Monday, June 30, 2014

Lily's Birth Story

In hindsight, I wish I'd taken more pictures on that day... But when you feel like an elephant is about to bust through your lower extremities and out your body, a camera or camera phone is the least of your worries... :)

I think I'd been afraid of child birth since I'd found out where they came from at 7. I could barely watch the videos of child birth that played at our birth basics class. The word epidural (while I know everyone had told me that that is a STAPLE to get) FREAKED ME OUT. And now, 3 days shy of being 10 months pregnant, I was about to endure all of it. I had tried to prepare myself for the inevitable and took solace in all the advice from my girlfriend's who had recently given birth but still came up SCARED when showtime had arrived. And yet, I was so excited and nervous and anxious and happy and intrigued and... (you get the drift) to see and hear and hold our little girl.

On Thursday night, while watching a movie, I started to feel what felt like menstrual cramps. I ignored them but knew that this was the start of "IT" and tried not to panic and just relax and watch the movie. By midway of it, they had become slightly more intense but sporadic (30+ minutes apart or more). I tried to get some sleep that night but these contractions kept me awake and seemed to be more intense when I laid on my side. On top of that, I started to also have back labor which is fairly common but makes the whole experience miserable because your contractions feel like a belt around your midsection. After tossing and turning in bed, I finally got up and retreated to the living room, turned on the TV and hoped to the gods above that I would fall asleep. I also started to time my pains with my handy dandy app on my phone. It was super easy to use and gave me averages on duration and time between contractions. Total time slept that night: 90 minutes.

Friday was the same but with contractions coming closer together; first at 20 minutes then nearing 10. I tried to go about my day doing some light cleaning but ended up on the couch most of the time. As night time neared, once again the contractions seemed to fire up in intensity. The only thing that could help keep my mind off of them were these amazing popsicles that Chris had bought. I ate 10 out of the 12 popsicles that day/night. I was beginning to wonder how long this was going to carry on as I knew early labor could last anywhere from hours to days to weeks. Once again, instead of sleeping, I set up camp on the couch and timed my contractions as they came. I watched so much TV it was ridiculous. Total time slept: 90 minutes.

By Saturday, I was EXHAUSTED. The contractions were coming closer together but not fast enough. Finally, at 11:30am, through gritted teeth, I suggested it was time to go to the hospital. When I got to Labor & Delivery, I was informed I had only dilated 2cms (WHAT?!).  The really nice nurse said that I should go downstairs and have some lunch and walk around as that helps the baby descend. After an hour of walking (or trying to...), I came back upstairs only to find I'd dilated a half centimeter. They sent me home (the nurse told me she'd see me back her...she just knew it) with a slight sedative so I could take a nap. Again, I only slept 90 minutes but when I woke up, the contractions were in full force and I could feel a pressure in my pelvis that I'd never felt before! The hubby tried to help get my mind off it by using those handy dandy breathing techniques we'd learned in birthing class. Those lasted about 3 minutes as I could barely concentrate to breathe! After an hour, I suggested we go back to the hospital. This time as we arrived, I had the hubs go and get a wheelchair because I didn't feel I could walk anymore.

As we walked into Labor and Delivery again, the cheery nurses checked me in and I was wheeled away to the exam room where they found I had dilated to 4.5 cms! YAY! It was a slow night and the charge nurse and one other were my nurses for the evening. They were the best! As they put me into the bed, I immediately asked for the epidural. I had to watch a video about what it is and what it does after that. Prior to pregnancy, I had heard that getting an epidural was crazy painful and so throughout my pregnancy, I was dreading getting one but I felt it was sooooo necessary because I am a big baby and don't have a high pain tolerance. The epidural wasn't that bad compared to the contraction pain and when she did the testing of the initial medication, it actually was pleasant! Like a feeling of cool water running down my back! After a few more contractions, the pain subsided but the pressure remained. It was like NIGHT AND DAY! We watched a little TV and then took a nap.

At midnight, the nurse came in and said that I had dilated to 10cm and it was showtime! The doctor had been called in and would be here in a few minutes but if I was ready, I could start pushing! So... I started pushing! It was almost like going to the gym and working out with a personal trainer. She counted and I pushed.  I think the hardest part was at the crowning point... It was an odd sensation. LOTS of pressure. And then she was out!

They plopped her on my chest and she wriggled about and cried for the first time. It was a surreal moment :) I even tried my hand at nursing at that moment. I'd been scared of breastfeeding but it was totally perfect and very natural.  Once she was checked out, she got some daddy time while I did all the rest of the "fun stuff" of labor. Once we were all settled, we were transferred into a recovery suite and the hubs and I got to bond with our little lovely. And I finally got to EAT! The maternity area has some DELISH food! Sandwiches, italian food, soups, ice cream, fruit... I ate ALL OF IT!

She's now a month old and we are finally recovering from the sleep deprivation and slowly falling into a pattern. She has grown so much from the time in the hospital to now. Its absolutely heart melting to see how my husband adores her. He changed her first diaper, helps with feedings, sings his silly songs to her... Its the best!

I am finally recovered...well, mostly. I had issues with the epidural where I had to have additional saline so I had post swelling and breastfeeding was a challenge initially but we are falling into a routine. :) Speaking of... this little lady is waking from her nap! Gotta go!

Monday, June 2, 2014

May I present to you...

Baby Lily!

Well hello there world! I finally don't feel like a zombie anymore! Hooray!

Having a baby is INTENSE! I want to write Lily's birth story but haven't had the energy to do much more than feed her, feed myself and sleep. But come hell or high water, I WILL write it soon.

For now, I can only describe how in love we are with her through pictures. They say that having a baby really changes your life. They were so very right. Sure, there is sleep deprivation and the recovery process is another set of intensities, but seeing her sweet little face everyday has put a new perspective in mine and my hubby's life. We are so in love with our little lady.  I especially love hearing my husband sing to her, talk to her, take care of her... its a feeling I can't describe but it absolutely melts my heart watching him with her. About 5 years ago, I swore off having children or even getting married. I'm glad I took those decisions back... <3

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Pregnancy Must-Haves

Last week, I hit week 38 in my pregnancy. I've been reflecting on the different things that I'd experienced throughout this time: minor meltdowns, morning sickness, the first of many baby kicks... It seems like it went by slow and yet fast at the same time!

There are some products that I don't think I could have lived without during my pregnancy so for all you mamas-to-be, here are some items I think are worth a shot in trying!

1. Spanx Power Mama Shaper - Hands down, this was my favorite item (hell, i'm wearing them now!) to have. As your belly grows, all the weight can be a little much to handle when walking or doing simple chores. I tried maternity weight belts but the little lady in the belly didn't seem to like them and would wiggle and squirm when I put them on. She didn't mind the Spanx so much and they came in a full panty hose as well as the Super Power Panty (which is what I chose since its been so warm out). It smooths out panty lines and is pretty airy. The only downside is that the tummy panel does run if you're not careful since its made of nylon. It also helps support your back and waist. They come in two colors (nude and black).

2. Hydro Flask - I initially bought this because I was doing Bikram yoga but it was extremely helpful in keeping track of my water intake and since its double insulated, it keeps my water freezing cold (even up to 24 hours of pouring it in, ice cubes and all!)! I bought the 40 oz. bottle so I know that drinking 2 of these will give me 80 oz of water a day. They have fun colors too!

3. Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler - With all the reading and research I've been doing trying to prepare myself for baby's arrival, it was nice to find a funny book to unwind with. Jill is a blogger who started sharing her realities as a mother and connecting with other moms out there. Her book is real and funny and a short, great read!

4. Target Women's Favorite Tank -  I have lived in these tanks because they're great for layering and long enough to cover a giant belly! They come in so many colors and prints and are affordable! Now that the weather is warming up here in sunny California, they will definitely be a staple for my summer wardrobe!

5. Vitamin E oil - I have not been so lucky in the stretch mark department. I knew that eventually i'd succumb to stretch mark central but have done my best to stay hydrated and religiously lube up my bump. At first, I was solely using coconut oil but in the seventh month, I started to see stretch marks. Funny enough, I honestly don't believe it was from weight gain as I had gained it in a fairly steady manner. I attribute my stretch marks to my little one moving around. Since week 20, she has been a wiggling machine! At times, her kicks have been so hard and painful, I felt like my skin was tearing and when I would go to investigate it, the areas where she was kicking were red and irritated and eventually donned my lovely battle scars. I had started to combine coconut oil with Aveeno lotion to make a paste but that didn't seem to do much. While wandering around Target, I found a bottle of Vitamin E oil and have been lubing up 3 times a day. My scars are still reddish colored so I've been trying my best to make sure they heal (OR DISAPPEAR!!!). So far, this oil is much more viscous  and stays on the skin longer. Once I have my little lady, I'll look into other lotions to help aid this process.

I hope these items help you with your preggy-ness like they've helped me! What products have helped you along the way?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preggy Update: 34 Weeks

It is funny that I look fairly normal either head on or from the back but the minute I turn to the side...BAM!...There is the bump!

I can't believe time is flying by so quickly! It seems like it was January a few weeks ago and now we've just passed tax day and almost into May! This week marks my 34th week and the further along I get, the more anxious and excited I become! Our baby shower is this weekend so we are looking forward to hanging out with friends and family and enjoying the amazing weather we've been having!

How far along: 34 weeks

Gender: Girl

Total weight gain: 20 pounds gained so far

Maternity clothes: I can't even wear the capri pants and the black pants I purchased 2 months ago. Since the weather is warming up, I've busted out the maxi dresses and skirts and light leggings. I also added preggy spanx to the mix because the weight of the bump is a killer on my back and legs. 

Stretch marks: I found a couple already :( I've been super religious about lathering up with coconut oil in the morning and at night but the hubs and I thought it would be inevitable since I was very slender in my pre-preggy size (5'5, 105lbs). I stepped up my coconut oil by mixing in aveeno oatmeal lotion mixed in and now doing it 3 times a day and trying to drink as much water as I can.

Sleep: Very slowly the sleep is starting to become uncomfortable. I've tried sleeping semi-upright and now am up to 5 pillows all around me. Eventually I get to sleep but its for sure a process! This little girl also does not favor my left side so I start on my right and somewhere in the middle of the night, end up on my left. 

Miss Anything: Moving at a normal pace and being able to lift things that I never thought were heavy but apparently are. Oh, and very dirty martinis. :)

Cravings: I 've wanted more fruit lately. We venture to our local Farmer's Market on Sundays and I will head toward the apples and strawberries. If I'm at the grocery store, I'll pick up a container of cut up fruits to snack on while driving or hit up the juice bar for a yummy smoothie. I've been to the juice bar so much lately, they know my name! On occasion though, i'll want a donut, ice cream, pizza.... :)

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks are starting to become more frequent and intense but nothing else yet.

Belly Button in or out: Half in, half out.

Wedding rings (off or on): Sometimes on. My left hand swells sometimes so I'll take it off but my preggy brain will forget to put it back on and I thought I lost my band once already! 

Mood: I had a mini mood swing this week which included tears but otherwise, I've been feelig pretty good!

Best Moment this week: The hubby and I stayed up past our bedtime and watching the lunar eclipse together. We are definitely enjoying our last moments pre-baby while we can!

Looking forward to: This weekend's baby shower! I'm super proud of the decorations that I made!

Exercise: Walking whenever I can (that means while i'm shopping around which has been A LOT lately lol).

Can you see her face? :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Love Spray Paint!

Since I've started this crafting/thrifting streak, I have become addicted to spray painting anything I can get my hands on. My favorite color to paint, you ask? Why GOLD! Alas, this post isn't about gold spray paint.

With Lily's big baby shower on the way, I've been trying to get everything together, a little bit per day, to make this a big shindig. My theme has to do with horses because A) In the Chinese horoscope, it is the year of the horse (and I was also born under this sign), and B) you'll have to wait till after the shower to see the theme because I think its pretty EX.CIT.ING!

I've been on the hunt for anything horse-ish and have been dying to get out my trusty spray paint trigger and getting started. The weather was FABULOUS this weekend so I set out to paint this adorable carousel horse I found at a thrift store a few weeks ago. For $6, you can't beat it!

I love that the white gave the horse a modern, classic look and kept the pole its original gold. I'm going to use this and a few other DIY projects I have going on as decorations for the shower. Once that is done, I can use it in her nursery!

Oh, and that GORGEOUS tassel bracelet was made by Lakeitha Duncan of Wrist Soiree. She makes her bracelets to size and has some beautiful and reasonably priced pieces. Check her out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DIY Pillow and Baby Name Reveal!

I've been dying to use my sewing machine and silhouette cameo cutter for a while now. A few years ago, Chris bought me a sewing machine and I took a class on how to sew with a pattern and hadn't used it since! I could barely sew in a straight line much less try to follow a pattern. So, when I came across a youtube video on how to make a pillow, I thought this would be a perfect simple project to get back into the swing of things.

I have a stockpile of striped fabric from Ikea which is great for upholstery projects. I also found some iron-on vinyl online and used the my cutter to cut out the letters. Since it had been a little while since I'd sewed, it took a bit to get used to the feel of the machine again and re-learning how to thread the machine. I was also super paranoid about not sewing in a straight line but it turned out well! The vinyl was a little more frustrating of a task. The first piece of vinyl didn't cut so well on the vinyl setting so I had to adjust to a blade of 6. And even then, I had to scrape some of the curves because there were stubborn areas that wouldn't come off! I was really paranoid about melting the plastic to the pillow. In the directions, the vinyl is supposed to take on the texture of the fabric you're attaching it to and mine is still shiny BUT its definitely on there! I think I even melted the top of the second L slightly after following the 25 second rule.

And here is my finished product! Aaaaand... our baby name reveal! Can't wait to meet Baby Lily soon!

I was really pleased with the way it turned out and now have the itch to sew more pillows! Maybe someday, I'll work up the nerve to do clothes again!

Here are some of the resources I used to make this pillow:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Preg Life: 28 Weeks

Happy Saturday! This week we are officially in the third trimester! I've been running around like crazy trying to find a glider that is decently priced and that I can reupholster for her room. We finally found one a few days ago and for a whopping $65, we loaded it up and took that baby home! I plan on recovering it with a cool fabric with the help of my mom who is a rockstar at sewing. Stay tuned... :)

Here are my new stats! 

Week: 28

Gender: Its a Girl!

Cravings: Nothing crazy but when I want a cookie or a salad, I REALLY want it!

Sleep: Mostly well! I have the WEIRDEST dreams which can wake me up sometimes. The doctors think she is sitting on a nerve in the groin area. I haven't had much in terms of round ligament pain but this nerve business can put me out of commission for a few minutes!

Body Changes: Hellooooo boobs! They're definitely bigger! The bump is a'growin still too. My belly button has managed to stay in but there are days when it looks like it is screaming to come out. I've tried to relive the pressure on my stomach (and back) with a preggie weight belt and so far, that seems to do the trick!

Weight Gain: about 13 pounds. I've only gained 1lb in the last month. I started out small so I know it'll be a challenge for me to put on the weight (even with 5 meals a day).

Work Outs: My nerve issue has kept me from working out and walking long distances. I get my workouts in by dancing around the house. 

Things missed: I miss being able to do things full throttle like lift heavy furniture and walk faster. It was definitely difficult for me to realize that I have to get help for things like that.

Maternity Clothes: My only purchase were the H&M black skinny jeans.  I'm still living in fleece lined leggings too. A lot of my blouses sill fit because I like boxy shirts. I'll be stocking up on Target tank tops too!

New Experiences: Still kicking like a ninja! The kicks are much stronger now and its neat to watch my tummy move around!

Have a fabulous weekend!