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Life is rolling along…

Life is still trekking along.

Claire is almost 6 months old.  I can hardly believe it.  Half a YEAR. What?!

I am loving this holiday season even more with a baby. I loved it before, but now it’s extra special. I think even LUKE will enjoy it more. Or enjoy it, period.

Claire was officially a strawberry for Halloween, but also had two costumes from Aunt Erica that made cute photos (chicken and pizza. pizza was CUTE.) We had our traditional little Halloweeny party with the family. Including the new Mr. and Mrs. Weisenburger, who should’ve been in Italy, but got delayed because of Hurricane Sandy and got to stay around for a week after their wedding.

New fun Claire developments include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rolling over both directions has been happening since around 4 months. Though the back to tummy rarely happens because – why would she WANT to be on her tummy? Duh.
  • Laughing and smiling more, and even to complete strangers. Which is just awesome.
  • I am still nursing. I am surprised and happy with myself for sticking with it. It’s easier, that I have said before, but now the thought of weening makes me sad. We will see. I’m taking it one day, week, month, at a time.
  • She loves the animals. If Tony or the cats enter the room, her eyes are on them. Cute.
  • She wants mama more and more. It’s cute a lot of the time, but when others want to hold her or I am busy, it’s not AS cute. 😛
  • Claire is ready to move. Like, yesterday. She sits up and lunges around, grabbing for everything in her reach. Sitting up is nice, she has done the high chair thing at restaurants, too.
  • We have started solids! So far she enjoys sweet potatoes, squash, and green beans. She thought peaches, avocado and bananas are *ok*.

More to come… baby is awake!

A 4 am thought….

Claire slept from 11 til almost 7:30 two nights ago. It was amazing.

I had been thinking recently “how much longer?? I don’t know how much longer I can wake up at night like this..”

So last night, at 1:30, Claire wakes up grunting/fussing. Luke sweetly goes and gives her a paci to see if she will go back to sleep. Then come the next five minutes of waiting anxiously (instead of sleeping, of course) to make sure she will go back to sleep. There’s nothing worse than being asleep for five minutes and being woken up with more crying.

It worked! No nursing needed, just a paci and some shh-ing.

Fast forward to 4am. Grunting/crying. I go in and see that she is frustrated as the paci is right next to her head and she can’t get it. She is just so helpless! I re-insert the paci for her and head back to bed.

…waiting. It worked, again!*

I couldn’t help but think “Finally! My night awakings may be going away! I can’t wait til she can just re-insert that paci that’s RIGHT NEXT TO HER HEAD on her own!”

I laid there and thought there was just something so adorable about my tiny baby laying there, helpless, knowing that we will help her. And then that old saying popped into my head, you know, the one that usually pisses your sleep-deprived-self off at some point when you hear someone say it…. “These days go by so fast.”

Then I got sad. One day, soon, she will wake up, find her paci and put it back in if she needs it to comfort her.

One tiny step to being self-dependent.

One tiny step to watching our little baby girl become the grown woman she will be.

Our life is short. It’s hard to see that when you’re living it day-to-day.

These days go by fast, these days go by fast. (repeat)

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

What am I going to do with my “mist”?

* btw, she ended up waking up eventually and having to be nursed. But after my mini reflection, I gladly nursed her back to sleep. 🙂

One year.

A year ago I was waking up at 7am on a Sunday after a long day of tailgating/football watching… I was sleepy.

A year ago it was two days before my birthday. I hadn’t made many plans… just knew I wanted to go out to dinner with our family and celebrate with a margarita!

A year ago today we had been on an 18-month emotional roller coaster.  The feelings I never will or WANT to forget. 

A year ago I reluctantly pulled out my last First Response for this cycle. Why not use it? It was nearing the end, and I figured I might as well… I had wasted hundreds of other tests! 

A year ago today I sat in my bathroom, still half asleep, waiting… 

I distinctly remember what I felt when I saw those two pink lines. How many times had I thought and wished so bad there was some kind of “shadowy” line there. 

I saw this…

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… And did this :-O and this :’-) and woke up my husband.

It. Was. Amazing.

 

James 1 tells us “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

Do you get this? I do. I SO do. I am not naive to think life will not bring more trials, but this is the first trial I had that really made me GET this. 

Lord, let me never forget my journey to motherhood. 🙂

3 Months!

Wow, it’s been a couple months since I’ve updated. Claire turned 3 months last week… tomorrow she will be 14 weeks old!

Lately her new favorite trick is sticking her tongue out when you stick yours out. This makes her smile SO big with that toothless little mouth of hers. Wow, cutest. thing. ever. She also loves to “sit up” (this means, you hold her sitting up in your lap, as she can’t REALLY sit up on her own, yet.) and she also loves to “stand”. Once you take her hands and she’s sitting in front of you, she knows it’s her cue to stand up. She is just sooo proud of herself. Hilarious.

We just got back from our annual Barchie Florida Trip.  It was a great time, but Claire wasn’t really able to participate much in all the activities as it was far too cold in the pool and the ocean. But, she did get to take walks on the beach (not impressed.) and have an audience of aunts/uncles/grandparents ALL week. When we got home I think she was a little sad, like, “hey, where did all my entertainers go?? I demand you hire them back, mama!”

She is working with her hands much better. She reaches for toys and although she’s not at a 100% accuracy rate yet, she does hit them. She is also getting better at putting her little blankies in her mouth and trying to suck on them. She laughs, smiles all the time, and falls asleep easier. She recognizes her mama and daddy and is becoming so much fun to be with. It’s so rewarding to have her smile back at me. It’s like a sign of appreciation…. it’s hard going a couple of months with hardly any positive feedback. It will only get better as coos turn into “mamas” and those turn into “i-love-you-mama”s!

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Claire – one month

Claire - one month

Little late – Claire turned one month 6/24/12!

6 weeks?!

I am going in today for my six week postpartum check up with my midwife!

Where has the time gone…??  My little newborn baby is 6 weeks old now, and she’s changing every day. It’s amazing! Today she smiled… and I am fairly certain she meant to! I got a picture or two.  I have been taking tons of pictures on my phone and when I look back I am amazed seeing how much she has physically changed the past 6 weeks.

She is sleeping pretty good. Last night she slept almost 5 hours straight! At least, *I* did – daddy stayed up and helped her re-insert paci numerous times while I slept soundly next to them.  I am glad we introduced the paci, I think it surprisingly helped her suck better at the breast. BUT it is kind of a pain when she won’t go to sleep and keeps wanting her paci back in the mouth because she’s too young to know how to put it back in…. ANYways! This time will pass quickly. 

That’s what I keep telling myself. During both good AND bad times.  I constantly try to remember to remind myself that this little precious newborn will soon be sitting up, laughing, crawling, walking(!), talking, talking back, etc. And I must savor every moment right now. Even re-inserting paci ever few minutes while trying to fall asleep. 

Co-sleeping has made it easier to do this.  Luke and I both agreed “we will never co-sleep! We don’t want to roll over on our baby and suffocate her!” – after hearing horror stories of this happening.  Well, she got here, and we changed our tune. It’s so. much. easier. I would love to tell you all that I am doing it to bond with my baby, and snuggle with her, blahblah. But honestly, it’s because I’m lazy. Yep, it’s true.  I know, shocking!  But it makes the paci thing, soothing her if she’s fussy, and of course, those nursing sessions in the night way easier. Even getting out of bed to re-insert the paci for Claire in a cradle NEXT to my bed seems like too much of an effort. Yeah. 

ANYways.. now that I’ve admitted my laziness I will also admit I have thought to myself “ok, I hate breastfeeding right NOW.”  When? At 2am of course. When I look to my right and see my husband soundly sleeping. Probably dreaming. I just want to slap him sometimes! I know, it’s not fair. But at those times I have said “damnit, can’t she just have a bottle of formula so Luke can wake up and give it to her!!” During the day? I go from having times when nursing is “ok” to actually liking it. That’s my breastfeeding journey so far. 🙂

We have given her a few bottles. They have all gone smoothly, except for that cold bottle I tried giving her. Never again. I don’t think her tummy liked it. We even had a night out for Luke’s birthday last Saturday while Aunt Jane and Aunt Sara watched her. Thank you, bottles!  

Claire has really scheduled herself re: feedings, too. Every 2.5 – 3 hours she’s ready to eat (except some nights, when she sleeps longer). She’s just an amazing little baby! So smart. Prooooobably the smartest baby. Ever. 

She’s waking from her nap, so time to go stick a boob in her… 

bbl. 🙂

Claire’s Birth Story

This may be TMI for some – so read at your own risk. It has birth-related stuff in it. Birth is not a necessarily clean and neat experience. It is also super long, mostly for me to remember everything. 😉

At around 35 weeks I had a bit of a scare. I passed a big clot and decided a call to the midwife was in order. I was checked out, and they told me I had dilated 1cm! Admittedly, a part of me was excited even though I remember our childbirth instructor telling us “those numbers don’t mean much!” — and I knew she was right. So I carried on and put it out of my mind.  We continued our walks, I bounced on my exercise ball, and continued my herbal mix from the midwife to help bring on labor.

The next 2-3 weeks after this little episode were different. I could tell Claire was way lower in my pelvis. Some days I woke up and felt great and others I woke up and could barely bring myself to walk because it was just toooo uncomfortable.  I also began the restroom trips AT LEAST every hour. Yes, at night, too. So fun waking up that many times a night.  If I got 2 hour stretches of sleep I was happy!  (Needless to say, I am more tired after Claire came. ha!)

The week Claire was born I got everything done I needed to. It was strange.  I kept telling myself “take your time finishing these thank-you notes! I still have weeks left!”  or  “no need to finish ALL this laundry, I gotta keep myself busy somehow..” But, alas, I could not stop myself! I just really wanted to get stuff done.  “Nesting” they call it.  I suppose that’s what it was, but it wasn’t some crazy “urge” to clean. Just bored, so wanted to do SOMETHING.

May 23rd came, and I woke up feeling fine. It was just another day. I had just gone to my 38 week appointment the day before – May 22nd.  I had my first (and, last) NST – non-stress test at this appointment.  I was strapped to a little machine that tracked the baby’s movements and her heart rate. Every time she moved they wanted to see her heart rate elevate for a certain amount of time afterwards. In a 20 minute period, they wanted 3 elevated readings.  She barely got her 4 readings in in the first few minutes, then quickly went to sleep. She passed!  I then made my appointment for 39 weeks for the following Thursday since that’s when a certain midwife would be there that I had not met yet.  Guess it’s a good thing to meet the midwife that could possibly be delivering my baby!

So the 23rd went by, normal.  I had not grocery shopped well that week, and all I had was some sausage that I was going to throw on the grill. Luke and I decided we’d go out to eat.  We had Greek food at The Olive Oil restaurant.  During dinner I realized I had been having contractions and thought I’d time them. They were coming very sporadically. Some every 10, some 20 minutes apart.  This had happened before, and I figured they’d go away eventually that night.

We went and picked up some DVD’s at my mom’s house.  We had just started watching The Sopranos series two days before and had already gone through the whole first season. Yes, that’s 13 episodes (hours) of Sopranos in just two days. Don’t judge.  I told my mom “I’ve been having contractions all evening…” as we were walking out her door.  “You have?!” – I figured I shouldn’t have told her, I knew I would just get her all excited for “nothing”.

We went home, took a walk – the first of which I actually had to STOP at a few points to “get through” a contraction. I thought the walk would maybe make them go away, but they didn’t.  They were still SO spaced apart and varied that I thought nothing of it. We got home, watched a couple of episodes and they seemed to slow down a lot. Maybe had a few every hour at that point.  I took a shower, another suggestion to get BH contractions to stop. I was having some bloody show at this point and still didn’t want to get excited about labor. I figured it was just more cervical changes happening, but knew it could mean nothing for weeks still.  I went to bed around midnight.  They had dwindled away again, and I was able to go to sleep. Another night of semi-painful contractions and nothing to show for it – or so I thought.

I woke up around 3am and realized, ouch, that hurt. These contractions were painful! Five minutes later (or maybe a little less) – another one. I decided to use my handy iPhone app to start timing (3:22am). They were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting about a minute long. Strange. I figured I’d try to take a shower and see if they’d go away. I went to the restroom and was having bloody show again, way more this time. I think this was the first time I realized “whoa this maaay be something starting”. I got in the shower and in the 10 minutes I was in there I had 3 painful contractions… the hot water was nice on my back. I was leaning against the shower during contractions just swaying my hips. I got out and continued timing. Around this time I woke up Luke and let him know. He was surprised.  I let him start helping me time the contractions as I laid in bed.  They were getting more intense as I laid there and got to the point I was having to use my relaxation techniques we learned. They were coming every 3-4 minutes at that point.

Around 4:20am we decided to call the midwife.  She asked me some questions and I also was able to have her listen to me go through a contraction – or not listen to me, as I had to concentrate and couldn’t talk.  Her final decision was “well, it may be a while, but it sounds like you’re having your baby today!” and to call the next on-call midwife in an hour – so 5:30.  I was excited.  Another hour seemed like forever.

I decided to get out of bed and try to eat something. I had an apple. I walked around a bit, but quickly realized that was very painful, too. I had a few contractions in the living room, then went back to lay in bed. I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and go to sleep! They were coming pretty fast, and I was having to moan through each contraction. The moaning helped SO much. I was able to really use my voice to really make it up that hill to the peak of each contraction, and once I hit that, I knew it would be better.  I was surprised how much it helped.

5:30am came way quicker than I thought. I always thought time would drag since you’re having to “get through EACH contraction” – but time went by quickly.  We called the other midwife – well, I think Luke called. At this point I was not in any position to be on the phone.  She called us back and let us know that the midwife that I had never met (hah) would meet us up at the birth center.  Luke was surprised that we were already going in.  But in my mind, I thought they were coming pretty fast.  And they seemed painful, but I had nothing to go off of, so wasn’t sure if it was “just the beginning” and they would get way more intense later or if I was progressing faster.  Part of me secretly wanted to be in transition, since I was getting the contractions every 3(ish) minutes, but part of me still thought I’d have a crazy long labor – it WAS my first, after all. The last few contractions at home were getting pretty intense, and I used Luke to lean against. I had my arms around his neck and he helped hold me up while I kinda swayed. He was doing so good supporting me.

We packed up, threw in the car seat (of course we hadn’t installed it yet, we still had weeks to go! ;)) and got on the road by about 6am. I managed to text my mom and Luke’s mom that we were headed to the birth center and we’d update on progress when we got there.  In the 15 minute car ride, I had maybe 4 contractions. Each one hurt – a lot. Of course, in a car, there’s not many options for comfort.  I would just kinda hold myself up with my arms, slightly raising my butt off the seat, and moan loudly. The stop light before getting to the birth center took extra long, of course.

We made it to the birth center and I had another contraction before walking in, leaning against Luke, and having him help me hold myself up. I got checked and the midwife said “oooh yeah, you’re at 7cm!” — no sweeter words have been spoken.  We moved over to the room, after having another contraction or two. At this point I just found a chair or table near me and leaned over it during the contractions.

We were able to start filling the tub up immediately since I was so far along. It took a little while to fill up, meanwhile I was just standing up, still leaning on Luke during contractions. At this point I was still able to talk between contractions and I think at one point I was even laughing, though I don’t remember what the joke was.  I was surprising myself. And I was proud of myself.

I got in the tub, and it felt nice. But finding the position that made me most comfortable took a few contractions. I ended up on my knees and leaning over the side of the tub, my forehead pressed again Luke’s.  I remember the midwife putting on some music, classical piano music. At one point it got really loud and fast, and I had her turn it off. I also had her turn down the lights very low.  I got hot while in the tub, and Luke got a cool washcloth for me to press on my head during contractions. That felt so nice. Luke kept telling me how good I was doing. He was proud… he did awesome at supporting me and calming me.

At some point I ended up getting on my back, I was tired and just wanted to lay back in the tub and “relax” – ha. I would squeeze Luke’s hand during each contraction and moan.  Around this time I felt an urge to push. I let the midwife know. She said she could either check me or to just listen to my body and if I felt that way, to just push. She ended up checking me, and said I was about 9.5 cm, almost there. I went through a couple of contractions just breathing out, and trying not to push.  Sometime around now my water broke. It was a strange feeling, and it freaked me out a bit. I remember saying something about being scared the contractions were going to get way more intense. The midwife assured me that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get more intense. It actually felt kinda nice, and I was happy to know that the time to get her out was getting really close.

After that I decided it was definitely time to push, this was around 7:20m, we had been at the birth center just over an hour. (So from 7-10 cm was just about an hour – a nice, short transition length.) It’s amazing how much you’re in tune with your body during labor, and how the “urge” to push really is so natural and REAL.  I tried pushing and felt what must have been Claire descending into the birth canal further, and I freaked. Panic struck. THAT was painful, I started almost hyperventilating and saying “no no no!!! I can’t, I can’t!!!”  I honestly thought there’s no way this happening. I cannot push a child out of there!  The midwife calmed me down and said “just breath, you have to breath. It’s just a new sensation..”  I then thought “ok, well, what’s my option? she’s gotta come out!” So I got up on my knees again and leaned over the side of the tub, with Luke in front of me. I was gonna use gravity to help me out!

With the next contraction I pushed, and realized it actually started feeling kinda GOOD to push. I was finally an active part of this labor, and I felt like I was doing some good here. I went through a couple ctx, and announced each time I was going to push. It was hard work! I remember thinking “yeah, there’s no way this stage is lasting for hours… she’s coming out… and I’m gonna push her out quick!”  So I pushed with alllll my strength.  So much so that the midwife said “if it started burning, blow out, stop pushing”  which I had to do a few times. I didn’t want to cause any damage to my body, so decided this may be a good caution to heed.

The most annoying thing during the pushing stage was having the midwife check Claire’s heart rate. I knew it was necessary, but the position I was in didn’t really make it easy for her to check. She had her arm between my legs, reaching all the way up to my belly. Yeah, annoying.  After a few more ctx, I knew her head must be close. I asked if she could feel the head. She could, and asked if I wanted to feel. I said no. I was way too concentrated on just getting her out – not feeling her head! Luke felt, but later admitted he had no idea what he was feeling. LOL.

Finally, I pushed hard and her head came out. It felt AMAZING getting that head out! I knew she’d be here within one more push!! I pushed again and out came her body. It was seriously awesome. The midwife told Luke to reach down and grab his baby. I think it surprised him that she was out already! He brought her out of the water and had her in his hands while she took her first breath!  I laid back, and took her on my chest.  She was perfect. She arrived at 7:47am. Just 20 minutes after I started pushing, 1 1/2 hours after we got to the birth center, and 4 1/2 hours after I woke up to contractions.

I can’t believe it all went so fast and she came early! I think I was almost in shock. I was shocked that she came two weeks early, that my labor was only 4 1/2 hours (of painful, whoa-this-is-it labor) and that I did so good and actually pulled off my natural labor! I am proud of myself, and happy to be starting this next phase of life!