Thursday, June 22, 2017

Georgia June - 4 Months

Our baby is 4 months old today!  This age has been so fun.  I definitely miss those newborn days and I am just now realizing how truly fast those days and that phase goes by.  Georgia is the happiest baby I've ever known, she LOVES to flash a flirty little smile and bat her eyes.  She has recently discovered her hands and is always putting them in her mouth, I think she will probably start teething soon!  She is finally able to hold her own pacifier in her mouth now too.  I decided to give her a Lovey because she was constantly putting her dresses and burp clothes in her mouth.  She's also discovered her voice.  She coos and makes all sorts of cute noises, I call them her stories and she loves to tell them often. 

We've been very blessed with a good baby.  If she's crying it means 1 of 2 things, she's hungry or she's tired.  She is still eating roughly ever 2-3 hours and is gaining weight like a champ.  She will go on Tuesday for her 4 month shots and we will get her current stats at that time.  We recently took the body support out of her car seat which means she's definitely a big girl now.  I also put away all of her long-sleeved 3 month clothing which was tough.  If we don't have another girl some day all of those cute clothes will either be saved or sold or donated and its kind of hard to imagine. 

Georgia is a very social butterfly.  We bring her just about everywhere with us.  She's been to 2 weddings so far this summer, she's been to the winery, she's been to New Glarus Wisconsin, she loves the grocery store because there is so much to look at.  We bring her to dinner at least once a week with us, sometimes more.  She got to go in the pool for the first time on my birthday and she loved it.  She was so content and the water was perfect.  In another 2 months we can bring her to the Y to the water babies class which I am really excited for.  She behaves so well wherever we go so it's easy to bring her with us.  She likes to be carried in the SSC and in the Solly and usually falls right to sleep in either of those.

Watching her grow continues to be an amazing experience.  As much as I want her to stay little, seeing her evolve into a tiny person with a personality is pretty awesome.  We are really enjoying the summer with her and we cannot wait to continue to take her on adventures and do all sorts of fun activities with her!  Happy 4 months to our peach!

Friday, June 16, 2017

All Things Breastfeeding

So I am roughly 4 months into breastfeeding Georgia and so far it has been going really well.  Aside from the issues I had in those early days and a clogged duct I had a few weeks ago when she decided to sleep through the whole night, I have had no issues whatsoever with breastfeeding and producing milk.  I'm so thankful that this newest journey has been easy and very rewarding. 

If you follow me at all on Instagram then you know I'm somewhat obsessed with Instagram stories (sorry Snapchat) and I often post videos and photos of my pumping sessions, pictures of how much milk I've frozen for the month, and anything else breastfeeding related I feel is important to share.  I guess I've become somewhat of an advocate (surprise, surprise) for breastfeeding just like I did with infertility.  I get several questions a week in regards to my breastfeeding posts and I am always glad to share my tips and tricks that I've discovered or learned from my own resources that I rely on. 

I thought I would compile a blog post of the questions I get asked the most so it will always be available as a reference for anyone who is looking for some answers.  Those Insta-vids disappear after 24 hours unless you save them so they're pretty much useless after you've viewed them a time or two.

1. Nursing and Drinking
This is the most asked question.  I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not.  If you have some kind of negative judgment towards me about it, keep it to yourself, however, if you're like most & you just want to enjoy a guilt-free drink without worrying if your kid is turning into an infant alcoholic, then here is my advice--use your best judgment...use your mommy instincts to know if you're safe to nurse, if you feel like you don't have any mommy instincts after a few drinks then you probably shouldn't nurse, but if you can safely find (yes, I said find) and care for your baby, you can safely nurse.  I often refer to this article (amongst MANY others) from which states that studies show 1-2 drinks does not harm the baby & that less than 2% of the alcohol actually collects in the milk.  This is what has worked best for me and I am comfortable having 2 drinks and then nursing.  Again, USE YOUR BEST JUDGMENT.

2.  Pumps
So my insurance covered the Ameda Purely Yours double electric pump and I got it for free.  A friend of mine sold me her Medela Pump In Style Advanced, and I ended up buying a Spectra S1 used from a friend of mine.  I've used all 3 pumps enough times to have a pretty good opinion about them and I can honestly say, they're all good pumps.  I do like the Spectra the best because its the quietest, it has a night light, a timer, and it has a rechargeable battery so it's portable.  The Medela and the Ameda are both really great pumps and I did the majority of my pumping so far with the Medela until just recently.  I was able to buy adapters for the Medela bottles (I needed a smaller size flange) from Amazon to use my Medela flanges/bottles with the Spectra pump.  I would recommend making the investment in the Spectra if that's something you're on the fence about.

3.  How do I make so much milk
I honestly don't make "so much" -- I make what is needed by Georgia to keep her satiated and gaining weight.  I do this by nursing her on demand which means when she is hungry she gets to eat, this is roughly every 2-3 hours.  When I am at work I pump every 2-3 hours and some days that means 4 times a day.  It is A LOT of work and it's a commitment.  It helps that my boss and co-workers are supportive and understanding because I have to take so many 15+ minute breaks.  I take what I pump for the day and bring 12oz of it to the sitter the next day, anything left over gets frozen.  Remember milk production is a supply/demand system, your supply will boost if you increase your demand.

4. How did I build my stash
As I stated above, anything over 12oz pumped goes to the freezer, but in order to start my stash and have a well-built supply before returning to work I started early.  One month prior to returning to work I started pumping once a day about 30 minutes after her morning feeding.  It's said that milk is most plentiful between the hours of 1 and 5am so the first couple days I would pump after that first 4-5am feeding, then I pushed back to pumping after her 7am feeding once I felt like I was getting the hang of things.  I would pump maybe 2oz or so which would go in the freezer, well 2oz x day x 30 days equaled out to 60+ ounces frozen in 1 month which I felt was a good back up.  Note: do not start pumping regularly until about 6 weeks after your baby is born unless you are exclusively pumping.  It takes about 6 weeks for your supply to adjust and build once your baby is born and you don't want to create an oversupply by pumping on top of nursing. 

5.  Favorite supplies
May favorite breastfeeding accessory are Lily Padz,  hands down, the best invention ever.  They're silicone & they're sticky, I wear them at night so I don't have to wear a bra & nursing pads.  I do recommend the wash & the wipes with these because regular soap is not recommended for cleaning.  They are the best at preventing leaks!  I love the Target Up&Up storage bags, they're easy, cheap, and freeze well.  I lay them flat in the freezer then I use the 12 pack soda "fridge" packs to store them upright in my freezer upstairs.  Each month I take them all and put them into gallon freezer bags (about 20oz x bag) and put them in the deep freeze.  I highly recommend the Bravado Click & Pump hands-free bra that attaches to my Bravado bra & these that I got from Amazon.  I also like the Simple Wishes hands-free bra.  To carry my pump & cooler I use this Stella & Dot Day Tripper bag which can expand.  I can carry everything I need in this bag & it's super cute. 

6. Favorite resources
I love for all things breastfeeding and parenting, I've found lots of helpful articles and almost always head straight to their website when I'm looking for specific advice.  One of the best books I was recommended was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which was written by Le Leche League so it's seriously tops as far as being THE go-to breastfeeding bible in my opinion.  Other than that, the best breastfeeding resources are others who have been successful!  Ask questions to your friends who are currently or already have breastfed or find a facebook group to join, there are several out there. 

I hope this can be helpful to anyone looking for advice or  has questions about breastfeeding.  I've been lucky that I've had some amazingly supportive mamas helping me through this journey since I got pregnant and I am a very firm believer in researching and educating yourself to become an expert at something that you really want to be successful with.  And as always, contact me with any questions, I'm an open book and am always happy to help!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Georgia June - 3 Months

Well, that's it, my baby is no longer a "newborn" anymore, but officially an infant!  I can't believe it!  She has grown so much and changes so much week to week.  It's pretty hard to believe that 12 weeks ago almost to the hour, I was doing the last of my laboring and considering it to be time for a csection.  I remember by that time I was beyond exhausted, beyond frustrated, and so ready to meet her! 

This last month has been a pretty great one.  I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day which was really awesome.  I got a necklace with Georgia's birthstone and the letter "G", my parents made me a picture with her hand prints, and I was able to enjoy a couple yummy mimosas and visit with friends and family.  The weather finally turned really warm and beautiful Mother's Day weekend which we have really been looking forward to.

Within the last month the biggest change for mama has been returning to work, I'm in my 3rd week back this week.  Georgia started with daycare 2 days a week on Monday in addition to being with my parents the other 3 days.  So far she's doing so well (she's only gone to day care 1 day so far as of today!) and we got a really great report from her sitter.  I know being at daycare will be so good for her when she gets a little older.  She will make some great girlfriends there for sure!
We don't see the doctor this month so I don't have exact stats but I'm willing to bet she's about 12+ pounds.  This girl LOVES to eat and is still nursing so well.  On the days that my parents watch her my mom brings her to me at lunch time so I can nurse her and see her.  It's a great way to break up my work day.   She always has big smiles for me!  I am also pumping 2-3x a day which is a lot of work but also going great.

Georgia is happiest in the morning, she loves to have her diaper changed and be nakey.  She also loves her baths and her daddy.  She smiles and coos so much now and I love listening to her make noises.  She is constantly moving and kicking her little legs.  Her feet are still too narrow for shoes so we just go barefoot all of the time especially now that the weather is warm and we don't need socks!  She rocks at tummy time and loves to lay on her play mat and her Boppy lounger.  She also loves being wrapped/carried.  We recently got the Lillebaby carrier for daddy and she falls right to sleep in that.  We go on lots of errands and outings and she's always very well behaved.  I'm looking forward to taking her on a day trip to Galena for Memorial Day weekend!  She's starting to get the hang of sucking on the paci without help, but that is still a work in progress. 

Every day I dress her up in her cute clothes and a bow.  Her closet is better than mine and I love all of her little outfits.  She gets tons of compliments on how cute she is and I have to say I agree, I might be biased but in my opinion she is the cutest baby to ever exist! ;-)

Three months certainly has gone by fast!  We have so much going on this summer and I can't wait to watch her grow and enjoy everything that we have planned.  Our next big adventure after Galena is mommy's birthday June 8th and a wedding weekend extravaganza, Georgia's Aunt Delaney is getting married on June 9th and some friends of ours are getting married June 10th so that should be a fun filled weekend.  We are also looking forward to Father's Day and daddy's birthday which is also in June.  We're enjoying every second that we have with our girl, she's such a sweet baby and watching her grow has been so amazing!

Monday, May 08, 2017

$50 Picket Fence Giveaway - baby stores Pittsburgh

I am so excited to be hosting this amazing giveaway with The Picket Fence baby stores Pittsburgh!  If you're on the lookout for a super cute or unique gift for yourself, your baby or toddler, or your home, this is a great shop to visit! 

Being a new mom, and even more so a mom to a girl, I find myself buying clothes for her pretty regularly.  Do I have a shopping problem?  I'd say no, Joe would say (or did say) that FedEx should have a terminal at our house for how often they deliver to us... (insert eye roll emoji here) but when I was given the opportunity to host a giveaway with The Picket Fence I jumped on it because it gave me the opportunity to get another perfect little something for my girl! 

Gone are the days of buying everything for myself.  Do I still?  Yes, but the cart either has more for her than it does for me or I'm shopping somewhere that doesn't offer baby stuff!  I could not resist this adorable seersucker romper!  I cannot wait to pair it with a couple of bows and sandals this summer!  The material is so soft and the colors are perfect!

The Picket Fence is giving one lucky winner a $50 credit towards their shop.  Be sure to leave a comment for your official entry & use the Raffelcopter below for more entries!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Georgia June - 2 Months

Ahh! Where has the time gone?!  Our baby girl is 8 weeks old and my maternity leave is about to come to an abrupt halt as of Monday May 1st.  I can't believe my all-day time with her is coming so quickly to an end.  Maternity leave really sucks in this country!  I was lucky to get what I got and have it be paid, but it sure isn't enough time at all in my eyes. 

Georgia has grown leaps and bounds since she was born.  She's smiling, making some noises, and never stops squirming!  She is so alert these days and often times skips out on her naps if I don't help her go down.  She has a serious love affair with ceiling fans right now and can stare at them for literal hours.  We love all the little faces she makes.  Her hair is still coming in and is staying a darker/auburn color.  I can't wait to see it maybe lighten up a bit this summer and continue to fill in.

about a 5 week difference in these pictures

Most of the time she's still sleeping the days away, but she spends more time awake than ever.  We've been going for walks a lot and she usually falls right to sleep as soon as I start pushing the stroller.  I've been doing yoga all month at the Y with my mom so my step dad has been watching her every morning for me.  It's been nice to get some exercise in, I can definitely feel myself getting more flexible and it feels awesome to be practicing yoga again.

Georgia had her 2 month wellness check and she is 2' tall already (96th percentile, aka. she is tall!), she weighs 11 lbs 9.5oz (54th percentile), and her head circumference is 39.25cm (76th percentile, aka. she's a smart cookie with a big brain!) she's growing well and her growth curve is right on.  We did end up vaccinating her (please leave all negative comments/judgements out of your comments) and she did such a great job.  I definitely had tears in my eyes hearing her cry like she did.  

Currently she is wearing newborn pants but cannot fit in any newborn body suits or sleepers anymore.  I spent an afternoon putting most of those smaller things away in a tote and it was so sad!  She fits best in 0-3 month of most brands, although Carter's 3 month stuff fits her well.  Cat & Jack and Oh Joy! seems to run a bit bigger.  Right now we just try things on and see if they work!   I put bows on her everyday and love putting her outfits together!  So fun!   She is also between newborn and size 1 diapers, but should be moving into size 1 permanently soon, once I run out of newborn diapers we are done with those too.  She is able to suck on her pacifier herself pretty well and only needs help every so often.  We just transitioned her into her Halo Bassinest from the Dockatot this week and so far so good!

Georgia also officially has a second biological sister, little miss Hadley, who is almost 2 months to the day younger than her!  We are so happy for our donor and her family on their new addition, we cannot wait to get these kiddos together in person someday.  

We love our peach more and more every single day, she's becoming such a fun little babe and watching her grow has been incredible!

Monday, April 24, 2017

NIAW 2017

Today I am dedicating my blog to National Infertility Awareness Week and to the launch of Justine Brooks Froelker's latest book The Mother of Second Chances, based on her blog Ever Upward releasing on April 17th. For five weeks 25 amazing women will share their stories of infertility and loss as part of this incredible blog tour, because together we can shatter the stigma. 

Friday Sarah shared her story and tomorrow we will hear from Jen author of In Due TimeWe would love for you to participate by sharing these posts far and wide. We’d especially love to see your own broken silence by sharing your own infertility story using the hastags: #NIAW, #infertility and #EverUpward.

Do you know what is the strangest part about infertility?  The other side of it.  Whether you have a child of your own, you use a surrogate, you choose to adopt, you become foster parents, you use an egg or sperm donor; no matter how you get to the other side, that other side seems to be more foreign then being in the throes of infertility.  

You become so accustomed (almost obsessed) with your cycles and when they'll be, and what meds you'll be on, and who your transfer buddy will be, that it really becomes a lifestyle.  You become part of a community of others who are also actively trying for children via assisted reproductive technology, you download countdown apps on your phone & religiously check it and post on Instagram how many days left until X, Y, or Z.  You take the obligatory photo of all of your IVF meds, the ultrasound machine, your transfer socks, and your embryos.  All of this becomes your norm, and for me that was my norm for 3 years.  

Finally after 2 IUI's,  7 IVF cycles; 3 fresh transfers with my own eggs, 3 FET's with my own eggs, an egg donor, a donor IVF cycle, (a partridge and a pear tree) we were blessed with a pregnancy and subsequent baby.  She was A LOT of work.  Like seriously, thousands of miles on my car traveling 2 hours in one direction between 3 different doctors over 3 years, hundreds of needle pricks, vaginal ultrasound prodding, 9 BFN's, blood, sweat, and tears, we got our miracle, and what a miracle she is.  She's E V E R Y T H I N G.

But, I will always be 1 in 8, and still, at this point, with a 2 month old baby, I still feel more in common with my infertility sisters than I do with other moms.  So much of the heartache of our journey has completely faded away.  She was 110% worth all the time and effort that we put into having her, but motherhood is still something I have so much to learn about and infertility is something I'm a goddamn expert on.  I'm not sure motherhood is ever something I'll be able to all myself an "expert" at.  Parenting is a lot like yoga, it's a practice that you're always working at, you never come to the end of your learning (although I highly doubt parenthood is ever as relaxing as yoga) and you're constantly learning.  

This years NIAW theme is Listen Up!  There are lots of ways that you can "listen up", there are so many facts out there to know and learn about infertility such as when to seek treatment, the policies and legislation that can impact family building options, and how to support someone who is going through infertility.  

What "Listen Up" means to me and what I've become so passionate about in regards to infertility is that there are several ways that families can be built.  It's not just about my eggs and my husbands sperm and if that doesn't work then there is no hope.  No, not even close. Egg donation is what gave us our beautiful daughter, but there are many other options including sperm donation, embryo adoption, surrogacy, gestational carriers, fostering, adoption.  The word "traditional" and "family" really don't go together at all these days as there are so many ways to build families beyond a man and a woman procreating.  There are same sex couples, there are single men and women with desires to have children, there are couples who prefer to adopt, there are couples who need someone else to carry their baby. To me it is so important to understand the options available if you're someone who is struggling with infertility and feels as though you might be at the end of your journey because of failed attempts.  It's also important to me to be an advocate for family building options.  Breaking the silence about how families are made today and shattering the stigma and the shame that some people might feel about how they created their family is what "Listen Up" means to me and why I openly share our story as much as I possibly can.  

If you or someone you know is struggling silently with infertility, please know that there are so many wonderful resources and a beautiful community of people who can help.  Please check out the NIAW website for more information.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Over our five year journey to become parents, one thing I was always very sure of was my desire to be able to breastfeed.  The benefits of breast milk, the bond between mother and child, the fact that it's free, that all appealed to me and it was something I knew that I would set out to do, no matter how challenging it might be, once I got pregnant.  

Struggling with infertility and having to go through multiple rounds of IVF and eventually use an egg donor to get pregnant, I was very skeptical about my bodies ability to produce milk.  If my own eggs could not produce a baby, what would make me think my own breasts could produce milk?   Once I was finally pregnant thanks to the beautiful gift of egg donation from our known donor and I realized my body could carry and sustain a healthy pregnancy, I realized the same would go for my ability to produce milk.

Throughout my pregnancy I did tons of reading and researched and prepared myself as best as I could to nurse as soon as our baby girl arrived.  I was very clear in my birth plan that I wanted immediate skin to skin following my unmedicated, natural, water birth so that I could start nursing right away. As most mom's know, labor and birth doesn't always go as planned.  After 36 hours of unmedicated labor I was told I would have to have a cesarean section due to the positioning of the baby.  I was devastated and knew that I wouldn't be able to experience what I had always imagined and that my milk coming in was now being threatened by the fact that I would have to undergo a C-section.

Two long hours after Georgia was born I was finally out of recovery and able to meet my baby. Although I was in quite a blur from lack of sleep and anesthesia, baby girl was placed on my chest and immediately took to nursing all on her own!  I couldn't believe that after all we had gone through for our baby, there I was laying in the hospital bed with her on my chest breastfeeding like such a natural.  It was such a surreal moment for me and one I will always treasure.  Nursing continued to go well in the hospital.  We spent the next day with the lactation consultant in the room for her morning feeding and she showed me some tips, but said overall her latch was good.  

On day two we were sent home.  I continued to nurse Georgia and although she was gaining weight and eating often, I was experiencing a lot of pain, cracked and bleeding nipples, and feeling utterly discouraged.  Because of these things I desperately wanted to quit, but also kept reminding myself of the immense benefits she was getting from my breast milk so I pushed through the pain and fought through the tears.  I knew in the back of my mind based on all the research and reading I had done that this type of pain was not normal.  Eventually, after a night of agonizing pain and lots of tears I called the lactation consultant to reevaluate her latch.  She told me to  pump on the painful side for a couple days and treat the gouge in my nipple with triple antibiotic and hydro-cortisone.  She also found Georgia had a lip-tie but that we could probably forego surgery.  

After a few days of pumping and treating my nipple the pain subsided and I began to enjoy nursing again.  Although we had some really hard days in the beginning, especially as a first time mommy, I am so glad that we continued to nurse.  Luckily with the support of my husband, family, lactation consultant, doula, midwife, and OB, we were able to overcome the obstacles and have continued to have a very successful breastfeeding journey so far.   

Breastfeeding truly is one of the hardest and most challenging parts of being a mom that I have experienced in my short 6 weeks as a parent, but it has also been unbelievably rewarding and I love the bond that we are able to share.  In the long run what it really boils down to is that our babies are healthy and fed, no matter what or how.  A healthy, happy, baby is the most important thing in the end and as long as our babies are fed, then it really doesn't matter where their food comes from.  If at some point I end up having to supplement with formula then so be it.  I think the key to success for moms who want to nurse is to eat a well balanced diet, take the necessary vitamins, surround yourself with a support system, seek help if you're feeling discouraged, but never be hard on yourself for the choices that you have to make to keep your baby healthy.

We have been very fortunate that nursing has gone so well for us.  That isn't always the case for everyone.  It is easy to get discouraged, caring for a tiny human is real challenge, but being able to produce the milk needed to sustain that tiny human's life is truly a beautiful thing and one that I'm so thankful I am getting to experience.  

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

6 Weeks Postpartum

I can't believe I'm already six weeks postpartum!  If I would've had Georgia vaginally, I'd be planning on going back to work already in another week.  That is definitely a plus to having a c-section, I get an additional two weeks off to be home with my girl!  Maternity leave in the US totally sucks!  

So as you can tell in the picture, Georgia is not always a happy camper.  According to the Wonder Weeks app Georgia is going though her first leap in her mental development meaning she is experiencing rapid maturation of metabolism, internal organs, and senses.  She'll be more alert, but is also experiencing a stormy period, aka. crying for no reason, fussy, and fighting sleep.

Although we're having a rough couple days, she is still such an amazingly adorable little peanut.  She's got a pretty severe case of baby acne and diaper rash right now.  She also has a small touch of cradle cap.  She's still wearing some newborn clothes but is also quickly growing into her 0-3 month stuff as well.  She has the chunkiest cheeks and the cutest double chin.  Taking baths and being naked, two things she really hated before, she now enjoys.  We give her baths every other day right now.  I'm trying to get her on somewhat of a routine but since she's fighting sleep it's been tough getting her down when I want her to.  I feed her every 2-3 hours, sometimes more, still on demand.  At night her stretches of sleep time are starting to get longer, she's sleeping an average of 4 hours now so we are waking up less each night.  Once she gets to sleep at night she's a wonderful sleeper!

As for mama, I'm doing well.  I had my six week PP checkup yesterday and I'm down 40 pounds.  I have three more pounds to lose before I reach my PP weight of 116.  I was about 160 when Georgia was born, I'd say 10 pounds of which was all swelling/fluid gained in the last 3-4 weeks of my pregnancy.  I've been released to return to all normal activity and I am released to work on 4/24.  I'm taking the following week off as vacation so I'll be returning to work on 5/1.  Although I love being home, I know that going back to work is what is right for me and I know it will be a good balance for my life.  It will be tough, but we will get through it!

I thought I'd mention and link some of the things that go us through these first six weeks with a baby, there really are some great things out there for parents and for babies.  

DockATot - thrilled with this. we have the Deluxe which is good for use to 9 months, we may end up with the Grand once she gets bigger.
Rock N Play Auto Rocker - she loves it, it rocks it self, no other explanation necessary
Lily Padz - these silicone breast pads are amazing.  I wear them at night because they stick on and I don't have to wear a bra and nursing pads to bed.
Halo Swaddlesure - so much easier than trying to swaddle her in a blanket, bonus, she cannot get her hands out because she's velcroed in
Solly Baby Wrap - hands down one of the best items I registered for a received.  She loves it and it gives me the ability to be mobile while still having her close.
  Milkies Milk Trays - This was a genius idea.  This basically makes breast milk popsicles, each tray freezes eight 1oz milk sticks which I then just bag into breast milk storage bags.  I know that they're exactly 1oz so there isn't any questioning about how much I'm thawing and there's less waste!
Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller/Car Seat - I love this car seat and this stroller.  They're so easy to use!  I've taken Georgia for a few walks now and I love how smooth the ride feels.

It's been an amazing six weeks.  We've had lots more good days and moments than bad and I'm so thankful for all the time we get to spend together.  Although Joe is back with his regular job, because of all the rain we've had he's actually had the last couple of weeks off with us so he's been around for about the whole month which has been really amazing as well.  I know this next month off before returning to work is going to fly, I'm planning to enjoy it as much as I can and soak up every second possible with baby girl.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Georgia June - 1 month

It feels like as soon as Georgia was born time decided to speed up even faster than it seemed to be going while I was pregnant.  The days have absolutely flown by and I know my maternity leave will be up soon and life will again be changing in a big way.  Georgia's first week of life was somewhat of a blur.  We spent 2 days with her in the hospital and then came home only to have Joe going back to work the next day.  I never thought just sitting around at home for hours on end and doing absolutely nothing but nursing and watching Friends reruns could go by so fast.  

Our little perfect peach is a month old already!  She is seriously such a great baby.  We have certainly had some rough nights, but for the most part she sleeps great, wakes herself at night when she's ready to eat, loves being walked around the house, & loves her rock n play.  Her daddy is smitten with her and does a great job of caring for her and helping take some of the work off of me when he can.  She just started to take a bottle and eats like a champ.  

We've taken her on a couple of outings and everyone compliments how beautiful she is.  We had some family photos taken this past weekend and I cannot wait to see them.  Afterwards we took her to lunch at Uptown where of course, she decided she was hungry at the same time mom ordered a glass of wine.  I've had to nurse her twice now at restaurants, but no one seems to mind.  I also took her to August Hill with my mom and my friend Jessica to visit.  All of the employees were so excited to meet her.  I carried her around in my Solly wrap and she slept the entire time.  

Our breastfeeding journey is going really well.  Although it's demanding and a lot of work, it's been some of my favorite moments.  I can soak every detail of her in while she's nursing; her little hands, usually kind of cold on my skin, I just love how she grabs onto my side or my finger or my shirt.  Her little lashes and eyebrows, they're so fair.  And that hair that she's actually managed to keep!  I love to look at her skinny legs and narrow feet, usually lifeless when she's nursing, although sometimes tense and stretched out.  She's seriously the greatest.  

At her 1 month wellness appointment she was 9lbs 6oz (63 %) which is over a pound more than what she weighed at birth (8 lbs 2oz) and almost two pounds more than what she weighed when left the hospital (7lbs 10oz) so she is growing like a weed so far.  She is also 22.5" (98th%)  which is 1.5" more in length than she was at birth (21").  She's got a redish tint to her otherwise dark blonde hair, she's got quite the stork bite on the back of her neck too.  Her eyes are blue and she's very alert and now looking at us in the face and responding to noises.  

This last month has been one like no other.  Being Georgia's mama has been nothing short of amazing.  She has challenged me in ways I have never been challenged and I've loved her in ways I didn't know was possible.  Being a family of 3 (or 5 if you count the furbabies!) is the best.  I love watching Joe love on her, it's the sweetest thing.  I know we are both proud to be her parents and I'm so thankful that the journey that we took to get pregnant led us to her.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Newborn Photos

We got our newborn photos back of Georgia and they are so perfect!  I just love every one of them!  Joe wasn't able to be at the original photo shoot because of work so we went back this past weekend for some family photos we will be getting back soon, but I couldn't wait to share these!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mom Life

Last night Georgia and I were both in tears.  She was hungry, I was tired, and we were both frustrated.  I'm pretty sure I nursed her 5-6 times within 4 hours and nothing seemed to be satisfying her.  It was rough and the hormones definitely don't help the situation but after I finally bit the bullet and let her nurse off my left side which is in excruciating pain from a bad crack, she was satiated and we were both able to finally get some sleep.  My instincts were telling me that she had nursed too much on the right and wasn't getting enough.  I was right, I wish I would've realized it sooner.

Luckily most of our nights have been the opposite of this.  Georgia is a champ at nursing and sleeping.  She's sleeping through the night and I'm waking her to feed about every 3-4 hours.  I've been getting great sleep myself, something I never expected to happen in these early days and I'm taking full advantage because I know those days are probably numbered.  I've been a mom now for 16 days and these 16 days have flown by, even just sitting around doing nothing but staring at her or watching countless reruns of Friends on Netflix, I'm soaking in as much as I possibly can because every day she changes so much.  

You might be wondering how on Earth I have time to type up a blog post, I kinda wonder that myself but she is currently fed and napping in her rock n play so I figured I'd take a quick moment to do an update.  I've been lucky that my parents have been over practically every day which gives me a chance to shower, do a load of laundry, eat an uninterrupted meal, etc. we just really miss Joe and hope that he gets to be done with the outage soon.  We are ready to spend some time as a family of three.  He's actually more exhausted right now than I am!  

I've definitely had my bouts of crying and my moments of frustration but Georgia is seriously a great baby who rarely ever fusses unless she's hungry.  I love getting her dressed in cute outfits every day and putting a little bow on her head, I never imagined I'd actually get to be on this side of our infertility journey and enjoying what it's like to be the mom to a daughter.  Joe said to me the other day, "can you believe we have a baby" and it feels so surreal that we actually do HAVE A BABY.  We are so in love with her & everything about being her parents, the hard times and the good times.  

For those wondering, I am recovering really well from the c-section.  I'm less than 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and everything else is healing well.  I've been released to drive, to do yoga, and to walk so I'm hoping we get some warm weather during my weeks off so that we can take some walks outside.  I'm already 2 weeks into my 8 week maternity leave, but I'm taking an additional week of vacation at the end so I won't be going back to work until around the first week of May.  The time is already passing too quickly and it will be over in no time I'm sure.  That being said, I'm off to go tend to my babe.  

Quickly though, for anyone still struggling, or anyone considering donor eggs, embryos, sperm, adoption, or surrogacy, DO IT.  Just do it, don't worry about "what if she/he doesn't look like me", don't worry about the fact that the DNA of your child isn't yours, all of that worry will be nothing but an afterthought and I can tell you it was 100% worth the time, the money, the tears, the frustrations, the losses, the pain, all of it, for THIS girl.  

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Nursery Tour

Putting Georgia's nursery together was one of my absolute favorite parts of this journey.  I have always envisioned what my babies nursery would be and I'll be honest, Georgia's turned out a little differently then I had ever planned, but I am so in love with every detail! Some of the pictures below are from our maternity session so the quality is 100% better than the ones that I've taken myself.  I am very amateur with my SLR camera still so bare with my photos please & thank you!  I tried to site as many sources as I could at the bottom.

The things I've gotten the most questions and compliments on are definitely the area rug , the cactus lamp, and the activity gym!  Lots of these pieces were also hand/custom made either as gifts or as items I just really had to have.  The wood slice is one of my favorite pieces.  I actually ended up getting one for Joe's parents for Christmas & one for my donor as a housewarming gift when they moved into their new home.  Great prices, and you cannot go wrong with personalized, handmade pieces.  The turquoise and peach dreamcatcher was also handmade and gifted to us by a friend and she totally nailed it & the colors!I 

I wanted a way to be able to display all the bows and headbands that she will certainly be wearing every day so I thought a jewelry tree would be cute.  I had a different one in mind (a bigger one that I actually have for my own jewelry that is 3 arrows) but I found this smaller gold one at the Dollar Spot at Target and it worked perfectly.  My friends also made me the Georgia arrow bow holder and handmade some of the bows for me for a shower gift!

The cactus lamp was one of the very first things I purchased once we found out it was a girl. There are 3 or 4 versions of that lamp and the mint and pink one happened to be my favorite so once we knew it was a girl I ordered it like the next day!  One of my favorite pieces and it happens to be made out of plastic so it's safe when she starts to get her hands on everything. 

Once we got our maternity pictures back I decided to put a few up around the nursery along with a picture of Amy and I and a picture of baby girl the day she was transferred, not many people can say that they have a picture of themselves as an embryo!  I hope that we can use both of those pictures to teach baby girl about her roots, how hard we worked to conceive her, and what an extraordinary gift that was given to us by Amy.  It's important to us that being a donor egg baby is just second nature to her and we want to start introducing her to that part of her life early on.  I figure having a picture of Amy for her to look at every day is a really great way to start.   

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Georiga June Ridley

Our 5-years-in-the-making miracle is here!  Georgia June Ridley was born on Wednesday 2/22/17 at 12:38pm via c-section.  She was 8lbs2oz and 21 inches long!  We are so in love!

On Monday I was off work for President's Day.  I woke up and noticed I had lost most of my mucous plug which I found to be exciting but also knew that could mean days or even weeks before labor would come and baby girl would be here.  Over the weekend I felt totally the same, she was still lodged up into my ribs/lungs and I felt as uncomfortable as I had been but Monday I felt a little different. I mentioned it to Joe, mentioned it at my doctor's appointment, but we continued to just plan for her to come on March 4th.

Tuesday morning I was up early, I slept like crap and ended up deciding to just lay there awake until my alarm went off.  I got on my phone and instantly felt something, thinking it was more of my mucous plug, I got up and went to the bathroom and instantly starting noticing my water was breaking.  Joe slept on the couch that night and noticed he happened to be up already, I heard him in the bathroom and called for him.  He said he knew instantly that something was going on.  I called into work and told them what happened and that I wouldn't be in.

I started Googling "water breaking with no contractions" and found this happens in about 10% of pregnancies and that labor would start any time up to about 48 hours.  It's referred to as Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) and it's not an emergency type of situation.  I called my mom, texted my doula, and Joe stayed home with me for the day.  My doula recommended going for some walks to get things progressing.  My mom came over and we all 3 walked outside.  I felt pretty good and had very few minor contractions throughout the day.  Finally in the late afternoon a friend suggested I try nipple stimulation as they made her do it for about an hour in the hospital.  I tried it and it worked immediately.  Contractions started coming on and were pretty consistent right off the bat 7-8 minutes or so apart.  

Around the time I started stimulation, I called the OB department and they told me their policy was for me to come in since my water had already broken because there is concern for infection.   Most of what I read had said that infection can only really happen by being checked or introducing anything into the vagina after the water had broken which for me had not happened so I chose to stay at my house, get my doula over, and labor at home for a few hours.  My doula came around 8pm and we labored at home, walking the halls, doing lunges, dancing around, bouncing on the ball, and working through the contractions until about 11pm when my contractions were about 4 minutes apart.  

We got the hospital and got admitted and hooked up to the wireless monitor right away.  They were having a hard time getting Georgia's heart beat to rise and fall, they typically like to see it go up and down and here's was staying flat.  They had me turn on music and put it up to my belly (I chose Judas Priest), they had me get in a bathtub and turn on jets to see if she'd respond, they had me drinking sugary drinks to get her up, it took us awhile but she slowly started to respond.  My midwife checked me and found that I was only dilated to maybe a 3-5, but she couldn't really tell without hurting me. They also determined that she was turned kind of sideways instead of post or anterior like she should have been, this is what brought on our biggest challenge.  Because we found out early we planned on laboring in lots of different positions while contractions were happening to get her to turn.  

In the mean time they filled the tub for the water birth and allowed me to get in and work through some contractions in there, I was making little progress and was experiencing full blown labor with no pain meds whatsoever at this point.  Eventually they had me get out of the tub and get in bed and we did all kind of different laboring positions, on my hands and knees, on my side, standing, doing lunges on a stool, using a robozo, you name it, I tried it.  At this point contractions were strong and I decided to try the nitrous oxide, aka, laughing gas.  It worked really well to help relax me but you still feel every single pain that comes along with each contraction.  It worked best after a contraction to kind of calm me more than anything.  

Around 7am with little progress, a shift change for the nurses and midwife, and me being in tons of pain and totally exhausted I had Joe call my mom and tell her to come.  They checked me and I was dilated to an 8 so we figured she'd be here soon.  My mom got there and we continued pressing through contractions all while getting the tub filled up and ready.  By 9am I was checked again and told I was complete.  I had also been checked by the new nurse that came on at 7.  I was told I could start pushing.  I pushed and pushed, contractions seemed to be slowing down as far as I could tell but I pushed hoping she would come.  Checked again and no progress had been made and she was still sideways.  They let me push for another 30 minutes then told me the doctor was going to have to be called.  After 30 minutes of no changes the doctor was called.  She said they'd give me 2 more hours to get baby here and if she wasn't then we needed to reevaluate and consider a csection.  We tried a few more things but I was so exhausted I couldn't do anymore, they suggested I get the laughing gas again and just work through my contractions without pushing so I did.  

I ended up feeling really upset about needing the csection.  I told myself I'd be flexible and I was trying but after all I had gone through I couldn't believe that I wasn't able to push her out myself.  Joe, my mom, and my doula, reminded me of how hard I had worked over the last day and a half and that I was able to do everything I wanted to and that I had tried extremely hard but we needed to get her here safely so I felt OK with the situation and accepted that I was going to have a csection and be meeting my baby soon.

After what felt like an eternity they got me into the OR around 12pm, they did the spinal and I instantly felt better.  I don't think I had ever been as exhausted in my life as I was Wednesday morning. They let Joe come in and within minutes I had her laying on my chest and got to see her for the first time.  I was so thankful they allowed a could seconds of skin to skin as that was on my birth plan and something I really was looking forward to.  It was amazing to see her and I just couldn't believe she was finally here!  They whisked her and Joe away for their skin to skin time while I was stitched up and taken to recovery.  She was born at 12:38pm.

Finally at 2:30 they took me up to meet here again.  I was able to have my skin to skin at that time and she latched on and started nursing immediately.  I was in such a fog and so much of those first few hours of meeting her was such a blur.  We were finally all together as a family of 3 and it was so amazing.  My mom and doula were there as well & we took a bunch of pictures and just relished in the moment for awhile.  

Although in the end it didn't go at all as I expected, I was so happy she was finally here safe and sound.  She is perfectly healthy, has no issues at all, she's nursing like a champ, and we are adjusting to life as a family of 3.  Joe went back to work on Saturday and we were released on Friday so he didn't get much time home.  Luckily my mom has been here and helping me which has been amazing. It allows me the time to do things like shower, and type up this blog post!  The doctor said I'm a perfect candidate for VBAC and I am already recovering really well and feeling really good.  We are so smitten with our little bundle of  joy.  My heart just bursts when I see Joe holding her and talking to her, I can just tell he is so in love with her and it's so amazing.  She was truly worth every minute of the time it took for us to get  pregnant with her.  She was absolutely worth the wait.  

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