Sunday, August 31, 2014

she's here

After 40 weeks and 6 days of waiting, Norah finally decided to grace us with her presence on Thursday August 28th at 7:28am. She weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 21 inches long. Absolutely perfect and absolutely gorgeous!

I fully intend to share Norah's entire birth story here. I really enjoyed reading other people's stories to help me prepare for my own labor, and hopefully mine will be helpful to someone else. It may be a while before I post our story though, or post anything at all.

While Norah's birthday was easily the best day of my entire life, it was also the most challenging. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Truthfully, I think I am still comprehending everything that happened.

Norah's entrance in this world involved me being nearly a week overdue and a scheduled induction. I thought that was nerve wracking, so imagine my surprise when a labor I anticipated being 12 or so hours happened in under 5. It was so fast I was actually almost traumatized by how everything just happened so fast and without my control. I thought that would be the climax of the day. But that wasn't the case at all.

Our baby's birthday also involved a (treatable and manageable- but still scary) heart condition, me in absolute hysterics, a lot of unknowns and confusion, a short NICU visit, a longer CICU visit at a Children's hospital across town (that I wasn't able to join Will and Norah at until 24+ hours after delivery), and what is unquestionably about 48 or so of the hardest hours of my entire life. And what I hope will always be the hardest hours of my entire life.

I have a way of calming myself down any time I get upset or sad about something I can't control. I repeat this phrase inside my head: "This isn't the worst thing you've ever been to. It will pass, and everything will be OK." It always helps. For the first time in my life, it was the worst thing I've ever been through, I didn't know if everything would be OK, and I didn't know if it would ever pass.

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself here. I will absolutely come back with the full story. But after my poor innocent baby being ripped away from me literally seconds after birth, and spending her first few days of life being poked and prodded and tested and all kinds of other things that are unbearable to think about, it may be a while. I will be enjoying my home and my family much more than I ever thought possible.

Monday, August 25, 2014

40+3 and our "overdue" weekend

This post lacks in pictures and organization, but I can't be held accountable for much these days.

Well, here we are. Another Monday, and I'm still pregnant. We're 40 weeks + 3 days, and I have to admit, I'm not loving it. I am super thankfully I've still had a decent amount of energy, that physically me and baby continue to check out OK, and that I was able to have (what better be) one last enjoyable weekend with just me and Will. But, if I don't have this baby this week, like in the next couple of days, I can't promise how sane I will stay.

I have an appointment at the OB today at 2:15pm. I was hoping I'd get to see one of the two doctors I've seen at last few visits. Unfortunately they weren't available, but fortunately, I know and like the doctor I am seeing. I'll be getting an ultrasound, having a non stress test, and getting checked for more progress. I am very torn about how I hope this appt will go, so I'm trying not to think about it. I want her to be 110% safe, so I am hoping everything looks great, and we schedule an induction date for later (not too much later) this week. If we go though, and there was a reason to be induced today, as long as it wasn't anything serious, I don't think I'd hate that either.

I'm trying not to think about it too much and just take comfort in the fact that I will be in good hands with my OB practice, and remind myself that God has a plan. I plan to work from home this morning prior to the appointment and finish up a few last minute things around the house, so hopefully the next six hours FLY by. I have a feeling they won't. It is pretty darn crazy thinking this may really be it. My last morning as a non parent. But for some reason it either a) hasn't hit me yet that that's really a reality, or b) I am in for a much longer wait and my subconscious knows this and isn't letting me get too psyched up yet. We shall see!

I continue to go back and forth between comfort in the fact that it really HAS to be any day now, and sheer panic knowing that every second that goes by is a second something could be going wrong or that I am just forced to wait for what seems like no good reason. I really hope I can keep a handle on my emotions and stay as calm and rested as possible. I know I will need all my wits about me when the moment of her arrival finally comes.

Oh and if one more person asks me "Did you have the baby yet?" I will lose it. Yes, we had her in secret and just aren't telling anyone. I get asking about progress updates, but obviously I didn't DELIVER her and keep it to myself?!

I mentioned our weekend was pretty nice and relaxing. There are only so many things one can do for fun/to stay sane when 40+ weeks pregnant, but I think we spent our time wisely. Friday after Will got home from work we headed out for a bit of shopping. We went to the new TJ Maxx (Kenwood area for you Cincinnati people), the mall, then out to dinner. We finally got lamps for our bedroom, and picked up a few other random things for ourselves and Norah.

Saturday we took the dogs out for an early morning trip to the dog park up the street from our house before it got too hot. This weather has been crazy humid, so they haven't got to spend much time outside lately. After wrapping that up, we came home and I made brunch which was pretty wonderful. Then we bathed the dogs, cleaned, and just hang around the house. Basically wait for me to go into labor. Which clearly didn't happen. Sunday morning I watched a few episodes of Parenthood. I've been meaning to watch this show for a zillion years, and thanks to Amazon Prime, I started it last week. So far I like it. I don't love it. But I'm going to keep watching. After burning out on Parenthood I napped, we hit Currito for dinner, then did a final, final Target run to get 110% stocked before Norah's arrival. I realized this morning our bread was moldy, but besides that, I think we have everything humanly possible in this house.

All in all, that's whats going on in our lives. This weekend was hard, but not as hard as I expected it to be. Lets hope I can say the same for however many days left we have to wait. Which hopefully is <1. May the next few hours fly! Even if I don't wind up in labor and delivery tonight, at least we will get to see our baby girl on the screen for the first time in 4+ months.

Friday, August 22, 2014

due date alert | pregnancy update: 40 weeks

This is long, but I just couldn't stop!

Today is the day. August 22. Our due date. I hoped our girl would come a few days early, so I could avoid the anxiety that I feared would come along with this day, but no such luck. I suppose I could still go into labor in the next 16 hours, and be one of the few people that actually delivers on their due date? But I'm thinking probably not. Luckily, I'm actually not that anxious.


One other random note before we get to the official update. I've been focusing, almost obsessing, over this pregnancy. It hit me today that holy crap- I'm about to just be me again. I know I will be a Mom, but for the past 10 months, I've felt like just a pregnant lady. Less a person, more like a baby carrier. I'm about to be upgraded to Mom, which also means I will be able to take off the Mom hat for an hour or two and go out with my friends. Drink. Scream. Laugh. Be ridiculous. And just go back to being my silly and social self. Every once in a while at least. I absolutely cannot wait to spend all my time taking care of this little person, but I also can't wait to go back to being just Brittany every once in a while too. 

Anyway. 40 weeks, here we go. This better be my last pregnancy update.

Size of baby: Same as last week. A baby. Somewhere around 7-8 pounds and 20 inches. Should I make it to Monday with little miss still cooking away, I will find out her size via ultrasound. But more on that later.

Weight gain: 42-45 pounds(ish). At my 40 week appointment (yesterday at 39 weeks 6 days) I hadn't gained any weight since last week, thank goodness.

Feeling: Good overall. I really didn't want to be overdue, but I think I have come to terms with it. Of course it's hard to get around, everything hurts, yada yada yada. I feel how I expected to feel at 40 weeks pregnant. Maybe even a little better.

Maternity Clothes: All day every day.

Nursery: Waiting for someone to come live in it!

Symptoms: Same as last week. Achy back, neck, etc. Nausea. Emotional. Difficulty getting from laying down or sitting to standing. I had a pretty fabulous pedicure yesterday including a stone massage and salt scrub and it. was. heavenly.

Labor Signs: Notta! No contractions, real or otherwise. She has dropped, and I feel a lot of pressure, but that's really it. I've been nauseous but who knows if that has anything to do with labor.

OB Appointment: Now for the good part. Yesterday at 39 weeks and 6 days, I had my 40 week appt. I was hoping for a miracle. That they'd say "Lady you are in labor!" and send me straight to the hospital. I was more so though prepared for the worst, aka no change from my last appointment.

They gave me a Non Stress Test right off the bat, and the results were acceptable, but not as much activity as would have been ideal. This slightly freaked me out, but since Norah hasn't been the most active baby the entire pregnancy, I'm just trusting that's her disposition and listening to the doctors. I'll definitely be closely monitoring her movements over the weekend. Hopefully enough to keep her safe without driving myself batty.

They also "checked" me. She is low and the doc could feel her head. I am almost 2 centimeters dilated, and 90% effaced! For some reference, at my 39 week appt I was 1 centimeter dilated and 80% effaced. So we've moved up almost a centimeter + 10%.

The OB said if I was 3 centimeters dilated he would have let me go straight to the hospital and get some help moving things along. As cool as that would have been, and though I'm not opposed to induction, I have no problem letting her hang out for a few more days to see if she will come on her own.

We are scheduled to go back to the OB Monday afternoon (if I'm still pregnant…which I feel like I will be) for another NST, internal check, and ultrasound. Hopefully we have a baby before then, but if not, I'm thrilled we will at least get to see her on the US. I haven't had one in MONTHS.

If all is well, they will most likely just schedule an indiction date for later that week to make sure I don't go over too much. If anything looks suspicious on the NST or US, I will get sent straight to the hospital to be induced on Monday!

Overall I have some mixed feelings about all this. Like a lot of mixed feelings.

-A little bit peaceful. I'm trying to remember we're not really in control at this point. She will come when she's ready, which could be any second. There is so much excitement in that. Calm, peaceful, excitement.

-A little bit worried. What if she doesn't have enough room? Enough fluid? What if complications develop? How could they tell me the NST wasn't ideal but just send me on my way? We know she's healthy now, let's just get her out!

-Anxious for the next three days. WHAT the heck will we do all weekend while waiting for her to come?!

-Nervous for Monday. OBVIOUSLY the number one priority here is Norah's health. Therefor, I want everything to go smoothly Monday at our appointment. But how awesome would it be to have them verbally tell me, for 100% sure, "It's go time- get to the hospital. NOW!" ?! Of course this would be bitter sweet since a) I'd like to have her before then, and b) it'd mean there is potentially an issue.

I am going to do my best to stay calm mentally and enjoy what is basically guaranteed to be my last weekend before becoming a Mom. If we don't have a baby by bedtime Monday, there is a VERY LARGE chance that by then, I will at least know when we will have a baby. And that is something I can sign up for.

Or my water could just break in like an hour. That'd be great.

Monday, August 18, 2014

a nice little weekend

This weekend was pretty awesome and exactly what I needed it to be.

Friday I worked from home, and had my 39 week doctors appointment. The appointment went well and it was so nice to avoid Friday rush hour and the dreaded weekend countdown of productivity the last hour of the day. While I was hoping to I don't know, find out I was in labor, I did find out I'm 80% effaced and a centimeter dilated. Super thrilled to finally see some progress, and I can't wait for my 40 week appt this Thursday. If I make it that far! Still thinking I will, but you never know. Anyway, back to the weekend. Friday I also picked up a lamp at Home Goods for one of the guest rooms, and got all the bills paid I needed to handle for the following weeks in prep for baby. Will and I hit up our church's festival that night to have fair food for dinner and get in some walking. It was the perfect relaxing Friday.

Saturday we spent the day around the house cleaning, making a grocery list, and just hanging out. Will's Dad stopped by to help with some things, and it was good not to have to be anywhere for once. That evening we got massages then went out to dinner. It was the perfect way to spend would could be our last night as a family of two. We came home and watched "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and it was hilarious. Surprisingly, Will thought it was hilarious too. I definitely recommend it for any pregnant ladies.

The major event Sunday was grocery shopping. I wanted to stock the house with food, dog food, snacks, TP, etc in anticipation of a) not wanting to go to the store any time soon and b) having plenty of things to much on for all our impending visitors. I about passed out in Kroger from walking around so much, and our cart was overflowing (literally), but we accomplished our mission. We rounded out the night with a yummy dinner and a game of Monopoly.

I went to bed Sunday really trying to be intentional with my feelings. It is so easy (escp for a whiner like me) to get caught up in the "I'm tired of being pregnant" mindset. Which it's true, I am tired of being pregnant. And of trucking through the work day when all I want to do is sleep. But really, the next day(s), or even week, or dreaded two week finish line that we're almost at is so close. Soon I will be someones mother. Every single thing in our lives is going to change. I will do my best to be calm, positive, and cherish these last few days of being able to be 100% selfish with my time.

But Norah, if you wanted to come like, today- that is fine too.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 15, 2014

pregnancy update: 39 weeks

And just like that, we're 39 weeks. iPhone pics will have to do, and welcome to two of the only articles of clothing that still fit me.

Size of baby: A baby. She is fully developed and at this point is just getting chubbier. A pumpkin or watermelon if you need a comparison. Yikes!

Weight gain: A whopping 42 pounds-ish. Maybe 45. I am really hoping breast feeding makes me lost the majority of this weight.

Feeling: Pretty yucky, but that is to be expected. Anxious and excited for labor. Trying to remain calm. Been a bit nauseous, and experiencing the usual aches and pains.

Maternity Clothes: You know it. Even a lot of my maternity clothes are too small these days.

Nursery: Complete :)

Symptoms: Achy back, neck, etc. Nausea. Emotional. Difficulty getting from laying down or sitting to standing.

Labor Signs: I had my 39 week appt today and we FINALLY had some progress in the dilation and effacement (is that a word?) depts. I am 1 "good" centimeter dilated and 80% effaced. Considering I was 0 and 0 last week, the doctor was impressed. Escpecially since I haven't felt any contractions. That I can identify at least.

Perhaps all my DIY labor inducers are working?! I plan to keep them up all weekend. Fingers crossed! For the record these include walking as much as possible, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil, and bouncing/doing other exercises on my exercise ball as much as I can stand it. We are ready for you Norah.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

at this point...

This is mostly going to be rambling, but I really want to be able to look back and laugh at myself about how crazy I was in the days/weeks before labor. Here we go.

At this point...
  • I was super nauseous yesterday and am having some wicked back pains today. Could this be it?! Not getting too excited because for the past 10 years I've pretty much had one day a week where I experience debilitating back/neck/hip/shoulder pains. I fractured my neck twice in high school, and really beat myself up constantly playing sports through high school and my freshman year of college. Anyway, hopefully these are labor signs and not the usual aches and pains, or a cold coming on.
  • I don't think this is a labor sign, but I have been getting winded VERY easily these days. I'm talking walk across the room and need to pause and catch my breath. I am so ready to have my agile, normally functioning body back.

  • In other weird symptom news, I am constantly hot. I mean burning up, sweating hot. My office temp is probably set at 68, and I still sit at my desk and sweat all day. It's really pleasant.
  • I think at my 39 week appt I am going to plead with my doctor. I've been keeping my cool, but I just can't any longer. Can he PLEASE write me a note to go on maternity leave? At least work from home? How quick can I schedule an induction if I go over 40 weeks? I am so thankful for this experience, but I have hit the wall ladies. At least the working wall. I can keep being pregnant for another two weeks if I need to, but another two weeks in the office may send me to the looney bin.
  • I think my dogs know something is up. They are acting strange lately. Stranger than usual. I wonder if animals really can sense labor coming on? Regardless if that is true or not, I think they at least know something is about to change.

communicating with the bump telepathically
  • The only good thing about me potentially delivering late is that if shes born the week after next (so about one week late), my Mom will get to stay in town an extra day. This would be since her work is closed on Labor Day. I am so torn between wanting my Mom there for the birth and wanting her to save her vacation days for when we are home from the hospital. Thankfully Chicago isn't that far of a drive.
  • I've been sitting/rocking on my exercise ball at work and I think all my coworkers think I'm crazy.

That's all she wrote. I thought to myself Monday "This could be my last Monday driving into the office". Hopefully this is the last rambling post I write before becoming a Mom!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 38 weeks

Annnd just like that, we're 38 weeks. This number has me pumped. 2 weeks or less until baby girl. Maybe 3 or 4. But more on that in a minute.

I just left my 38 week OB appointment, so this news/update is as about as accurate as it can get.

Size of baby: This varies from baby to baby significantly at this point, and I haven't had an ultrasound in ages, so we don't really know. The "norm" is a watermelon or small pumpkin. She is probably 19-21 inches, and around 6-8 pounds. I was thinking I'd have a long and lean baby like myself and Will were, but now I'm not so sure. He was only a 7lb baby, but he was also born three weeks early! I was a 6 pound baby, but I have also gained way more weight than my Mom did with me. Only time will tell! Still measuring on track as far as the external belly measurements my OB performs at the check ups.

Weight gain: Blah. I am getting more and more sour in this area. Currently up about 45 pounds. The doctor isn't worried because she said I may have been a little under weight pre pregnancy. She did say I would probably have to "work" to lose about 10 of the gained pounds if I want to get back to pre baby weight. Hopefully breastfeeding takes care of that.

Feeling: Eh. Back, shoulder, neck, groin, and hip pains abound. My feet haven't been feeling too hot either. The heartburn struggle is real. Super fatigued at all times. Mentally I am "done", but I think I can still hang in there for another week or so before I officially start to lose it.

Maternity Clothes: Been in nothing but these bad boys for weeks and weeks. Even some maternity shirts don't cover the bump at this point. If i wear regular shirts, my belly hangs out. I can't even get close to putting on my regular pants. And if I squeeze into workout bottoms, my circulation is cut off pretty instantly. Certain leggings are still OK, but Will's boxers are better.

Nursery: Basically done! This is off my list except for a few random items that I may buy if we can find them while out shopping this weekend.

Symptoms: Heartburn, aches and pains, nausea. No contractions yet that I could identify. Waking up in the middle of the night.

Surprise baby shower from my coworkers Wednesday. They're the best!

Labor Signs: NOT A ONE. Mentally I am ready, but the body never got the memo I guess? At my 38 week check I am not dilated or effaced AT ALL. I have no interest in being over due, so I asked the OB today when we can start discussing induction. He said if my cervix is "favorable" (aka showing any signs of preparing itself for labor) at my 40 week appt, then I can schedule an induction to take place a few days after that appt. If it's not favorable, I keep waiting. I know induced labors are more difficult, so I am on the fence regarding if this is something I'd definitely do or not. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

As far as what I miss/am looking forward to/best moments/ bla bla bla: Basically, this is where I'm at: Ready to have this baby. Thankful for a happy healthy pregnancy. Terrified something will go wrong at the last minute. And most importantly so so excited to meet Norah and add her to our family!

Monday, August 4, 2014

updates, updates, updates

It's been almost a week since I posted, so I wanted to pop in and leave a few updates about what we've been doing. While I wish I could say time has been flying by, basically the opposite is true. Each day feels like an eternity waiting to get to our due date (18 days to go). The plus side is that I've been able to get a decent amount of rest. I am super tired these days and plan to really tone it down over the next couple of weeks to get my body energized and ready for the storm that's coming!

  • We've (finally) completed all of our baby care and hospital classes. We signed up for four, and while they were slightly time consuming, I'm glad we took each of them. My favorite of all four was the class that included the hospital tour. While I didn’t love giving up my entire Saturday, it was awesome seeing the type of room I'll deliver in. Made it that much more real!

  • I've been trying to hang in there and really focus on work, but boy is it hard. Sitting at a desk is the opposite of comfortable for me, and it is just difficult to focus on anything not baby related at this point. Here's to hoping I can make it a few more weeks without completely losing my mind!

  • We also had the car seat installed and inspected by the fire department. While this is super exciting, it was a huge bummer to see how much space it takes up in the car. We installed the car seat behind the front passenger seat. That caused us to loose what seems like a foot of leg room for said front passenger. I'm 6 feet tall, and Will is a few inches taller than me. Lack of leg room = problem. When we take family trips, the non driving adult will probably be forced to sit in the back if the drive is longer than 30 minutes. This leaves both dogs to sit in the trunk, aka, a really tight squeeze. I don't even want to think about what it'll be like when we have two car seats, or have an extra passenger with us. I just bought  my car last year, and I am kicking myself for not getting a 7 seat SUV!

  • Friday was a pretty stressful afternoon for me, calling around trying to get Holly an emergency vet appt. She was due for some shots, which need to be 110% up to date since we could have to board the pups at any moment... but we also had a bit of a doggy scare on Thursday night. Will went to let her in the house, and as soon as she walked inside, she collapsed and had what I thought was a seizure, but the vet is defining as an episode since we can't be sure. I freaked out and we called the emergency vet, but they said it was best to take her to her regular vet in the AM. Unfortunately I have just been taking her to Banfield at PetSmart, and I was less than satisfied with their level of care. I knew we needed someone a little more knowledgeable/passionate for such a serious event, so luckily I was able to get a great vet recommendation and Will took her in that evening. They think she may have a kidney infection that caused the episode, but we are waiting on test results to confirm. I am praying it is nothing more serious than that. I do not know what I'd do if something was wrong with my Holly Girl! Luckily she is acting like her normal self, as hyper and crazy and silly as ever.

  • Saturday we went out to breakfast and shopped for a few things I could wear in the hospital. I have no intention of ruining any of my favorite PJ's (and I needed some bigger ones), so I was relieved to check that to do off the list. We went to a pool party, and I think that may be my last attempt at being social until the baby comes. I can handle a dinner here and there, but sitting in the sun all day with a bunch of people drinking = worst decision I made all week. Give my my A/C and quiet please and thank you.

  • Sunday we had dinner with Will's brother and his wife and kids. It was delicious, I didn't have to prepare a thing, and we had lots of laughs. I love having fun family so close by!

  • Last, and most unfortunately, I discovered stretch marks. A lot of them. Will noticed them actually. I thought I'd escaped unscathed, but no. On my hips, actually more like the back of my hips, there are huge gross stretch marks on each side. I didn't think I'd mine one or two on my stomach, but unfortunately these things are just worse than I expected. I'm not losing any sleep over it, but it was definitely disappointing to notice.

And that's a wrap! 18 (ish) days to go!!
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