Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Built-in Babysitters

What a luxury to have family around. I have always heard my friends talk about how nice it is when family comes to visit when you have children, but could never relate...until now. My in-laws came to visit us for the Christmas weekend, and couldn't wait to get their hands on Baby Katie - and keep her for the entire weekend! I was on hand pretty much strictly to feed and change her, and other than that, they took complete control (which was wonderful!).

Smyrna Dad and I were able to get out of the house, visit with friends, exercise and run some errands. I snuck away to the gym 2-3 times by myself, which was fantastic and even just got to enjoy doing stuff around the house while someone tended to the Katie Bug!

Every now and then, however, I would sneak in and get some Katie (and Tungsten) time!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I've been off the blogging circuit this week due to...well...lack of time to be completely honest! But, Miss Katie is sleeping (about to wake up from her nice long nap) and I had a couple minutes to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Our first Christmas as a family has been nothing short but wonderful so far. We have slept in, had breakfast, gone on our first family walk around the neighborhood and will open gifts this evening.

Here are a couple pics so far...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

1 Month Check Up

I have fallen off the blogging wagon this week...primarily because the only time I have been near my computer, I have had to spend my time wisely and order Xmas presents.

We went on Wednesday to Katie's 1-month check-up, and the doctor declared she was "perfect" - which, of course, we already knew! ;)

Katie now weighs 9lbs, 2 oz and is 20 3/4 inches long. She is in the 50th percentile for both her height and weight.

Since I have made some tweaks to how I am breastfeeding her, I have noticed a significant change in her diapers in terms of color and no blood! As a result, I have even had a couple cookies to celebrate!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Verdict

We met with the GI doctor today, and she believes Katie has a milk-protein allergy, but not one that is severe whatsoever.

She said that it is by no means to a point in which I need to restrict my diet anymore than I already have. In addition, and most importantly, she said that despite the fact that there has been blood in her diapers, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh anything else. She said that truthfully, she doesn't care that there have been trace amounts of blood - its not enough to be concerned about and does NOT want me to quit b-feeding.

We did talk to her about my conversation with the lactation consultant, and she didn't necessarily buy into the idea that I have a milk imbalance...however, I think we have already seen a difference in her diapers, so I will continue to follow the LC's recommendations, along with restricting my dairy intake. Bottom line is that it can't hurt to do both.

As far as we are both concerned, this chapter is finally closed. Katie is healthy as can be and that is all that matters!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Katie Bug is 1-Month Old!

We took her to her first restaurant yesterday and ordered a dessert to celebrate her 1-month birthday!

Poop, Poop and More Poop

People always say that when you have either a dog or kids, you will constantly talk about poop. I honestly had no idea how right these people were and wish I had a nickel for everytime I even utter the word "poop" to anyone who will listen to me!

On Friday, I took Katie to the pediatrician for a follow-up appointment so she could further examine her, and for us to receive the test results for C. Diff (which were negative). While we were waiting on the doctor to see us, Katie had a very bloody stool, which really seemed to alarm the doctor - enough that she got us in for an appointment with a Pediatric GI doctor for tomorrow afternoon. While she and I were talking, she mentioned a couple times that there is a possibility that Katie is allergic to the lactose in my breastmilk - something that I cannot seem to even possibly comprehend or agree with.

I got smart that afternoon and called Northside Hospital's lactation department. I figured out of anyone, they should have some good knowledge in this area. Without going into too much detail, the bottom line is that the lady asked me a series of questions - the key two questions being:

1. How is her weight gain?
2. What color is her poop?

I proudly talked about her 1 lb gain in 6 days and mentioned that her poop has been green. It was at that point that she stopped me mid-sentence and said that her poop color was a problem! I guess as a mother, and after taking a Baby Essentials class, I should know that her poop should be mustard yellow, but when our pediatrician told me that green is normal I didn't question it! In addition, she said the fast weight gain is NOT normal - she should only be gaining a 1/2 oz to 1 oz/day - not 2 oz/day.

Anyway, she said immediately that it sounds like we may have a "foremilk/hindmilk imbalance", meaning that she is getting more of the lower fat milk as opposed to the higher fat milk. The three biggest syptoms are quick weight gain, green poop and bloody stools.

Oddly enough, Brad and I both had come across a website earlier today, which contains the information below, and is exactly what the lactation consultant described.

Babies of mothers with oversupply frequently have bowel problems because the over production of milk causes the baby to get more foremilk ( the lower fat first milk) than hind milk. Hindmilk is the higher fat milk that comes later in the feeding. Because the fat in the milk helps to slow digestion, a baby who receives more foremilk than hind milk may experience very rapid digestion. This would allow some of the lactose, a milk sugar, into the bowel undigested. Once in the bowel, lactose creates irritation that often leads to gassiness and explosive, sometimes green bowel movements. Irritation also further inhibits the bowel's ability to manage the lactose, creating a situation that often gets progressively worse. This bowel irritation sometimes becomes so severe it can cause bloody stools.

She asked that I "block nurse" Katie all weekend - meaning to have Katie feed on "one side" for the entire duration of the feeding instead of switching halfway through, and then for the next feeding have her eat from the following side. This will ensure that she will definitely get the hind milk instead of the foremilk.

After reading quite a bit over the weekend on this imbalance/oversupply issue, so many things started to make sense to me. 1. Katie will often times "thrash" around while breastfeeding, arch her back and more or less bite down on my nipple - this is a HUGE sign of a foremilk oversupply. Apparently, this is her way of trying to stop the milk from coming to her so quickly (imagine laying on the ground trying to drink from a garden hose that is turned on full blast). 2. She would often times choke/cough within a few seconds of starting to nurse. This is also a huge sign of oversupply because, once again, the milk is getting to her too fast.

Again, we will go to the GI doctor tomorrow to get their opinion, but if I could bet money I would say that we are NOT dealing with a milk-protein allergy whatsoever...especially sine after 24 hours of block nursing, Katie no longer has green poop!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Crib Transition

These days, I am perpetually a few days behind with updates. I guess that is to be expected with a one-month old that tends to eat around the clock!

Anyway, last weekend we transitioned Katie into her crib for the first time. It couldn't have gone smoother! We put the camera in the crib, relied on the monitor and got some rest! Given that we have a video monitor, it is way to easy to fall into the trap of watching the screen so we can capture every movement! The nice thing I have found is that typically she will lay there, not making a peep, wide awake just looking around.

She still uses her moses basket and pack and play for naps, with the crib only being used for nighttime sleeping.

Definitely a milestone...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In order to get stuff done...

Sometimes you just have to put Katie in certain spots in order to get stuff done.

Moses Basket = Shower Time

Bouncy/Vibration Seat = Laptop Time

Now, I just need Smyrna Dad home so I can have grocery shopping time!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Allergy Update

Just thought I would update everyone on Katie's possible allergy. As you probably remember, two weeks ago it was discovered that there was a small trace of blood in her diaper one afternoon when we were at the pediatrician. The most common cause of a bloody stool in infants is a milk-protein allergy. While there isn't a specific test the doctors can give Katie to determine if this is what the problem is, they typically ask the mother's to eliminate ALL dairy sources from their diet (the obvious culprits + ingredients such as whey). This coming Wednesday it will have been 2 weeks since I have started this new diet and am about 99% sure that I have not consumed any hidden ingredients.

Throughout all of this, the good thing is that we have not seen any traces of blood with the exception of the day at the pediatrin and the day before T-giving...other than that, apparently it's just a very small trace (microscopic) amount, which should mean the allergy is minimal.

Yesterday afternoon, however I went to change her diaper and actually witnessed her pooping out blood - I am not sure of the amount, but assume it equaled to an 1/8 to a 1/4 of a tsp. We went to the pediatrician this afternoon - met with a different doctor - and she is ready to really get to the bottom of this whole situation. She said that there can be two primary reasons for blood in the stool - milk protein allergy or a C. Dif bacteria. Details on the bacteria can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clostridium_difficile.

She doesn't seem to think that it is the bacteria, but wants to rule it out before we start pursuing the idea that it is something in my breastmilk. We have the pleasure of collecting some major stool samples by tomorrow - this time the substance will go into a tupperware-like container and taken to the lab. We should have results in 48 hours.

In the meantime, I need to schedule an appointment for Katie to see a Gastrointerologist - they will do a variety of tests (Not sure what that means) and then go from there.

The absolute WORST case scenario is that they will ask me to completely quit breastfeeding - an option that neither of us is happy about or think will actually happen - and she will have to go solely on formula. Anyway, please send some positive vibes that this isn't the case!

Oh - on a positive note, the little monkey put on almost a WHOLE pound in the past 6 days!! So, at least I know I don't have a milk supply issue...maybe just a milk quality issue. She now weighs 8 lbs 15 oz!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bonding Time

Smyrna Dad, Baby Katie and I have all had a wonderful week. Katie and I have been able to spend tons of time together - around the clock - and it's really paid off. Baby Blues seem to be gone and I literally can't wait to get my hands on the little monkey whenever she wakes up in the morning, or from a nap.

Starting tomorrow, Baby Katie is going to have a string of visitors between friends and family members, as well as neighborhood folks bringing us meals in the evening (how nice is that?!)! This is always challenging for me, as I have to figure out her feeding times well in advance, so that I am hopefully not having to whip out the boob while people are sitting here.

Looking forward to our second full weekend alone as a family...we will be partaking in some Christmas decorating!

PS - 4 years ago yesterday, Smyrna Dad and I got engaged! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lunch Dates and Mani/Pedi

Everyone always told me leading up to Katie's arrival to take any offer of help when it would come up, so that's what I am doing! Smyrna Great Aunt Sandy was so kind to come over yesterday and watch Baby Katie for a few hours, while Smyrna Dad and I had our first lunch date as parents! Things were going so well, that I left the restaurant and headed to the nail salon for a little foot TLC. Honestly, it was heaven!

I didn't want to wait too long to leave Katie with someone else, as the longer I waited, the harder I knew it would be. I was so proud of myself for asking for her to sit with Katie and actually venture out for a few hours (and enjoy the time)!

Katie was so well behaved that the offer to sit again has been made. No question I will be taking her up on the offer! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Survival and Weight Update

I have officially survived my first two solo days with Baby Katie, and honestly, it has been a million times easier than I expected. Having Smyrna Grandmother here for a couple weeks to get me acclamated, and having a weekend with Smyrna Dad and Baby Katie helped me ease my way into the past couple days...and I think I passed with flying colors!

I even ventured out of the house today, with Baby Katie, and headed down to the pediatrician's office for her last weight check! The little one has gained 10 oz in a mere 7 days, which was just the best news!! I can now cancel my lactation appointment as I think it is clearly obvious that the milk is flowing just fine!

Unfortunately, she is still testing positive for blood in her stool, which means that there is still some form of an allergy that is present. Now, whether or not the allergy is definitely a milk-protein allergy remains to be seen. She will get re-tested on Monday, and if she tests positive for blood, we will talk about next steps. As the pediatrician reiterated today, it does take approximately 2 weeks for the dairy to get out of your system, so it's still early.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we start to see some improvement in the next week or so!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Outings, Outings and More Outings

Depot one day and the Park and the Grocery another day! It's so nice to actually get out of the house, but amazing how much of an effort it takes - not just to get Katie ready, but how much it wears physically on me!

This afternoon, we took our first family trip to a nearby park and walked for approximately 30 minutes, and then sat on a bench, chatted, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was such an enjoyable afternoon, and no question that Katie loved every second of it (she slept the entire time)!

Here are a couple pictures from our family fun day:

Smyrna Baby and Smyrna Mama have had a big weekend - HH Gregg and Home

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh the things we do for our kids...

Honestly, I never had any idea how difficult it would be to eliminate dairy from my diet. Last night, after not being 100% full from Thanksgiving dinner since I couldn't eat the mashed potatoes, sweet mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie (all contained milk), I found myself scouring the kitchen for anything I could possibly eat.

Microwave Popcorn? No - contains milk
15-Grain Bread? No - contains low fat milk in the ingredients
Peanut Butter? No - only because now I am concerned she will get a peanut allergy

The list goes on and on...

I finally settled on a bowl of plain oatmeal with a tad bit of sugar and a cup of tea just to tie me over until morning.

And, all because Katie MAY have a possible milk protein allergy. Yes, obviously, I could completely throw in the towel on breastfeeding and resort to only giving her formula, but that's not an option in my book. Breastfeeding Katie is very important to me, and if I need to give up my favorite food group in order for her to receive the benefits from my milk, then so be it!

The good news is that my lactation consultant told me earlier that there is a good chance she will grow out of this within 3 months. 90 days...12 weeks...

Yes, the countdown is on!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, with the most obvious being Baby Katie! I still cannot believe that she is here, after being inside me for just shy of 10 months. I am so thankful for our happy/healthy family and that Smyrna Grandmother has been able to be here to help us for the past 2 weeks. She leaves tomorrow, which has put me in tears several times today, but at least we know she will come back soon (please???)!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Milk/Protein Allergy

Yesterday, while at the doctor's office, we discovered that Katie had a tiny bit of blood in her dirty (stool) diaper. Her pediatrician immediately tested it, and learned that it definitely was blood. Last night, we had to get 3 stool samples to take back to be re-tested today, and just learned that Katie has a possible milk/protein allergy.

From what I have read, this is fairly common in newborns/infants, and odds are she will grow out of this by the time she is one. We have to discontinue all use of the regular Similac formula for supplementation, and switch over to a hypoallerginic formula called Alimentum. While this formula is a bit more on the expensive side, the good news is that she isn't using that much per day, and hopefully by next week will solely be on breast milk.

Probaby one of the biggest downfalls to this situation is that I will have to discontinue all use of dairy products until either a) the blood disappears or b) until I stop breastfeeding all together. Me without cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, milk? Wow. Once again, welcome to the world of motherhood, but you have to do what you have to do to keep Baby Katie as healthy as can be.

More details on this type of allergy can be found here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weight Check #2

We ventured out of the house again today - the first time in 7 days - to head over to the pediatrician for weight check #2. Looks like Baby Katie has been gaining some weight over the past week, but not as much as the pediatrician would like her to have gained.

If you recall, when she was born she weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz. When she was discharged from the hospital, she weighed 7 lbs, 4 oz. Today, 7 days after her first weight check, she weighs 7 lbs, 7 oz. Her doctor advised us that she would prefer for Katie to be gaining 1 oz/day until she is back at her birth weight.

Our plan of attack, at this moment, is to supplement 3 oz of formula/day, and possibly try to squeeze in one additional breastfeeding to see if that won't do the trick. We go back next week for one final (hopefully) check.

Here is a picture of Baby Katie hanging out with her Dad!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Where is the Baby?"

The number of times one of us has woken up in the past week, in a complete panic, and asked, "Hun, OMG, do you have the baby?" is getting out of control. I suppose our subconcious is working in overtime after hearing a million and one stories about SIDS during our classes and hospital stay.

Smyrna Dad woke up one night convinced he had the baby, but didn't know where she was - and all while holding the comforter in a way that you would think she was swaddled. I woke up one night thinking that I had overheated the baby with the heating pad I was using, and later woke up in a cold sweat frantically looking for Baby Katie. I ripped off all of the covers, looked on the floor, freaked Smyrna Dad out before realizing that she was in Smyrna Grandmother's bedroom sound asleep.

Last night I woke up patting my pillow in the middle of the night, searching for her head because I was convinced I had stuffed her inside the pillow case by mistake and was suffocating her.

I can only imagine how we are going to react when she is in our room starting this Friday night! Welcome to the world of parenthood and the constant feeling of we need to do everything we can to protect our baby girl...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Katie's Modeling Career: The Beginning

Every parent, at some point, dreams of their child becoming a star and making the parents tons of money, right? Well, we decided to kick off our dream today and start Katie's modeling career! Big thanks goes out to my friend, Jody, for coming by today to photograph Baby Katie.

While the professional pictures will be posted and emailed once we receive them, here is a sneak peak of a shot we snapped while Jody was working her magic.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy 1 Week Birthday, Katie Bug!

All day yesterday, I found myself looking at the clock and thinking, "This time last week, we had just arrived to the hospital." Or, "This time last week, Katie had just been born and we were being wheeled into recovery." It's already been a week and I don't know where the time went.

In terms of her looks, I don't think Katie has changed all that much in the past 7 days - at least not as much as I thought she would. She is still just as alert as she was the day she was born and, of course, as beautiful as could be!

We have spent the past week getting to know one another and learning/studying breastfeeding and trying to get it nailed down. She absolutely loves being held, getting fed, sleeping on whomever will let her sleep on them and absolutely HATES having her diaper changed. As I told someone earlier, I have never seen an infant get so ticked off over a diaper change. No question we have a fiesty one on our hands! :)

We love her more and more every day. Happy 1-week birthday, little baby Katie!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Firsts...

We've had a couple "First" moments this week! For starters, Katie went, for the first time, to the pediatrician AND she had her first sponge bath since being released from the hospital. You better believe all "first" moments are being well-documented!

Her pediatrican classified her as "perfect" (as if we didn't already know that), and said that her weight was holding steady at 7 lbs 4 oz, which is what she weighed when she was discharged from the hospital. We will return to the pediatrician next week to make sure that she has put on some more weight. Overall, the trip was as smooth as could be. Smyrna Grandmother chauferred us to and from the doctor's office, Katie slept both car rides, and only freaked out for a little bit while they had her undressed in the office.

Last night we gave Katie her first sponge bath and what fun that was. Do you detect any sort of sarcasm in my writing? Honestly, overall, she did fairly well, but man does this baby girl have a temper on her! She starts crying, then screaming, then hyperventilating - and with good reason. Poor baby is cold and naked! No one likes that!! But, as soon as Brad started to wash her hair, she was in heaven! She would just look all around and was back to the peaceful Katie that we know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Homecoming Pictures

Our little Smyrna Baby is ready to head home:

Our "family"!

Katie's first time in the carseat:

This is it - we are headed home!

On our way to start the next chapter of our lives together:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Homecoming!

Katie has arrived at her new home. Hard to believe that within a 5 day period, she has already had 3 homes - the womb, Northside Hospital, and now Smyrna. While I was looking forward to getting home, I didn't realize how much until we got here. All of the anxiety I was feeling immediately washed away when I sat down on the couch and started to feed Katie.

To be able to spend the evening at home with our baby girl, Smyrna Dad and Smyrna Grandmother couldn't have been better. We discussed our routine for the night, I fed her several times (every time I turned around it was time), ate dinner and then finally retired for the night.

We met with our lactation consultant for the final time yesterday morning and she put together an incredible plan for us. The ultimate goal was to have her sleep at least 5 hours throughout the night by giving her a couple bottles of pumped colustrum and 1-1.5 oz of formula mixed in. The consultant advised that I feed her one last time around 8:30, turn her over to Brad when she is finished around 9:30, pump as much colustrum as I can, and have Brad feed her what I pumped + the little bit of forumula at 10:30.

She also advised that we have Katie sleep in Smyrna Grandmother's room, in her bassinet, for the night. When she wakes up - hopefully not until 3:00 or so - S.G. would feed her the other bottle of pumped colustrum (approximately a 1/2 oz) + 1.5oz of formula and that will tie her over until approximately 8 or 8:30 this morning.

All of this enables Smyrna Mama to get 9+ hours of solid sleep, allows me to spend more time recovering and healing the "hole in my belly" (as the lactation consultant said repeatedly) and feel rested for a day filled with feedings.

Given that it's 7:40 in the morning, I am feeling great, Baby and Grandmother are sacked out, it looks like our master plan must've worked!

Initially, I was hesitant to have Katie supplement with formula, but I quickly realized that if we didn't go this route, several things would happen:

1. I wouldn't get the rest I need to help me heal.
2. Katie wouldn't start to level off with her weight loss (she was right at a 7% loss yesterday) by just relying on my colustrum, and we would be forced to supplement with formula as it was.
3. Smyrna Dad wouldn't get the rest he needs - especially since he is already back at work.

As long as the only times Katie is sleeping in 5 hour stretches is at night, Madeline (consultant) says it's fine. The goal is to get her accustomed right away to sleeping at night.

Now, we are expecting my milk to come in today, which means that our plan tonight will change since no matter what, I will need to release the milk somehow. Either I will get up to pump (consultant is OK with me doing this only a couple times a day) OR, I will get up to feed her. It's one of those things we will just play by ear!

Pictures to come later of our homecoming! Time to feed the little Katie Bug.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Birth Details

Katie is atively resting in Smyrna Daddy's arms while we all watch the Florida-SC game from our hospital room (and, while I snag a few minutes of Internet time)! While I will work on putting Katie's full birth story together, I wanted to give a few details of Katie's birth.

The C-Section started a tad bit later than we had planned because the epidural took longer to kick in than the doctors expected. I was wheeled into the O.R. at 1:20 where the nurses finished prepping/sterilizing the room and transferred me from the pre-op bed to the operating table. Brad was asked to stay in the hallway during this time, but we were reunited a short while later once they were ready to get the show on the road!

I had the most incredible nurse standing by the top of my head, walking me through every step of the procedure, getting me to take deep meditating breaths, and acting as an amazing support person for both Brad and I.

Before I knew it, the incision had been made and I was told that I would start to feel quite a bit of pressure as they pulled Katie from the inside of my body. They weren't joking either! My body was rocked back and forth, and even lifted off the table, as they tried to pry her out of what was apparently a very small space. I remember the nurse asking Brad to stand up if he wanted pictures of this incredible/miraculous moment, and to be prepared because our baby was going to be here any second.

The nurse told me the feet were out, and about 5-10 seconds later she told me the butt was out, but she couldn't see what the sex of the baby was. And, then, a moment that surprised us all - Dr. Dodder announced very happily that we had a baby girl!! As the both of us were sobbing, the nurse told me that she always knew it was a girl because she could tell Katie was "dancing" inside of me!

All of this happened in less than 6 minutes - from the time of the incision to the time she was born. 1:27 pm to 1:33 p.m.

The doctor quickly whisked her to the back of the room, where she was placed under a heat lamp and received her APGAR test. Katie scored an 8 at the 1-minute test and a 9at the 5-minute test (on a scale of 1-10). Perfect.

A short while later, Brad, Katie and some nurses went down the hall to the Post Op Recovery room where she was weighed, measured and bathed. Smyrna Baby Katie weighed 7lbs, 13 oz, was 20 1/4 inches long and had a 13" head! Brad was told she had the size of a head of a 10-lb baby, but thankfully she is extremely proportionate!

I was stiched and stapled up, moved into recovery, and not reunited with Brad and Katie until just before 3:00 in the afternoon. This moment was one that will forever be burned into my memory - absolutely incredible! The nurse asked if we wnated to have some "skin-to-skin" contact, which of course I jumped at the opportunity to do and asked if I could breast feed right away. Katie knew EXACTLY what to do -latched right on and went to town for about 10-15 minutes - perfect for her first feeding!

At approximately 4:00, we were moved out of recovery and upstairs to Room 572 - a corner room with 4 windows and an incredible view - to begin what will end up being a 5 day/4 night stay! 10-15 minutes later, Katie was introduced to her Grandmother Carole and Aunt Amber, and the sob fest started all over again!

We have spent the past couple days enjoying our time with Katie, learning to breastfeed, resting and recovering. To say the past 3 days have been perfect would not be doing it justice. I feel outstanding, especially given that I had my stomach cut open just over 48 hours ago, and am enjoying every second of this time with Katie, Brad, Carole and Amber.

While I am looking forward to going home and starting this next chapter in our lives, I am going to miss having people wait on me hand and foot!

Little Katie - 45 Hours Old

Well, as you all know, she is here! Of course, I had all intentions of blogging last night before bed, but between company, lactation consultation, constant feedings and pure exhaustion, I never got around to it. I realized I needed to prioritize and let sleep take over as opposed to my internet communication addiction!

As we enter into Day 2, Katie is an absolute angel. She only cries when she needs something and that seems to be to only let us know she hates getting her diaper changed! She is breastfeeding just fine, and both Smyrna Mom and Dad are getting into a good routine. As I write, she is laying all snuggled up in her hospital crib, staring at me type away!

Smyrna Mama is feeling pretty well - definitely 1,000 times better than last night. After c-sections, apparently you get really, really bad gas that travels through your system and if you can't/don't pass it, lets just say it gets VERY uncomfortable!! Needless to say, I have just had my 2nd cup of warm prune juice and am also drinking some warm chicken broth to help with my comfort level.

Katie and I have had a nice morning just the two of us - she ate while I ate, she slept in my arms for a little while, and I just got to change her diaper for the very first time! Thankfully she only blessed me with a little pee pee, unlike the surprises she has been leaving for her dad!

Not sure when I will head home from the hospital - right now I am very content staying here, getting the rest and the help I need. Recovery is definitely harder than I expected.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Last Belly Shots

Well, the time is here. I am packed, dressed and ready to head to the hospital. Overall, I feel good, but am really starting to get anxious. 3 hours and 30 minutes to go.

Here are a couple last belly shots for you!

The Last Meal

Well, it's 5:30 in the morning and we'll officially have a baby in less than 8 hours from right now! ACK! I have just finished eating my last solid meal for the next 24 hours, as well as had my last bit of liquids (48 oz of water) for the next several hours. As I was eating, I actually wondered if death row inmates shovel food in as fast as I did when they are sitting down for their last meal. I wanted to eat everything in site, even though my belly was so far distended, and realistically I wasn't even hungry. But, at least Smyrna Baby and myself have been fed - and all by 5:15 a.m, like the doctor ordered!

Time I started eating:

Evidence of the Last Meal:

All done!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Am Ready!

As all of you know, I have loved (almost) every second of being pregnant. Carrying this child with me for 9+ months has been such an incredible experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But, I can now honestly say "I am ready!!!". I am ready to meet this baby girl or boy, hold his/her hand/fingers, kiss him/her and take on this new and incredibly big challenge.

On top of all of those reasons, I have found myself thinking of the other reasons "I am ready" - in no particular order!

1. I will be able to sleep on my right side(baby's head is in the way right now), back or stomach once again.

2. I will be able to wash my face at the bathroom sink without getting water everywhere due to this belly being in the way.

3. A more diverse wardrobe.

4. No more concerns about what the doctors may say when I step on the scale (which, by the way, I gained a whopping 27 lbs this entire pregnancy)!

5. I will be able to walk up and down a flight of stairs without needing an oxygen mask or an asthma inhaler.

6. I will be able to walk the dog at a pace faster than a turtle.

7. Sushi, Wine and Beer.

8. No more parking fees at the doctor's office - I'd love to know how much I have spent in the past 9 months to park there for appointments!

9 I can lay in bed without my belly hitting my husband.

10. I can move onto the next phase in my life! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We're Moving On Up...Moving On Up....

Wow, so many songs in my head. I go from Europe's "The Final Countdown" to "The Jefferson's" (TV Show) "Movin' On Up". And, why is that you ask? Well, my c-section has been bumped up from 5:15 Thursday afternoon to the 1:15 time slot! And, why am I so excited about this? Well, because I don't have to wait ALL DAY LONG to eat! OK, there may be other reasons too, but that is probably in the top 5 reasons I am so excited!

So, for those of you who I have your cell numbers and you're on "the list" to get a text, expect one sooner than later Thursday!

The Final Countdown

This 1980's rock song pretty much sums it up at this point. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Transverse Lie Position: A Visual

I find that many people mistake a "transverse lie" position for a "breech" position, but they are completely different from one another. Below is a picture of both a baby in a breech position and a baby in a transverse lie position - Smyrna Baby obviously falls in the transverse lie category - something that is considered rare.

I am very curious which body part they will identify first and be able to pull out of a small 6-inch (or so) incision next Thursday. My assumption is they will pull a foot out first, but I could be completely wrong.

Right now, the head is on my left side, the butt is on the right and the feet are right around the birth canal opening. My impression is that he/she is face down, as though he/she is looking towards the opening, but either can't or does not want to head down that way (no pun intended)!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

38 Weeks (and 3 Days)

The final countdown is officially ON. 5 Days and counting I can only imagine what I will be feeling like this time Thursday - especially with in regards to hunger. I have basically been eating my way through our kitchen (thankfully it's mainly healthy food), so I have a feeling Thursday is going to be a difficult day. Oddly enough, I am more concerned about my eating schedule than I am about going through a major surgery and delivering a baby! Figures.

Here is your 38 week update as well as a good belly shot!

Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.

Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Maternity Leave....AHHHHHHHHHHHH.....

I kicked off my official maternity leave today, and what a great feeling it has been. I am sitting here, in our kitchen, with the back door open, enjoying an incredibly beautiful Fall day. Our Golden Retriever has been sleeping right by the back deck all afternoon, soaking in the warm rays.

I have had one of the nicest days I've had in a long time - walked the dog in the morning (36 degree temps- brrrrrr), cleaned up the house, went through the mail, re-arranged some furniture (light furniture - don't worry) in a guest room, caught up on Grey's Anatomy, had lunch with my husband, paid some bills, got dinner in the slow cooker, had a manicure, bought some fruit and am now waiting on a friend to come by and see the nursery. The perfect, relaxing, quiet day - just how I wanted to kick off this new "era", as Smyrna Dad has said numerous times in the past 24 hours.

Listening to the birds chirp and dogs barking in the distance makes me realize how much I need to enjoy this "quiet" time...as, it's all about to come to an end in exatly 6 days!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

8 Days and Counting!

It's official - this baby is still transverse! His/her head is still right around my upper right side, right near my ribs, while the bum is on my left side with a foot (or two) dangling down below. As it stands right this minute, given any unforseen circumstances (i.e. my water doesn't break between now and next Thursday), I will be delivering this baby on November 12, 2009 at 5:15 p.m.!

Today was the first day that I have truly gotten excited. I'm talking beaming, bouncing off the walls, grinning ear-to-ear excitement! To know that in less than 8 days, we are going to finally be able to see, meet, hold, kiss and love our Smyrna Baby is just incredible.

I could care less at this point if I am having a c-section - this baby obviously didn't want to go head down for a long time, and once he/she did, it wasn't a favorable position, so back up he/she went. That's fine. As long as Smyrna Baby is safe, not in any danger or in any sort of distress, I am fine with whatever the doctor's feel is best to bring him/her into this world.

Less than 8 days. Wow. I swear, wasn't it just yesterday that I took a pregnancy test?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dancing, swimming, punching, kicking

I honestly thought this baby was going to dance its way out of my belly earlier this evening. For two solid hours, this baby squirmed, kicked, danced, swam, punched and did who knows what else in utero. I've never seen or felt anything like it, and neither had Smyrna Dad. I tried capturing some of the movements on video, which is below; however the lighting isn't the best. Hopefully you can make out all of the movements (and the bouncing up and down is not me breathing either!).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Timing Movements

I've often wondered if there will be any sort of pattern as to when Smyrna Baby is moving in utero versus when he/she is out here living/breathing in the real world. For the next couple of days, I am going to attempt to track Smyrna Baby's movements, and will later refer back to these notes to see if there was, in fact, any sort of pattern.

I started off making notes first thing this morning, but once lunchtime came and went, I forgot to write anything down (this is where I get to blame pregnancy brain). Here is what I noticed:

4:30 a.m. - Little movement; squirming around. Didn't last maybe more than 10 or so minutes.

7:30 a.m. - Lots of movement while I was sitting on the floor putting on my makeup. You could watch my shirt bounce/move all over the place.

10:30 a.m. - Slight movement uppper right side, and gradually turned into swimming-like movements (where you could see my shirt moving from across the room).

12:00 Noon - LOTS of movement all over - up/down/left/right. Everywhere. Smyrna Baby must've been hungry!

1:30 - Smyrna Baby was crazy active, and it almost felt as though his/her feet were on my bladder. The head (??) was moving all around in the upper right side, causing me to periodically jump/flinch.

Tomorrow I will try to track movements throughout the entire day just to get an overall picture, but this alone was very interesting to me!

A friend of mine made a comment today how you could almost tell the baby was still transverse just by looking at me. I am inclined to think the same thing, but will have to wait until Wednesday morning to find out for sure!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The First Time

It's hard to believe this part of our incredible journey is about to come to a close. In fact, I find it overwhelming to think that we are about to embark upon another journey that is so much bigger than we can ever imagine. In many ways, it makes me sad. While we are as excited as we possibly can be about meeting Smyrna Baby, I think we are both going to miss this phase in our lives.

I am truly going to miss having this baby inside me. Yes, I will be pregnant again one day, but just like your first engagement, there is nothing like being pregnant for the first time.

The first doctor's appointment. The first ultrasound. The first heartbeat. The first pregnancy announcement. The first maternity outfit. The first time you get asked, "When are you due?". The first flutter. The first kick. The first baby shower. The first hospital class. The first maternity photo shoot. The first completed nursery. The first contraction. The first born.

We both have asked ourselves what will that day/night in the hospital be like? Will it be so incredibly emotional that we can't contain ourselves? Will we just go with the flow and have our guard up? Will we be so overwhelmed that we don't know how to react? We just don't know. But, from what everyone has told us, the first time that we lay our eyes on this baby, we will fall instantly in love. And, honestly, what can be better than that?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Plan

I know that this headline is extremely subjective - you never really can have a "plan" when talking about going into labor, but humor me for at least tonight.

The c-section is planned for 2 weeks from today, 11/12/09 (1 day after our 3-year wedding anniversary!), at 5:15 p.m. If we keep this time slot, I will have to be done with all eating and drinking no later than 9:15 that morning. YIKES. Given how much I drink water, this is going to be very difficult!

We did learn that there is a good chance we will get bumped up to a 1:15 time slot, but possibly won't know until a day or so before the birth day. If that is the case, I have to be done with all eating/drinking by 5:15 a.m.

The scheduling nurse told me she would write me a "note", to give to my husband, letting him know he must get up, cook breakfast and bring it to me in bed. I told her I may take her up on it.

I will say two things:

1. I felt an extreme amount of pressure early this morning - similar to what I felt a couple Sunday's ago when the baby actually turned. A large, round body part went back up under my rib cage and has been there all day. Was it a possible turn, or just a shift in position?

2. Tonight, I am having a lot of pressure in my lower abdomen, and either had some tap dancing going on earlier, or punching with fists.

Given that each time I think the baby is up, it's down - or vice versa - I figure it's not worth guessing at this point. We'll know soon enough!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

HUGE Milestone: Full Term - 37 Weeks!

I can't believe I have made it to 37 weeks - Smyrna Baby is now full term! Even though my due date isn't for another 21 days, if he/she were to be born tonight, there should not be any survival issues and he/she shouldn't have any trouble surviving outside the womb. Wow. A huge milestone for this baby that we are both SO anxious to meet.

According to Babycenter.com:
Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.

So many thoughts running through my head right now - the biggest one being how I can't believe that at 37 weeks, I feel this great, am hardly emotional and am just plain excited! Smyrna Baby will literally be here before we know it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Posting Comments

PS - I have finally made an adjustment to the settings that should allow ANYONE to make comments. I didn't realize that it defaulted to having to log in. Operator error, obviously...and so glad I realized this after 100 posts!

Who Would've Thought?

Well, we may have a possible slight change in plans...Smyrna Baby has decided to make another move on me and is now transverse (sideways). I went in for a standard check up this morning, and when the doctor felt around my abdomen, and listened for the heartbeat, he suddenly wasn't convinced the baby was head down, so he did a quick U/S. Turns out, the baby's head is lodged up near my rib cage (right side, of course) and the feet (or one foot) are dangling down. Since the butt is on my left side, they consider the baby to be "transverse", which still just cause to schedule a c-section.

So, for now, the plan is I will get a call from the nurse this week to schedule the section, but will plan to keep going to my weekly appointments, as originally planned, in the event he/she turns. The doctor said there is still a chance the baby will turn back, especially given that it already turned in the past 6 days. The one thing he said to be aware of is that now my amniotic fluid is starting to decrease(normal for this stage of the game), the more likely the baby will get stuck. He said my fluid levels are normal right now - not too high though, which made him make the previous comment.

It just goes to show that you can't plan for anything!! I just laughed when he told me the news - I think it's rather amusing at this point and almost like the idea that things are changing day-by-day.

As one nurse said to me on the way out, we have one VERY active baby on our hands! :)

Stay tuned...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Group B Strep Test: Positive

I received a call from my nurse this morning to let me know that I tested postive for the Group B Strep Test. She was not concerned whatsoever, as it is very common for pregnant women to carry this bacteria. When I arrive to the hospital, I will receive a dosage of penicillin to help kill the bacteria, and this should help prevent from me passing it along to Smyrna Baby. With receiving the oral meds, the baby only has a 1 in 4000 chance of contracting GBS.

More information can be found here if you are interested.

I'm off to the doctor in the AM, and unfortunately could only get an appointment with the weight-obsessed doctor. Let's hope those Iced Pumpkin Cookies I made and consumed this weekend don't come back to haunt me when I step on the scale!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Updated Nursery Pictures

I wasn't pleased with how the original pictures of the nursery turned out. Not to mention, it wasn't necessarily complete at the time either. We still need to hang the mobile from the ceiling, but other than that it is ready for Smyrna Baby to come home to!

36 Week Pictures

And, it's only getting bigger...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crenshaw Melons..or 36 Weeks

Honestly, I've never heard of a Crenshaw Melon, but apparently Smyrna Baby is roughly the size of one. I had to Google Image the term just to get an idea of what one may look like. If you are as curious as I was, you can look here.

Anyway, Smyrna Baby is rapidly growing (and causing Smyrna Mama's appetite to be out of control the past few days). According to Babycenter.com, "Your baby is gaining about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy hair that covered her body, as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Next week, your baby will be considered full-term. Most likely she's in a head-down position, but if she isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an external cephalic version, where she'll try to turn your baby by manipulating her from the outside of your belly."

What a relief to know that there will be no "manipulating" of this baby now that he/she is head down (and, for the record, my doctor wouldn't do the version even if I wanted her to).

To date, I have gained a total of 27 lbs. My suspicion is that when this is all said and done, I will have gained 30-32. I'm still working out on a regular basis - in fact, have gotten into a very good routine and am hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, which has done wonders for the way I feel.

I'm still in shock about the baby turning, and I will say that I am so relieved to know that I will still get my two surprises: going into labor unexpectedly and finding out the day of the birth if we are having a boy or a girl!

Only 27 days until my due date...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Should Have Known...

I should have known. After waking up with excrutiating pain Sunday night in my ribcage area, I should have known Smyrna Baby had turned. I'm talking seriously EXCRUTIATING pain.

I should have known Smyrna Baby would turn - just for the sole reason that everything works out for a reason. How many people told me that Smyrna Baby would turn by 36 weeks? How many people said, "There is still time!"

I should have known Smyrna Baby would turn because I had finally resigned to the fact that I was going to have a C-Section, and had not only accepted the idea, but was actually looking forward to the procedure!

Not anymore!

After waking up in the middle of the night with pain I will never be able to describe to anyone (and, trust me, I have a pretty high pain tolerance), and yelling out "It hurts so bad" several times, the baby was making it's move. I had heard it would be painful if he/she flipped, but never in a million years did I think it would be THAT painful (I'm sure this isn't the last time I will utter those words).

After the doctor did the Group Strep B test this afternoon, she said she would like to "scan me" - just to be sure the baby was still breech. While we waited for the doctor to come in, we went ahead and chose what day we wanted to deliver the baby - because we just knew that I was in for a c-section. I talked about how my last day of work would be next Friday, and we even discussed how cool it is that within 20 minutes, we could have a newborn.

5 minutes later, we learned that all of this had changed. Smyrna Baby had turned, was head down with it's butt up by my ribcage, and more than likely had made the move Sunday night! The doctor probably thought I was disappointed after I didn't jump up and down with excitement, not realizing that I was in absolute shock.

It just goes to show you that you NEVER know what's going to happen, and you cannot plan a thing when it comes to pregnancy or the arrival of your newborn!

I just can't believe that, in the end, I am getting the surprise I wanted - the surprise of going into labor AND the surprise of the sex of the baby! This day honestly could not have gone any better!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Car Seat: Check!

It's official - the car seat has been installed! But, not without cursing, frustration, bitterness and maybe a little talk of "we should trade in the Rav4 because this sucks"! After not understanding the reasoning behind the Rav4 design, we threw in the towel last night after an hour + of attempting to get it installed. It just didn't make sense why we couldn't install the car seat in the middle, and it wasn't until after I called Toyota Headquarters to get some safety information, did we decide tonight we were ready to move forward and finish this piece up.

It's in - and will stay there unoccupied until Smyrna Baby is coming home from the hospital!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Protector

I swear, Tungsten knows something I don't. In the 3 years we have had him, I have never seen him follow me around from room-to-room like he has for the past 3 days. It all started with our smoke alarm batteries going out, and chirping for several hours, but now if I get up and go anywhere - upstairs, downstairs, down the hall, to the bathroom, outside, to the couch, to the kitchen, he is by my side at all times. The other morning, he tried to sit in my lap while I did my make-up, and sat on my feet while I stood in the bathroom drying my hair - all while staring at me. I'm not going to lie - it actually makes me feel good thinking that he is protecting me on some level!

The sad thing is that he has no idea what's about to hit him. He's about to go from being #1 in this house to #2. No more constant attention for the Golden. I keep trying to think of ways that I can still give him the same amount of attention that I do now, but I know it's impossible.

The good news is that he is going to have a new friend/family member for the rest of his life, and something tells me that he will love that aspect of what's to come!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Last Month

As I sit here in a freezing house at 3:38 a.m., I am finally realizing why everyone says the last month is the hardest. You are uncomfortable, weird things are happening in your body and, best of all, you don't sleep that much! This is the second night in a row I have woken up at 2:00, wide awake. I tried for the past hour and a half to fall back asleep, but finally succumbed to the fact that it's hopeless and left my husband to get some sleep.

I'm also realizing why most pregnant woman are on edge the last month of their pregnancy - you just never know what's going to happen or when. Prior to this week, I could typically predict how my week was going to go based on how I felt at the beginning of the week. If I was crampy in the first part of the week, then I knew to expect not to feel well the entire week. If I felt great the first part of the week, then I knew I would feel great the entire week.

Now, it's an entirely different story. It's a day-by-day, almost hour-by-hour situation. I'll feel great one hour, and the next several hours, I will be dealing with Braxton Hicks, overall crampiness, or like Thursday night - some slight spotting. But, it's all par for the course, so I'm by no means going to complain. Oh, and by the way, the nurse was not concerned whatsoever about the spotting!

The way I look at it is that my body is starting to prepare itself for getting up at these odd hours. I may as well get used to it, right?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

35 Weeks and Counting!

I read this morning that Smyrna Baby is the size of a small roasted chicken. I thought this was a very good analogy, given that I believe often times the baby has his/her feet tucked in under its body, and in many ways when you pick up a roasted chicken, you can't necessarily determine the back from the butt. Well, at least I can't...


Here is your weekly update, as well as a new picture to keep you entertained.

Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.