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.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Maternity Photos

So as you guys might remember me mentioning, I actually had 2 maternity sessions.  One was a more intimate almost boudoir-like session I did with a friend, and the other was more of a lifestyle shoot we did with our friends/wedding photographers.  I never ever knew if I'd get the pleasure to pose for maternity photos and this was by far one of the best parts of my entire pregnancy.  I wore my maternity dress for the lifestyle session and ended up in a couple different outfits for the boudoir session.  I am so thrilled with how both turned out, although the boudoir session photos I am mostly keeping to myself, the milk bath photos turned out so amazing and I'm so happy we attempted them!

Seriously I couldn't tell you which is my favorite because there are so many and I am in love with every single one of them.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

38 Weeks

How far along? 38w
Gender: Girl
Weight Gain? At least 40 pounds by now, I believe a lot of the last couple pounds I put on was entirely due to the swelling I am experiencing at my feet, ankles, and legs, I mean total sausage toes, kankles, etc. by the end of the day.  None of my shoes fit well anymore and I've resorted to moccasins pretty much every day.
Maternity Clothes?  90% maternity at all times.  Lots of Joe's shirts & sweat shirts because none of my own comfy clothes fit me well anymore. 
Stretch Marks? None!
Belly button in or out?  Officially out!
Sleep:  Thankfully Unisom is pregnancy friendly otherwise I'd never get a full night of rest.  Not that I even get a FULL night of rest when I take it, but it definitely helps.  I will usually take it maybe once a week or twice a week to get a couple of good nights of sleep then I spend the other nights tossing and turning, up using the bathroom, trying to shift into a position where I can breathe, trying to shift into a position where my nose is not stuffed up, etc. etc.
Best moment this week:  Getting our maternity photos back from our second shoot!  I'm so glad we did two shoots because both were different and both turned out amazing.  I will be sharing a photo dump later in the week, if you're interested now you can check a few out on Instagram.
Symptoms:  Difficulty breathing, rib pain, back pain, swollen feet, carpel tunnel/tingling in hands, RLS at night, heartburn, exhaustion, congestion.  Luckily all things that are not serious!  Pretty much just totally uncomfortable most of the time.
Miss Anything?  I am ready to have my body back.  I LOVE being pregnant and I have enjoyed every moment of it, especially since my was so smooth, but I am ready to be able to stomach sleep again and just be comfortable again.  
Movement?  Movement is starting to slow down somewhat as she is pretty much out of room at this point. 
Queasy or sick?  Noting at all!
Looking forward to? A 3 day weekend so I can get some extra rest!  Thankfully we are off Monday for Presidents Day and I am planning to take full advantage of my couch and my sweats!
Signs of Labor?  Nothing yet.  I will be happy if she makes it to 40 weeks, we want her as cooked as possible.

Monday, February 13, 2017

37 Weeks - FULL TERM

How far along? 37w2d
Gender: Girl
Weight Gain? 35+ pounds (my pregnancy app says I should be done growing!)
Maternity Clothes?  90% maternity at all times.  Lots of Joe's shirts & sweat shirts because none of my own comfy clothes fit me well anymore. 
Stretch Marks? None!
Belly button in or out?  Officially out!
Sleep:  Sleep has been better.  Although my CTS is really bad in my right hand and both hands tend to get swollen and lose feeling in them to the point of pain, I am getting decent sleep.  Still up a lot to pee & have to pretty much wake up to get myself rolled over, but I'm just taking it as it comes.  I'm definitely in nesting mode, but I'm trying to limit my activities and focus on rest.  I saw one of the OB's in the office at my appointment on Friday and he said that at this point there is no such thing as bed time being "too early" he said the earlier the better because labor tends to peak about 2am & I will want to be well rested.  Another mama gave me some similar advice this weekend and said that I should just get as must rest as possible because labor is so exhausting. 
Best moment this week:  It was a pretty uneventful week.  I had an amazing prenatal massage, but other than that it was pretty quiet.  Joe is in full swing working 12's at the outage so it's been quiet at home too. 
Symptoms:  Difficulty breathing, rib pain, back pain, swollen feet, carpel tunnel/tingling in hands, RLS at night, heartburn, exhaustion, congestion.  Luckily all things that are not serious!  Pretty much just totally uncomfortable most of the time.
Miss Anything?  Being able to breath & be comfortable.  Walking like a normal person and not like a penguin.
Movement?  Movement is starting to slow down somewhat as she is pretty much out of room at this point.
Cravings?  I never really had any crazy cravings my entire pregnancy, mostly sweets, which I think was a big contributing factor the amount of weight I gained, although I did not gain an ounce anywhere but my stomach. 
Queasy or sick?  Noting at all!
Looking forward to? Our doula comes for her home visit tonight so she can get familiar with where I live and we can discuss possible places to labor at home.  We will go over our birth plan with her as well.  I have another prenatal massage which I always look forward to, seriously I highly recommend treating yourself to several of them throughout your pregnancy if you're not already.
Signs of Labor?  Nothing yet.  I will be happy if she makes it to 40 weeks, we want her as cooked as possible.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Prepping to Nurse - Nursing Resources, Nursing Gear & Nursing Bras

So you may wonder why someone who hasn’t even given birth yet thinks they’re qualified or experienced enough to write about nursing bras, nursing gear, & nursing resources  Well, if you know me personally or have followed me for any length of time then you know I am a planner and a researcher.  I have done my homework and then some in regards to nursing because it's something I feel very strongly about, but I know that success doesn't always come easy.

For me the first step in planning to nurse was getting my hands on some good resources.  I decided to dive right into the world of breastfeeding and have tried to learn as much as I possibly can before baby comes.  I can’t call myself an expert because our peach hasn’t entered the world yet and we aren’t even sure that nursing is going to work out but one thing I am sure of is that I am going to go into it as prepped as possible. 

As far as resources go, the best recommendation I got was a breastfeeding book, this was given to me by a fellow blogger, Laura.  She is someone I would definitely consider an expert as she has successfully nursed her two children, one of them to two years and beyond and is currently nursing her youngest.  She told me the only book I needed to read was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which is a book written by the women of Le Leche League.  It contains a plethora of knowledge and she was right, it is the only book you would ever need to prepare and make it through breastfeeding. 

I took it a bit farther and also decided to download some videos from Lactation Link, another resource that I found to be very helpful.  I purchased all 3 of her videos including Breastfeeding Basics, Breastfeeding Hurdles & How-To's, and Pumping & Storing.  All 3 videos are mine forever so I can watch them anytime.  Joe and I also took a class at our local hospital about breastfeeding which was taught by the hospitals lactation consultant.  

For nursing gear, I went to my experts, aka. my friends who are or who have gone through nursing recently.  A couple necessities I decided on were a good nipple cream, a nursing pillow, and either reusable or disposable nursing pads.  I felt like all three of these items would be helpful.  I didn't want to make too much of an investment into nursing before I even knew if I would be successful.  As far as pumps go I was able to get my pump covered by insurance and then actually purchased a second pump from a friend who was no longer using hers so I only have $40 invested into those because my insurance covered 100% of my double electric pump.    

When it comes to nursing bras, simply put, there are tons out there.  Everything from your classic black, nude, and pink, to sexy and fun lingerie style bras, there is certainly something for everyone on the market!  At this point I’m not sure what will work for me and what won’t, but I am definitely prepared with a couple different options.  

When choosing a bra a couple things to take into consideration would be first of all, size.  I’ve heard some different opinions on this but I think the best recommendation is to take your measurements at eight to nine months pregnant and maybe even measure again after the baby is born since our breasts will change quite a bit with nursing.  I got mine well before I was eight months pregnant so I upped my size and that seemed to work for me.  

The second thing would be style.  The options are truly endless.  For me I want a few that can be worn every day, your black, white, nude, pink, comfortable-style bras, but I also thought I might want something a little prettier, sexier, and with some additional support/padding for nights out with the hubby or maybe even for returning to work.  Whatever your preference is as far as style is concerned, there is something for everyone on the market!   There are even nursing tanks, dresses, and tops on the market that come in tons of different styles.  It's wonderful that there are so many options available to mamas who are nursing.  

For working moms or any mom who cannot give up both hands while pumping, a hands-free pumping bra came highly recommended to me as well.  Let's face it, it's not often that we are actually free to sit down for 20 minutes and not have to multi-task in some way, shape, or form.  The hands-free bra allows for you to continue working, eating your breakfast, taking care of your other child, answering emails, or, if you are lucky enough to get to relax read a book all while pumping.  

Right now I have no idea if nursing will work for us, I am going to give it my all and I really do hope that we can be successful.  Like I said in the beginning, I am not at all an expert by any means, so I would love to hear from mama's who are or have nursed, what worked best for you and what didn't?  What were some things you had to have and things you could've lived without?

This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.

Monday, February 06, 2017

36 Weeks

How far along? 36w2d
Gender: Girl
Weight Gain? I think about 35 pounds
Maternity Clothes?  90% maternity at all times.  I squeezed myself into my shower dress one more time for maternity pictures on Saturday too, I don't see that happening again!
Stretch Marks? None!
Belly button in or out?  Officially out!
Sleep:  Sleep is just something I take if I can get.  Some nights I get good sleep, some nights I am up 5 or 6 times to the bathroom because my bladder feels full like 99% of the time, some nights my cat agitates me for 4 hours, it really  just depends.  I know that soon we will have a baby in the house and sleep will probably be pretty out of whack for awhile anyway.  I am just trying to make sure I get good rest each day.  Joe is on seven 12's now and will be until baby girl comes.  His shift will be 6:30-6:30 and he probably won't be home until about 7 to 7:30 each night with no days off, I'm going to use that time to just relax as much as I can.  I'm making very little plans and commitments during the week except for prenatal massages, doctor visits, and maybe a dinner or two at my parents or something.  Other than that I will come home from work each day, maybe do a few small things around the house, and then get on the couch and just relax as much as I can.  I'd say we got everything done we need to for Georgia's arrival including packed bags, car seat installment, nursery completion, clothes washing, etc. we are pretty much ready.  I don't have many excuses NOT to rest.
Best moment this week:  Maternity photos!  Yes, we had our second round of maternity photos with our wedding photographers on Saturday and I cannot wait to see them!  I was able to see one and it was seriously STUNNING!  We did some really cute lifestyle shots in the nurser and our room and then we headed outside, it was blustery,windy, cold, and grey, but boy did my magenta dress pop!  We even ventured down by the river and took some shots that I know are going to just be so breath taking!  I also got a couple back from my shoot I did last weekend and I just love how the milk bath ones turned out especially!  
Symptoms:  Difficulty breathing, rib pain, back pain, swollen feet, carpel tunnel/tingling in hands, RLS at night, heartburn, exhaustion, congestion.  Luckily all things that are not serious!  Pretty much just totally uncomfortable most of the time.
Miss Anything?  Went for Mexican the other night and seriously started to crave a margarita, although I think a mimosa will be my first postpartum cocktail, I may need to ease back into alcohol, especially since I'm planning to nurse and I don't think tequila is a good place to start!
Movement?  Moves around in the morning and in the evening but I consider her to be relatively calm and I'm hoping she stays that way when she's here! HAH!
Cravings?  Did I mention margarita?
Queasy or sick?  Noting at all!
Looking forward to? I have a prenatal massage and a doctors appointment this week, both of which I'm looking forward to.  I'm also looking forward to being considered 37 weeks aka. FULL TERM on Saturday!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Prepping for Labor - Eating Dates

I can't believe we are possibly less than 4 weeks away from meeting baby girl!  It's a pretty crazy concept to wrap my head around when I think about it, but I think we are as ready as we can be for being first-time parents.  The nursery is done for the most part, all of her clothes are washed and hung up, my hospital bag is packed, her diaper bag is packed, and the car seat is in the car!  All we need is for her to come, but we are hoping she stays in and bakes a full 40 if possible!

I think most of you know that I am planning a natural, unmedicated, water birth as long as she cooperates.  I've read everything I think I can about natural labor & water birth, we took our required classes, and so far she has been cooperative enough to make me think it will be possible.  Obviously I've never birthed a child so I could easily, in the midst of labor demand an epidural, but that's what I hired a doula for, to help keep us (mostly me) with our heads in the game and stick to our plan if at all possible.  Our hospital does offer nitrous-oxide, also known as laughing gas which is just a temporary relief and allows you to continue to be up and out of bed and laboring/birthing in whatever position you need so if anything, that is all I plan to use.

When I started really reading into natural birth and ways to get my body prepped I found tons of great articles and I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone considering a natural birth.  One thing I read that really stuck out in my mind was eating dates.  I had read this early on in a post from Detoxinista and instantly thought, well that seems like it'd be pretty easy, and saved it for later.  I read it again in a post from Mama Natural (another great source for all things natural) and I really was convinced I would try the dates.  

Dates are recommended to be started 4 weeks prior to due date.  The recommended daily intake is 6 dates a day.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • Have intact membranes upon admission to the hospital
  • Go into labor spontaneously
  • Avoid pitocin
  • And have a shorter first phase of labor
Dates have actually been found to have an oxytocin-like effect on the body leading to increased sensitivity of the uterus. It also helps stimulate uterine contractions, and reduces postpartum hemorrhage the way oxytocin does. They also found that it contains many nutritional benefits for pregnant mamas.  Dates contain natural sugar, fiber, potassium, vitamin K, folate & magnesium. Obviously there are tons of benefits to dates.

So, I've been sharing how I've been eating dates on my Instagram and have been asked by several people for the recipes so I figured I'd share the few that I've tried so far, and really loved!

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie
1 frozen banana (ripe, peeled, and sliced, then frozen)
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup of milk (either dairy, almond, or coconut, whichever you prefer)
4 dates (soaked in warm water & sliced for easier blending)
Add all ingredients to the blender, mix, and enjoy!

Strawberry & Dates Smoothie
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 cup of milk (either dairy, almond, or coconut, whichever you prefer)
4 dates (soaked in warm water & sliced for easier blending)
1/4 cup of vanilla yogurt (I like this Oikos Greek Triple Zero yogurt with 15 grams of protein)
Add all ingredients to the blender, mix, and enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana
1 cup of cooled Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (also helps to aid a smoother labor/birth)
4 dates (soaked in warm water for easier blending)
1 pakcet of Stevia (I use Truvia)
Add all ingredients to the blender, mix, and enjoy!

There are lots of variations you can do, dates don't have a ton of taste and the brand I got I believe they are rolled in sugar so they're really not bad on their own.  I typically eat 2 of them just plain by themselves and add 4 to the blender.  I also have been eating Larabar's which contain maybe 1-2 dates depending on the size of the bar.  They have all kinds of yummy flavors like lemon & cherry pie.  I also found Quaker Instant Oatmeal Raisin, Date, & Walnut which is pretty good.  Oatmeal has tons of benefits and actually is really great to eat while breastfeeding so I'll continue my oatmeal kick for awhile.  

I will also link you to this Mama Natural article about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea.  I wish I would have started drinking it sooner, but I am not a fan of tea at all so I'm glad I was able to incorporate it into a smoothie for easier consumption.  Apparently there are RRLT capsules you can take instead so I might try those once I get through my first box of tea.  

Hoping that all of this stuff works and allows for a quick and easy birth! 

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