Monday, March 29, 2010
Since Mark is back at work now and isn't around to laugh at my constant stream of hilarious jokes, Brynn has to fill that role...I think she's doing pretty well.
Cute little munchkin smile.
Trying to do too many things at once...
Hmm...these hanging guys are kinda interesting...
Wait a minute, I don't like those guys! Get me outta here, mama!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Brynn is 5 weeks old tomorrow and we went to the doctor today to see how she's doing. Of course, posts like this are really more for the mama than anyone else, as a way to document our little lady's life, but for those of you that are interested, Brynn has is 9lbs and 21 inches long, which means she's gained a pound and a half since since birth and has grown 2 inches- seems like a lot to me, but she's still just in the 50th percentile for both height and weight...her head on the other hand is in the 75th percentile....girl's got a noggin. =) She started smiling last week and it's just about the cutest thing ever, and make the middle-of-the-night feedings much more fun when greeted by a load of smiles! SOMEONE thinks it's great to be up at 3am!
We just can't get enough of this little face- I swear she is covered in kisses 24/7- good thing I'm not wearing lipstick these days...Brynn is very active during her awake times and likes to look around a lot- her favorite things to stare at in our house are a dark framed picture of Mark and me that is next to the couch where I nurse a lot, and our rod iron banister, which is black...she will seriously stare at these things for minutes and minutes if she had nothing else to do...which she doesn't, really, except eat, poop and sleep...well, and I guess, stare.
She is a great eater and great sleeper- it doesn't take much rocking to put her down at night, she has seemed to know when it's nighttime since she was born- thank goodness! We call this picture below her "milk coma", as it's what she generally looks like right after nursing...I only wish it was socially acceptable for adults to look like this after eating.
Brynn is a NOISY sleeper- lots of grunts and beeps, cute...but loud. She's also trying to figure out how to use her voice- the smiles she gives are generally accompanied by some attempted "cooing", but we're not quite there yet. I try to make a lot of noises back to her so she doesn't feel inadequate. =)
And then there is this guy. Seriously...look at this picture and tell me this man doesn't love his daughter. They are so cute together. Mark has his own way of handling and playing with Brynn and it's pretty fun to watch. Most of her "tummy time" is spent on Mark's chest and Brynn definitely loves to suck on her dad's pinky. Mark went back to work this week after almost 5 weeks at home with us- how blessed are we?! Although it's nice getting back into "normal" life, whatever that means, we had such a fun time hanging out as a family these last few weeks and I'm excited for the weekend to have daddy home to play again!
I had prepared myself for a long labor (because that's what all the books say happen the first time around) and I really wanted to try it naturally, but also wanted to be flexible and do whatever felt most comfortable to me. We hired a doula, which was really helpful with us being first-time parents and not knowing what to expect- it was great to know there would be one familiar face in the room that knew the drill of labor and delivery in case my doctor couldn't be there or we had grumpy nurses, neither of which happened in the end. =)
I was due on February 8th and had thought all along that I would be late, but hoped I would be early...just like every pregnant lady does, right? When the 8th came and went, I jumped (not literally, of course) into high gear walking, squatting and doing anything else...and I do mean anything else, that would move things along. I really didn't want to be induced, but did set up an induction appointment for the 16th so that I wouldn't risk being pregnant forever, which I've heard can happen.
As the 16th approached, I had mixed feelings. I had prepared myself pretty well for what natural labor might bring, but I wasn't prepared at all for trying a natural labor on Pitocin, which I heard was nearly impossible. So, the idea of being induced really had Satan calling out to me "you won't be able to do it, you're not strong enough". It was a hard thing to shake. Well, I didn't get a call on the 16th until 8:45 at night, at which point Mark and I thought we'd choose to get a good night's sleep and try the induction on the 17th, instead of laboring through the night on no sleep. I still wasn't excited about being induced, but I made peace with it and was ready to meet our daughter.
At 1:11am on the 17th, I woke up to a contraction. I thought it might be just tummy trouble and tried to go back to sleep. 7 minutes later, another one came. Then 4 minutes later, another one. Then after that, they started coming 2 minutes apart, lasting 60 seconds each. I had gotten out of bed and was walking around to see if they would stop, which they didn't. After about 45 minutes, I decided to call our doula to get her opinion on if I was really in labor or not before calling my doctor. The doula thought this was the real deal, so I called my doctor. She said to wait another 30-60 minutes and see if things continued as they were and then head to the hospital. The contractions were still manageable at this point and I had a rhythm of walking and rubbing my belly. We left for the hospital around 2:30am and at that point, I could no longer talk during contractions. I was amazed to find out that I was already 7cm, since I had been 2cm for the past 3 weeks! We got settled in the room and contractions started to get more intense. It really was like a wave, the contractions. When one started, I was ready to take it on and it's just like everyone says- no matter what you prepare for in labor classes or at home, once labor begins, you find your own rhythm and what works for you. Nothing I did during labor was anything I had prepared for before- it truly was what felt good for me in the moment. I wanted to be standing as much as possible so that gravity could help things along- our doula and Mark took turns squeezing my hips together during contractions- pregnant friends- learn this trick! It was amazing and really, really, really took the pain of the contraction away when it was done correctly, which it was in my case. I tried to get in the tub for a while because all my friends said it felt great- for me, it was uncomfortable and I didn't like the feeling that I wasn't "doing something" during the contraction. I needed to be standing and moving around. I was most comfortable standing and leaning my arms on the hospital bed, swaying my hips back and forth.
Around 6am, I think, my doctor arrived. I remember the nurse coming in to tell me, "she'll either be here at 6 or 6:30", to which I replied, "it better be 6:00!" She came and broke my water, and that's where things got REAL intense. I had to lay on my side for her to break my water and then after that I needed to be monitored continually. I had to find a new rhythm at that point since I couldn't be up and moving around anymore. What worked was having someone press a really hot hot water bottle against my lower back while I rubbed my lower belly during contractions. I remember Mark and my doula being concerned that I was going to get burned because the hot water bottle was so hot, but I didn't care, it felt real good.
When it was time to push, I was excited but nervous. Pushing didn't come as naturally to me as I thought it would. I tried the squatting bar first, which I didn't like because my legs felt too weak to support me and I had a hard time rotating my pelvis during contractions for help the babe through. Then I tried the position you see on all the movies, which also didn't work since I couldn't rotate my pelvis. After that, I ended up on my side, which was awesome because I could close my eyes, hang on the the side of the bed and get into the zone without the pressure on my spine that came with being on my back. Once I was in the right position for me, the pushing came more naturally. Don't get me wrong, it was the hardest part of labor for me and kinda scary since the pain was SO totally overwhelming, especially once Brynn's head started crowning- wowsers. At that point, the nurses asked if I wanted to feel Brynn's head. When I reached down and felt her, along with the intense burning and pressure I was feeling down there, I had the one moment of self doubt I experienced during the whole process. It hurt so bad and took so much concentration to not dwell on that and I really wondered if I could finish the job...but the one moment of doubt was just that- a moment. I immediately gave the biggest push I could and then out she came! In all, I pushed for 40 minutes- way shorter than I expected.
I couldn't believe it...a moment in life that can only be described in feelings, not words.
I expected to feel better after she came out, but it wasn't until the placenta came out- much more pleasant of a push- not painful at all, that I felt AWESOME. I felt like I had run a marathon and slept 15 hours all at the same time. I relive that moment over and over in my head a trillion times a day...I wonder if that will ever end? =)
Second only to the pushing was the stitching-up process. Yikes, that hurt. As my body was winding down from labor and wanting to focus on this new babe, I found myself having to go back into my breathing pattern to cope with the pain. Thank goodness I had Brynn to distract me because whatever my doctor used to numb the area down there didn't last as long as it took her to stitch me up. I think I'll ask for more numbing stuff next time!
After all was said and done, I was so proud of myself. I really couldn't believe that I did it. I birthed a child with no drugs. As much as I hoped I would be able to do it, there was a part of me that wondered if I could really get through labor on my own. Honestly, I didn't think about medication once during labor. It didn't even cross my mind. I credit that to not allowing myself to doubt my ability and reminding myself that this was what my body was made to do. Once I found a rhythm, I was in control. I realize not every woman wants to labor naturally, but for me, I was so curious about what the pain was really like and I wanted to fully experience the extremes of it, as crazy as that sounds. I could say much more about the whole process, but I'll leave that to conversations with friends over coffee. =)
If we are blessed with more children, certainly having the experience of Brynn's birth gives me the confidence to know I can do it again, although I realize not every labor is the same, but mentally, I think I know what I need to do in the future.
Now, 5 weeks later, I can't imagine life without Brynn. She is such a joy and I love being her mama. Speaking of loves, Brynn's love of food tells me it's time to nurse her again- see you soon friends!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Brynn will be one month old on Wednesday. Crazy. I'm already finding myself nostalgic for the experience of labor (believe it or not) and those first days of mommyhood, although I'm loving how much more content she is when she's awake compared to the first couple weeks! She's still so tiny and yet I just KNOW she was tinier a few weeks ago and I find it hard to remember what she felt like at that time. I'm still in a bit of shock that I actually birthed a child and that Mark and I are now parents...he's still home with us for another week- I think once he goes back to work, the reality of our new life will sink in since his schedule will be back to normal and we'll have to adapt to that. Brynn is starting to smile- the things I'm doing to try and make her show off her new smiling skills are too embarrassing to talk about. =) She also laughs in her sleep, which is the CUTEST thing ever!
We've been having so much fun taking pictures of her- Mark is the master, but I'm starting to get a few good shots, myself! I swear we have more pictures of Brynn than we have of ourselves...and she's only a month old!
Look at those cute little toes- love the sock fuzz!
Look at those cute little toes- love the sock fuzz!
We call Brynn our little bug because she looks like a little potato bug when she curls up like this. She was having one of those marathon newborn sleeping sessions where were able to transfer her from person to person without her waking up even a little. Wish I could sleep like that!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Well, I figured it was about time to update my blog, since the most current post is of me with a babe in my belly- a babe which has been here with us for almost 3 weeks now! I'll write a future post with her birth story, but for now, I'll say that Brynn Rebecca was born at 8:06am on February 17th, just 2 days after my birthday- the best belated gift I've ever received! =) She was 7lbs 4oz at birth and 9 days later she was already up to 7lbs 5oz, so we know she's getting enough to eat! It's hard to imagine what life was like before her arrival- Mark and I both wondered how things would change and whether or not we would miss our "old" life- as it has been said, "a baby changes everything". Mark says it's as if someone has pushed a "reset" button on our lives, and any of the concerns we had before just aren't there now, we have a daughter and I'm a mom and he's a dad and that's just the way life is now...and we love it. It has been so amazing watching Mark as a daddy- he's so gentle and sweet and protective. We're just now starting to have more friends and family over as we were careful the first couple weeks to make sure the 3 of us could bond. Mark has a little over a week left at home with us; it has been such a blessing to have him home for so long to really get to know Brynn and be able to take care of her in these early weeks along with me. Brynn is sweet but strong-willed. She was holding her head up on day 1, which makes us think she will be a very independent little lady. She's dealing with some reflux issues, which aren't fun for any of us and make her pretty fussy at times, but she's a great eater and sleeper, so we're thankful for that! She likes her car seat and the car and the stroller, so we've been able to get out at least once every day without much fuss, which is great since I, at times, feel like I'm strapped to the Boppy. =)