have been many changes in our lives since my last post. We're expecting another baby (a girl!). Will started and stopped preschool (more on that soon). I only have one part-time job now instead of two (priorities, people). I graduated with my master's degree (no more homework!).

I feel like I have so much to tell you. We'll get caught up and re-aquainted in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, I missed you!