Friday, March 29, 2013

Nerdy Girl Nursery

While we're not 100% finished, we're enough finished that I'm ready to share some photos of Betty's nursery.

This is basically your view as you walk in the door.  The room is huge, it's the largest bedroom in our house, so my mom and I decided that the crib totally worked just sitting in the middle of the room, so there it is!  The decals on the wall are hard to explain, but the orange one on the right is custom art, drawn just for me and Betty, by the artist of the other two characters.  The decals are each 4 feet tall.

Please forgive how horrible the lighting is.  It's hard to get good shots in a room with three windows that each face a different direction.

This is the bulk of her growing stuffy collection.  Don't worry, she's not sleeping in the crib yet, and they'll all come out when she does.  The blanket was made by one of JP's coworkers.

A shot of the mobile.  I kind of made it myself, in that the stuffies came from elsewhere, and I attached them to the mobile after removing what was already there.

Her changing table with some pretties that her Nana bought for her.

A closer shot of the crib.

Nana painted the dresser (which was mine, growing up) and made the blocks that are sitting on top of it.  She forgot to bring the handles during her last visit, so they'll go on in a couple of days when she comes back again.

I love how the closet door turned out.

This is just and end table that I picked up at a thrift store, likewise with the lamp.  I bought the Cabbage Patch on a whim a few years ago, as they were a big deal when I was a kid, and I couldn't resit.  Ignore the junk on the left side, it's mostly the box for the baby monitor.

A closer shot of two of the decals

This was a dresser that we just had laying around, unused.  Nana painted it the nursery colors, and I think it turned out really well!  On top are more of the stuffy collection.

I really love the windows and the valances.  The valances were the inspiration for almost everything else in the room, especially the color choices.  My rocking recliner is eventually going to go where the stroller is, but it's residing in my bedroom for the time being.

My collection of Beatrix Potter figures are going to go on one of the remaining empty walls, on some cute shelves that have been painted to patch the various colors.  I'll be sure to post pictures of that once they're up!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Betty Jean's Birth Story

It has taken me almost 5 weeks to get this down, but I'd better do it while I still remember.  It already feels like a blur.

We all know that I didn't get a chance to go in to labor naturally.  We were scheduled to go in to the hospital on 2/19 at 6 pm, so to the hospital we went.  We were taking to a labor and delivery room, where I was instructed to get undressed and get settled into the (extremely uncomfortable) L&D bed.  At around 7 or 7:30, my OB came and inserted the Cervidil.  They refer to it as a "balloon", but it's really just a long, wide string with a slightly wider bit at the end, where I assume the medicine resides.  They hooked me up to the contraction and heart rate monitors, as well as a blood pressure cuff, and told me to get some rest/sleep.  Yeah, right.

I don't remember exactly when the contractions started, but it wasn't too long after.  They were never regular, even as the morning approached.  I'd have one per minute for 15 minutes, and then none for 45 minutes.  Between the contractions, the monitors, the horribly, horribly uncomfortable bed, I didn't get a single wink of sleep.  I spent the next 12 hours flipping channels on the TV and trying to zone out and ignore all of the discomfort I was in.  JP, however, was able to fall sound asleep on the couch.  He was sour at me, later, for letting him sleep while I sat there awake all night.  But, honestly, one of us may as well have gotten some rest!

The nurse came in and checked on me fairly regularly.  In fact, I'm going to pause the story here for a second and compliment every single medical professional that I dealt with over the course of my stay.  They were all AMAZING and wonderful.  From the nurses to the CNAs to the doctors and anesthesiologists.  Every single one of them was outstanding.

They had asked me, early on, if I wanted to go ahead and plan on having an epidural in the morning.  At that point, I was still laboring under the delusion that I might be able to tolerate all of the discomfort without drugs.  I at least wanted to see what it was going to feel like before I decided.  By 7 am, they had started the Pitocin, and I was ready to be numb from the waist down.  I went ahead asked for the epidural.  The anesthesiologist was busy with a schedule cesarean at 7 am, but would be by afterward.  At around 8:30, he was there.  He was amazing.  He was very gentle, and explained every little thing that he was doing.  Despite everyone claiming that the local anesthetic was the worst part, I barely felt it.  The worst part for me was trying to hold the position, bent over to open up the spinal column, but I think that's just because I'm rather short, and I HATED THAT BED.  The relief was almost instantaneous.  If you has asked me at that moment, I would have proclaimed an epidural as the best invention ever.

Very shortly afterward, the OB was back again and broke my water.  After all that time, I had only dilated to 2.5 cm.  All of that fluid escaping me while being numb from the epidural was a rather bizarre feeling.  At this point my OB also noticed that there was some meconium in the fluid.  By itself, not something to be terribly concerned about, I was told.

Over the next 3 hours or so, I napped a little, I visited with my mother-in-law a little, I talked on the phone to my mother, who was en-route, I watched some more TV, and tried to relax.  Then my baby's heart rate started to elevate.  They put me in various different positions to see if that would calm her down.  Left side, right side, sitting up, they also tried putting me on oxygen.  Nothing seemed to help.  I overheard a serious-sounding phone call with the OB on-call and my nurse.

By Noon-ish, the on-call OB was there, proclaiming that it was time to get the baby out.  Between her elevated heart rate and the meconium in the fluid, it was better to be safe that sorry.  Everything happened so fast at this point.  I had started to be very scared by the time they were putting the oxygen mask on my face, by this point I was completely terrified, not for myself, but for my little girl.  My mother had not yet arrived, even though she was very close.  By 12:05 or so, I was in the operating room, having my epidural re-dosed, being reassured by the on-call OB, my OB, and waiting for JP to be instructed by the on-call pediatrician and putting on scrubs.  I have never been so terrified in my entire life.  I relaxed a little once JP was seated by my head.  His presence made all the difference in the world.

I felt a lot of pressure, a lot of tugging, but no pain.  At 12:21 pm, on 2/20, my daughter entered the world.  very shortly after that moment, I heard her cry for the first time.  I burst in to tears.  It was the sweetest sound I have ever heard.  She weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces, was 19 inches long, and absolutely perfect and healthy.  After they checked her and wiped her off, they brought her over to me so I could see her and give her a kiss.  So beautiful.  I then had an hour's worth of being closed up, so JP went out with Betty Jean, and I promptly fell to sleep, confidant that everything was finally going to be ok.

I woke as they were wheeling me in to the recovery room.  My mom had arrived just in time to see Betty being wheeled out of the operating room and in to the nursery.  JP, my mom, my mother-in-law, and my baby girl were all waiting for me in the recovery room.  She was immediately handed to me for skin-to-skin and to try to nurse, which she did almost immediately (if only the rest of our breastfeeding experiences had been that easy!).

We had one (kind of) scare that evening, as her blood sugar came back kind of low, so they gave her a little bit of formula via a syringe.  Otherwise, she seemed like she was going to be a champion nurser, even though it was pretty painful for me from the start, as she did as much chewing as she did suckling, even from the first go.  I let the nurses have her for a few stretches during the overnight hours, so JP and I could get some sleep without the first-time-parent stressing over whether or not she was ok.  I figured I may as well take advantage of that while I could.

After 2 more days of a few visitors, lots of phone calls, and some FaceTime with a couple of family members, we finally got to head home on Friday (2/22) evening around 7 pm.  Her weight had dropped to 4 lbs, 14 ounces, which was normal.  At that point began what was probably the toughest week of my life, but that is best left for another post.

I almost look as terrified as I felt.

On her way to see Mommy for the first time.

The very best moment of my life.

Words cannot express how much I love this picture.  The grandmas getting their first glimpse of Betty Jean.  You can tell that their breath was just taken away.

She had been crying until Daddy reached in.  She grabbed his finger and stopped crying instantly.  I wish I had been able to see this in person.

My other favorite picture.  Best Daddy in the world.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


My baby is up to 7 lbs and half an ounce! I just can't believe it. The doctor says she looks and sounds perfect.

We're still battling a little thrush, which I need to remain vigilant about putting her medicine on. The gassiness should eventually get better on its own.

Unrelated, but amusing. After a 3 am feeding, I got back in to bed only to discover that one of the dogs had crawled under my pillow, inside of the pillow case. I couldn't do much other than laugh my butt off!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One Month

First, I want to thank all of you for your sweet comments on my last post.  I can't tell you how much they meant to me, and eased my mind.  You ladies are wonderful.

My baby is a month old.  How did that happen?  It's been such a roller coaster.

Betty Jean in bullets:

* She's such a good baby.  With the exception of the last two nights, she only cries when I don't get her bottle to her fast enough, during baths, and very occasionally during a diaper change (I assume because she's cold with her bare butt exposed).  The last two nights, however, she's been screaming after being put back in her bed after her middle of the night feedings, just wanting to be held and rocked.

*  She has an amazing amount of gas.  I can't believe that so much air can come from such a tiny person.  She grunts and strains when it's bad, but doesn't cry.

*  She seems to know her mommy.  She'll track to my voice when I talk, when someone else is holding her.  She doesn't do that for anyone else.

*  She loves to have her cheeks and forehead stroked lightly.  We occasionally get a small grin out of her when we do this.

*  She doesn't seem to mind that her mommy kisses her face, head, and hands about a million times a day.

*  She HATES bath time.  I really hope she at least starts to tolerate them without screaming.  I dread giving her a bath.

*  We're still battling thrush, but it doesn't seem to bother her.  She's a champ about letting me put the medicine on it.

*  Oh my, the gasiness.  It's worth two bullets.

*  She is the most beautiful baby that ever existed.  Yes, I am biased.

*  Overnight a few days ago, she outgrew her preemie clothes.  One day they fit, the next they didn't.  I still can't wrap my head around that one.

*  She is still sleeping in her swing, though I admit that I haven't tried putting her down in anything else, overnight.  I'm just not ready to try the crib, yet.  I did get her baby monitor set up, though.

I'm sure there are tons of other things that aren't occurring to me at the moment.  JP and I are handling sleep deprivation pretty well.  JP deserves a post of his own, at some point, though I don't know that I'll get the time to write it.  He has been absolutely amazing, and I fall more in love with him every day.  He added the new role of "Daddy" to his repertoire so beautifully, and I know that I wouldn't have survived all of this without him.

Tomorrow is our next pediatrician check-up.  I'm looking forward to finding out how much she's grown, though I know I'm going to cry, regardless of what the number is.  I'll likely update you all with a short post.  In the meantime, here are a few shots from the last couple of days.

Napping with Daddy

I just love these little feet!  They look especially tiny next to JP's hands, but she actually has pretty long toes!

Napping with Mommy while one of the puppies looks on.

Crashed out at Daddy's office after a tough morning of being cooed over by his co-workers.

Sooooo sweet.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Another Quick Update

Hello ladies. I am coming to you from my couch, with both a tiny girl and one of my dogs sleeping on me.

We are doing better. Betty is now refusing to breastfeed, as she's decided that she prefers the more instant gratification of a bottle. I'm still pumping about 8 times a day, but still not producing enough that I don't have to supplement with formula. I was super depressed about all of that for several days, but I'm starting to forgive myself, and feel better. Her thrush is almost completely gone, she's getting bigger by the day, and her gassiness is improving. She's such an amazingly good baby. She only cries when I don't get her bottle to her fast enough, during baths, and occasionally during a diaper change.

We made our first road trip yesterday, yo attend my 18 month post-op check up, and to show her off at my office. I was a nervous wreck worrying about remembering anything we may need, but it went just fine. She's an excellent traveler, which is great news, since we'll be making the five hour trip to my hometown in about two weeks.

Our next pediatrician visit and weight check is a week from today. In betting she'll be over 6 lbs. My girl is growing to quickly!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quick Photo Dump and Update

I'm sorry for my absence and lack of commenting. Please don't take this as a complaint, but being a momma is really hard! My baby girl, just like in the womb, isn't gaining enough weight. Her pediatrician wanted me to supplement with formula, but eventually agreed to let me try pumping after feedings and supplementing that way. I quickly discovered that my milk supply is below where it needs to be. While I am doing everything I can to increase my supply (supplements, nursing and then pumping), I am now also supplementing with formula. I am, admittedly, having a really hard time with all this. It's just so much, but I want her to gain weight and bs healthy.

We also went through a bought of jaundice that required two days worth of a bili blanket, which made us both miserable.

I had my mom here with me until this afternoon, and I miss her so much already (we live 5 hours away). I'm terrified to spend my first day alone on Monday when JP goes back to work. My anxiety levels are pretty high, but I am starting to feel a little better. I look at this precious little face, and I just know that somehow I'll figure it all out.