Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A.J.'s Birth Story

My labor began very early Sunday morning on October 14, 2012. I woke up around 3:45 AM and had to go to the bathroom as usual. Except this time I also felt the urge to go #2 which is pretty unusual for me. I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep but I still felt the urge to go. So I got and went and tried to go back to bed again.

Then I started noticing some slight cramping and more urges to go. This went on for like half an hour of going back and forth to bed. Then the cramping started changing. It started wrapping around my back and I started noticing it had a rhythm to it. 

5:00 AM, I started thinking that this might be the beginning of labor. My husband got up and started packing the hospital bag. He was running around washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up. 

Meanwhile, I was trying to pack last minute items for the hospital bag. Contractions were still very light at this point and it was easy to keep moving through them.

5:40 AM, I texted my doula to let her know that I thought I could be in labor. I was having contractions lasting from 30-60 seconds and they felt like menstrual cramps. I layed in bed and tried to go back to sleep, but the contractions were just too annoying to try and sleep. Plus, I was getting pretty excited that this could be the real deal.

7:00 AM, she texted me back and told me to take a shower to see if they went away. I showered and they were still coming on in the shower, so I definitely started to believe that I was in labor. I was feeling all the contractions in my back at this point. Not fun!

8:30 AM, my doula texted and told me to start timing them for the next hour. I started timing them and they were lasting about 30-60 seconds and coming every 5-6 minutes. I was feeling it all in my back at this point and while they were not very painful, my husband and I were using this time to practice relaxed breathing. I would hold onto him and rock back and forth through them. I let the doula know that I would text her when we were ready for her.

I continued to labor at home. I moved into the living room and hunched over the couch in an attempt to get the baby off my back. The contractions were starting to get more painful and I felt ready for our doula to come over.

11:20 AM, I texted our doula and let her know we were ready for her. I also let my mom know that she could come over as well.

12:12 PM, my doula arrived and we worked on trying to get the baby off my back. I was at first feeling it all in my lower back. We tried a position with my chest on the ground with my butt up, and then I finally started feeling them low in the front. Jack and the doula also applied heat to my lower back, which felt amazing.

12:50 PM, my mom showed up. I continued to labor on the floor with my butt up in the air. That’s the only position that was comfortable to me. Contractions were averaging about 4 minutes apart at this point.

2:00 PM, we moved to my bed and I layed on my side for awhile. Contractions were more painful laying on my side, but it felt nice to relax in between them. Jack called ahead to the hospital to let them know we would be coming soon. 

2:30 PM, my doula gives me 2 teaspoons of honey for quick energy before we head to the hospital. I immediately throw it all up a few minutes later.

2:45 PM, Jack helps me take a shower to clean up before we head to the hospital. Contractions were coming on every 3-4 minutes and lasting about 1 minute 20 seconds. I took one last bump photo before we left.

3:30 PM, we left home to head to the hospital. 

At this point contractions were very strong and painful. I had one contraction in the car on the way and then one more once we parked. I had one contraction standing in the street in front of the hospital. If you've ever been in labor, then you know once a contraction starts, it's best to stop dead in your tracks and not try and walk through it. So yeah, I stood in the middle of the street. Luckily there was a transport there with a wheelchair dropping off someone else. She scooped me up and took me to L&D before I even had another contraction. Bless her for getting me there so quickly!

I had to go into the hospital room by myself at first for some initial questions. I remember the nurse asking if I could pee in a cup, but there was no way that was going to happen. I had a couple of contractions on the toilet then moved to the bed when finally my husband, doula and mom were allowed in the room. My husband said I was just laying on the bed gripping the side bar and was rocking back and forth. At this point my memory of it all is a bit fuzzy. I had to rely on questioning my husband to remember what happened.

3:45 PM, the nurse did an internal check and I was 7 cm already! Yay! But that meant transition was starting the hardest part was ahead of me. I went #2 some more and labored on the toilet for a while. I lost my mucus plug at this point, and my husband just held me while I rocked back and forth. 

5:05 PM, the nurse checked me again and I was 9.5 cm! I labored while sitting on the side of the bed. My husband held me while I rocked back and forth. My mom sat next to me and I held her hand with my left hand and I held my doula’s hand with my right. I was moaning pretty loud through each contraction. My doula reminded me to keep them low. I remember yelling over and over that I couldn’t do it. I kept saying "no, no, no," over and over. My doula started telling me "yes, yes, yes," so I started saying "yes, yes, yes" through every contraction. It felt pretty natural to just grunt and moan through every contraction. I started feeling the urge to push but my doula told me to hold back at first. So I continued to labor sitting up and resisting the urge to push. 

6:15 PM, I finally got to a point where I couldn’t hold back the pushing anymore. They suggested I lay on my side and start pushing through the contractions. This part was terrible for me because all the pain was in my lower back when I pushed laying on my side. My water broke after the first couple of pushes in a huge gush.

I pushed this way for maybe 10 minutes and then my doula suggested they get the bar. The nurse didn’t think I would have the energy to get up on it, but they brought it in. On the next contraction, I found the strength and just hoisted myself up on it. It felt amazing to push in a squatting position. I made great progress pushing like this. I pushed like this for maybe 15-20 minutes and then the doctor came in.

Unfortunately, I had to move on my back to deliver him, but it still wasn’t as bad as the side position. The doctor asked if I wanted a numbing shot to take the edge off. At this point, I wasn’t in a state of mind to be making decisions, so I just agreed not really knowing what I was agreeing to. That freaking shot hurt way more than the contractions and pushing. He pulled out this huge needle and stuck it up inside me to give the shot, and he did one on each side. It was extremely painful and the only time I cussed during my labor.

Side Note: Looking back I would have refused the shot had I known what it was. When I talked to my doula a couple weeks later, she told me she had never seen that done before. I found out at my 6 week postpartum check up that what I actually got was a pudendal block, also known as a saddle block. It basically numbs that whole area down there. I'm still a little upset about the whole thing. My goal was a complete un-medicated birth. I still count it as un-medicated though since I went the whole way with out anything except for the last 5 minutes of pushing, and I could still feel every contraction in full force. If I had known about something like that before hand, then I could have discussed what I wanted with my doula and I could have put it in my birth plan.

The doctor was trying to direct my pushing, but I was pretty much doing my own thing. My body had taken over and I knew when I needed to push. I tried my best to take direction from the doctor, but it was hard! Everyone kept telling me they could see the head, and I didn't believe them! A few more good pushes and A.J. was born at 7:15 PM weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and 21.25 inches long. I had one 2nd degree tear and a few minor internal ones that didn’t need any stitches. I refused the pitocin after delivery and delivered the placenta soon after. My doula worked with me to get baby A.J. to latch on. It took a good hour but we finally got him on and he nursed one side for 20 minutes and the other for 15 minutes. 

I remember being completely focused on my baby after he was born. I just could not take my eyes off of him! He was beautiful and perfect and I could hardly believe what I had just done. I also remember thinking how happy I was that all the pain was finally gone! I never felt more proud of myself as I did in that moment.

Things could not have gone more perfect. I feel so empowered and proud of myself for being able to give birth naturally and without an epidural. I also feel incredibly blessed with how smooth my labor and delivery went. I could not have done it without my support team. My doula, my mom and Jack were all an amazing support to me during labor and deliver. Had I not had them, I’m pretty sure I would have been begging for the epidural as soon as I showed up to the hospital. 

Now looking back, I can’t even remember what the pain felt like. I just remember I was in a lot of pain. Right afterwards, I said I was never going to do that again. But now the some time has passed, I’m pretty sure I could do it again.... in a couple of years of course.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 38 {My last update before I had the baby}

Originally written on October 13, 2012 {Ha! If I only knew he was going to make his arrival the very next day!}

I really feel like we're in the final stretch now. We are pretty much ready for this little guy. I do still need to pack the hospital bag. I'm not too worried about it though. I figure I'll have time before we have to go to the hospital.

Not my usual bump photo. I was lazy and didn't take my usual bump photo the day I was 38 weeks. My plan was to take it Sunday morning and post this update. Well this little guy had other plans for me. My last bump photos in between contractions before we headed off to the hospital. 

How far along? 38 weeks & 2 days

Total weight gain: 35 lbs

Maternity clothes: Yep!

Sleep: Decent. Getting up every 1-2 hours to go to the bathroom is a pain! I think the broken sleep is making me more tired during the day. And now I have a fortress of pillows surrounding me to sleep comfortably. I have a body pillow on one side and a king sized pillow on the other.

Miss anything? Oh lots of things! My old body, wine, deli sandwiches, steak cooked medium, being able to put on shoes, my ankles... I could go on and on.

Cravings: Chocolate!

Symptoms: Rib pain, heartburn, braxton hicks contractions, should pain, cankles

Labor signs: Nope! My doc said I was dilated 2 cm and 80% effaced at my appointment this morning.

Movement: All the time. I feel his bum pushing against my ribs and these little nubs that poke out and slide across my side.

The bump: Man I feel big.

Belly button in or out? Stretch marks? Still in and I have one tiny stretch mark on my side.

Mood: Anxious, nervous, excited, happy

Best moment of this week? Going out to dinner with my hubby over the weekend. Hopefully we can squeeze a few more date nights in before this baby comes.

What are you looking forward to? Meeting my baby boy! And our 2 year anniversary coming up on Tuesday.

I'm so glad I'm snuggling with this little guy instead of writing up a 39 week update. 

I'm still in awe that this is the little guy that was kicking my ribs and hiccuping in my belly. I'm so so much in love with him. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nursery {Source List}

As promised here is the source list & cost breakdown. Let me know if there is anything I left out that you have questions on. See full nursery real post here.

Wall Color - Sterling in satin by Behr
Ceiling - Swiss Coffee in flat by Behr
Trim - Swiss Coffee in semi-gloss by Behr
Total spent on paint & supplies = $115

new carpet & pad + installation = $328
ceiling fan - Hunter from Costco, $120

crib - Bonavita Peyton Lifestyle crib, purchased from Buy Buy Baby  w/ 20% discount, $345
crib mattress - Simmons purchased from Costco, $100
elephant pillow - handmade, Premier Prints Ele in Turquoise from Fabric.com, $16 {form & fabric}
crib skirt - handmade, Premier Prints Polka Dots Lucy from Fabric.com, $27 {3 yards}
animal prints - Gingiber Etsy shop, {Zeek Zebra, Gemma Giraffe, Elly Elephant}, $42 {buy 2, get 1 free}
3 white frames - Ikea Ribba, $30
stuffed blue elephant - gift
sock elephant & monkey - handmade gift
blue baby blanket - handmade gift

glider - Little Castle Blake glider in crushed midnight, custom ordered from Buy Buy Baby, $390 {20% off}
side table - Home Goods {Jack took off faux crock top & replaced w/ painted MDF}, $27
turquoise lamp & shade - World Market, $30
giraffe bowl - World Market, $5
Frame - 4x6 Simbra frame, World Market, $14
quilt - Etsy shop Sew Sweet Lady Bug, {fabric: Michael Miller Zoology in Sea}, $45
pillow - handmade w/ Premier Prints Polka Dots Lucy from Fabric.com 
coaster - already owned
basket w/ books - already owned originally purchased from Home Goods
books - gifts

dresser - re-purposed already owned dresser
elephant knobs - World Market, $5.50
bronze knobs - already owned
yellow mirror - originally white & spray painted yellow, Target, $5.50
yellow elephant - originally white & spray painted yellow, purchased off Zulily, $~10
metal basket - shower tote from Target, $8
treasure box - handmade gift
Toys in basket - all gifts

changing table - built using Ana White plan, $162 {wood & supplies}
2 bottom baskets - Large Milkcrate, Target, $40
2 Small Milkcrate baskets, Target, $27
Folio bin basket - Target, $17
Basket liners - handmade w/ Premier Prints Polka Dots Lucy from Fabric.com
elephant tags - Michael's, $~5 {wood craft elephants, ribbon, spray paint}
changing pad - Naturepedic, $99
changing pad cover - Naturepedic, $29
wipes warmer - Babies R Us, gift

Frames - various sized Ribba frames from Ikea, $50 {some already owned}

Dream Big print 8 x 10 - Etsy Earmark shop, $24
giraffe print rainbow 5x7 - Etsy - The Paper Nut shop, $12.50
You are my sunshine print 5x5 - Etsy - Raw Art Letter Press, $14

Zebra watercolor print - Etsy - Jessica Illustration, $25
Giraffe 8x10 print - Etsy - Corina St. Martin Art, $18
Technicolor Elephants print - Etsy - Paperonipress, $12

Turquoise storage ottoman - Target, $16
chevron curtains - handmade w/ Premier Prints Zig Zag Blue Twill from Frabric.com, $20
blackout curtains - (2) Eclipse kids 84" panel, Target, $32
double curtain rod - Target, $40
clip rings - (4) 7 packs, Target, $20

wardrobe - 40" PAX w/ Bergsbo doors, Ikea, $220
Coach diaper bag - gifted

2 pk shelves - Ikea, $25
drawers (3) - Ikea, $120
clothes rod - Ikea, $10
Delta 48-Piece Nursery storage set - Walmart, $35
30 pack velvet baby hangers - Walmart, $15
Large blue weave baskets - Target, $20
(3) Skubb storage box, set of 6, Ikea, $24

shelves - (3) Ikea Ribba picture ledge, $30
books - gifted

Total = $2,854.50

So there you have it! Definitely spent more than I had planned, but it was all worth it. There were things I could have saved on and things I could have lived with out, but I have no regrets. I'm so happy with how it turned out, and I hope my little man enjoys this room.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nursery Reveal

For a full source list, click here

The nursery is complete! It has been a labor of love for both Jack and I. He was my personal handyman for the room and I made all the design decisions. I'm just so in love with how it turned out, it really came out better than I ever could have imagined. Stayed tuned for a source list post!

Let's look back at what we started with. The old paint color choice was from the previous owners. They had interesting taste. In the four years we've lived in this house, we hadn't touched a thing is this room. In fact, that L shaped desk was left there from the previous owners. We were able to sell it on Craigslist for $100.

We ended up moving our office into another spare room, and decided to make this the nursery since it was the room closest to our room. Jack painted and installed a ceiling fan, and we had new carpet installed.

And now here it is waiting for its new occupant.

Let's take a closer look inside, shall we?

I knew from the start that I wanted to incorporate zoo animals. Particularly elephants and giraffes. That quilt on the glider was one of the first things I bought for the nursery. I wanted to use it as my inspiration for the design. It's Michael Miller's Zoology fabric in sea. I loved the combo of gray, turquoise and yellow. So I used it as my jumping off point for the start of the room. 

I'm not very crafty by any means, but I had a lot of fun making some special touches for the room. I bought a sewing machine, and I sewed the turquoise elephant pillow and the yellow polka dot crib skirt. The blue crocheted blanket was handmade by my great Aunt, and the sock animals were handmade by my BFF's mom. I love all the little handmade touches in the room. It just makes it that much more personal and special. 

This dresser was mine as a kid. Jack painted it white for me and we added some new hardware to it. {You can see the before photos here} My father-in-law made the safari animal treasure box {I talked about it here}.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do all white furniture with gray walls. And I'm happy that I went with a navy blue glider to add some contrast. The little side table will come in handy for setting my water down while I'm nursing. I also added a little basket of books under it for easy access. I plan to replace the photo in the frame with a new family photo including our newest addition to the family.

I love love LOVE the gallery wall. All the animal prints & bright colors make me happy.

Jack built the changing table using an Ana White plan, and I made the basket liners with the same fabric I used for the crib skirt. I also made the elephant tags using some little wood craft elephants found at Michael's. Jack spray painted them yellow for me and then I just hot glued some yellow ribbon to the back and tied them to the baskets. The baskets house diapers, wash cloths, baby grooming items, diaper cream, & burp cloths. 

I can't wait until our little guy is here and I can replace that ultrasound photo with a newborn photo of him. The top photo in that frame is a picture of Jack as a baby and the bottom one is me as a baby. It will be interesting to see what traits he has that are Jack's and what traits resemble mine.

I sewed the curtains and bought black out curtains that are tucked behind so the room can be nice and dark for nap time. The turquoise storage cube can be pulled out and used as a foot rest while sitting in the glider.

The room didn't really have a closet. Just this alcove area that we think used to be the closet before the previous owners took it out. I decided to go with an Ikea PAX wardrobe to act as his closet. I also added a little hook next to it to hang the diaper bag on.

Here's a peek at the inside. I bought way too many hangers before I realized that there isn't a lot of boy clothing to hang. Right now just jackets are hanging up and everything else is folded in the drawers.

I loved all the forward facing book shelves I was seeing all over the interwebs, so I decided to add some in the nursery to display some of his library. My mom asked all the guests at my shower to bring their favorite children's book in lieu of a card, so this little man is set for books right now.

We picked up some books in Chinese while we were in Taiwan. Hopefully it will encourage Jack to read to him in Chinese.

I'm so in love with this nursery. I've never put so much effort into decorating one room before in my life, and I couldn't be more happy with the way it turned out. I love to just go in there and sit in the glider and just look around and dream about holding my baby boy in there. I love opening up the wardrobe and peeking at all his clothes all clean and folded waiting for him. I can't wait to meet him! I hope he doesn't leave us waiting for too much longer. :)

So, what do you think? I'm putting together a full source list to share soon, so stay tuned!