Stories of life in the suburbs with Husband and our daughter Squishy and son Button!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Guide: Adjusting to Baby

According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, every human needs to start with breathing, food, water, sex, excretion (bodily functions), sleep, and homeostasis way before they reach self actualization. Hey, let's throw an infant into the mix and see how close my husband and I are self actualization!!!

In a twenty-four hour period:
  • Breathing. Well, yeah. We were both breathing all day. That's a good start!
  • Homeostasis. This goes along with the breathing. It's mostly involuntary, so yeah, it was present.
  • Water. We both have Camelbak water bottles which make it almost impossible to constantly drink water. Plus, I have been a water nut my life, that one was probably the easiest thing that I had control over.
  • Food. I often forgot to eat. Hence the family bringing food all the time. I tried to keep energy up by constantly having food near me. Apples, scrambled eggs, and ham were the easiest things to grab or make quickly. 
  • Sex. Are you serious??!!?! My vagina had just been abused by the cutest thing I've ever seen. My uterus was in the long process of giving me back all those periods I had missed. No sex, I'm laughing that it's even an on this list of needs. My guess is that I would not be in need of sex for quite some time. 
  • Bodily Functions. I'm gonna throw out another honest answer here: No, my body was not back to normal. There was still a large belly, a shrinking uterus, and organs shifting back to their rightful places. This caused large amounts of constipation. I am not used to that, and I highly recommend the stool softeners! 
  • Sleep. F*ck no.
My point is this. If you are a new parent and you're feeling drained, tired, irritable, upside down, and not at all human, it's okay. Your simple needs aren't being met. Your focus is your tiny human, who needs you very much. The first few weeks are the hardest, until you can start to develop a schedule. Don't forget that babies are new to all of this too! While you're in labor, they are being born. While you're nursing, they are learning to eat and digest. It's a process that you are doing together, and it will get easier.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or severely emotional please please please reach out to someone. These things can be totally normal for an adjusting mommy, but can be much worse for some than others. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, and get the help you need. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baby Guide: Latching on to Breast Feeding

One the third day (or night, I don't know what time it was because of the newborn), my milk came in.

OMFG. I manufacture milk, what's your super power?

I'm pretty sure I had a gravitational pull at this point. Little dust bunnies, clumps of hair from the shower, and paper clips started orbiting my size 36 E rack. My boobs were so hard and uncomfortable, I couldn't walk. They were rocks. Steve Carrel was right when he said that boobs felt like bags of sand. He must have been feeling up new moms three days post partum.

What's more unsettling about this is that my baby would not latch on. We had been having some issues perfecting the feedings over the last two days, but it's even harder for her to latch on to boulders with paper clips flying everywhere. I was serious about that gravity thing.

I called my mom crying begging for help. Thank goodness she had the day off! She rushed down to hospital and rented a pump (we were waiting for our insurance to approve the purchase of our own pump) and rushed back to my apartment and taught me how to use it. I instantly fell in love with my new Medela Lactina Select. After pumping for a few minutes, I felt a lot of relief. My nipples got huge and Squishy had a much easier time nursing. We were both getting the hang of it.

Breast milk is the best thing for baby for at least the first year of life, hands down. I understand that there are exceptions to that statement. I'm talking about healthy babies and mothers that can breast feed. It even says on the packaging for all formulas that breast milk is best. That said, I didn't know it's as much work as it is. Correction, breast feeding was my favorite part of being a mommy. Day, night, Saturday's alright. I can't finish that joke because you can't breast feed online. It was the pumping that was the work!

There was a lot of advice that told me to make sure I switch sides and nurse her equally from both breasts, then the next feeding, start from the side I ended on before. The problem I had with this was that Squishy had problems with latching on to my right breast. Most of the time she nursed from the left breast, but afterward I pumped both sides until they were both empty. Eventually, however, I got her to nurse equally from both sides. She didn't like to lay across to the right side, I ended up with the football hold working best for that side. Do what you feel comfortable with.

I had storage bottles from my mom that stored milk in the fridge. After a few weeks of constantly nursing then pumping, I broke out some bottles and My Man started pitching in with some middle of the night feedings so I could get some sleep. Squishy had no problem going from breast to bottle, I give a lot of credit to the shape and size of the Tommee Tippee products.

I was a milk producing machine. I don't know what's normal, but not counting the baby's feedings for a 24 hour period I would net 50+ ounces of pumped milk a day. That's an insane amount according to my mother. I felt proud of my boob milk making talent. I wanted to keep it up. I had a nursing pro for a baby and a wonderful pump, I would freeze a lot of milk and be able to keep it in my freezer for 3 months, or my parents' deep freezer for 6 months. For freezer storage, there isn't anything better than the Lansinoh breast milk storage bags.

Things I used while breast feeding:
  • Pump
  • Pump accessories (cleaned after every feeding)
  • Nursing bras
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Storage bottles (refrigerator)
  • Storage bags (freezer)
  • Legal pad for keeping track of feedings, pumped milk, amounts, etc.
Does anyone have any other thoughts on breast feeding? Any tricks, tips, products they trust?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome Home, Squishy

What's it like bringing baby home?


I remember talking to my nurses and Squishy's nurses trying to coordinate our discharges for 4 o'clock. My mom reminded me to have patience because it can feel like a lot of hurry-up-and-wait when it came to getting discharged. I was discharged half an hour before Squishy. We packed all the belongings in my room and my husband took them to the car then met me at the nursery to pack up Squishy. We signed all the papers and got a car seat tutorial.

Nurse: "If the baby is strapped in correctly, you should be able to hold the seat upside down and she doesn't move at all."
Me: "My baby is not a Dairy Queen blizzard."

I have to tell you that I felt great. I felt nimble. I felt quick. Hell, I could show Jack a thing or two about candlestick jumping. I had lost 30 pounds in three days and I wasn't waddling. So I was pretty offended when it was required that I either ride to the car in a wheel chair or be escorted by an assistant.

However, by the time we were half way to the car I was not feeling well. I forgot that my body had to physically recover from the act of labor. My arms we so sore I couldn't straighten them. I realized the reason why they hurt was because I pulled my legs back with all my strength for two hours during pushing time. My legs were also sore. Not to mention my stitched up lady-parts. I had a very minor tear that required two stitches. I was determined to walk all the way to the car. It's all about the small accomplishments.

I will tell you that the ride home would have been very uncomfortable had it not been for the pillow I was sitting on. I grabbed it last minute on our way to the hospital to help my labor pains. It actually helped me more on the way home.

We were surprised at our apartment with "It's a Girl" and "Welcome New Baby" balloons on the door. I decided to leave them there until they deflated as fair warning to the neighbors that there was a new kid on the block.

My husband and I crossed the threshold to our new life with our new love. She was so tiny, and so asleep in her car seat. He set her down and we looked at each other and smiled.

"Now what?"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Congrats! Have a Sandwich!

My first memory after giving birth to my daughter, Squishy, is being all alone.

Let's face it, the hospital staff is there to deliver and care for the babies and mothers. After you poop out your brand new infant, they slap some bracelets on you and baby so they don't get all mixed up, and move on to the next expert-mommy-to-be to help her. 

Since Squishy had to be taken to the nursery for some precautionary tests, I was left alone after delivery. I sent my husband with the baby, and I was told that someone would be along to fetch me and take me to the nursery. But in the meantime...
Have a sandwich.

That's right, my reward for giving birth was a dark room and a sandwich. 

It was 3:30 in the morning. Half an hour ago, I was pushing out a baby, the lights were on, there were four other people in the room. Now the lights were off and the people were gone. More importantly: my baby wasn't there. Neither was my husband. But I had a sandwich! 

A cold turkey sandwich with limp lettuce. It was one of those box lunches, and it was obviously from the previous day's lunch rounds. I was obviously in some kind of post-delivery haze because I hate turkey, but sure as shit I put the mayo and mustard on that thing and scarfed it. Then I ate the chips. And the cookie. I left the applesauce, I don't like solid foods you don't have to chew. I also said this out loud for no one to hear:

"This sandwich is good, but it would be nice to see my f***ing baby sometime soon!"

I shook my head and giggled a little. I was a new mommy, but I wasn't the only paitent on the floor. I know that during my labor, my midwife was shuffling between three laboring ladies. Kudos. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"It's a baby!"

Previously, on Expert Mommy...I began my labor and delivery story. Read Part 1 here.

September 9th, 2010

At or around one in the morning, the midwife came in with the nurse, suited up, and I began pushing. I was informed several times of my strength, my breathing, and my counting.

For those preggies who are thinking of asking "What does labor feel like?" Here is my answer:

It hurts. Whether or not you are numbed from the neck down or whatever, it is going to hurt. I felt like I needed to push or something would go terribly wrong, and pushing as hard as I could made the pain and pressure worse and better at the same time. There is a goal, there is a reward. Keep going. You can do anything for 60 seconds at a time. You are strong. Breathe. Get Squishy. Meet Squishy. One more push. You can do it. Push through the pain. And just like that it was all over. At 3:02 the pain and pressure were instantly gone like they were never there to begin with. The midwife was sitting in front of me, between my spread legs, holding a bloody mass of my baby.

In what seemed like minutes but was really seconds, Squishy became a tangible, physical, real entity on my chest. My first reaction "Oh my god, it's a baby!" I can't explain that reaction, or why I said it. Damn right, it was a baby. My little Squishy.

My head fell back to the pillows as the little thing cried as it was being cleaned. Since we already knew we were having a girl, that part of the birth was not announced to everyone in the room, and I became concerned because I didn't have confirmation on the baby's gender. I kept asking aloud to my husband, to the midwife now delivering the placenta and giving me two stitches if it was indeed a girl. Over and over I asked and nobody answered me. I finally turned to my husband and said "Go over there and tell me if it's a girl." He walked to the other side of the room and took a few pictures, and confirmed that it's a girl. Another surprise...

Nurse: "She has RED hair!"

Sweet. I'm a redhead, and my husband's mom is a full blown ginger. I was hoping for any hair, but a full head of bright red hair, along with the rest of her 8 pound, 6 ounce body came back to the bed wrapped in a blanket large enough for her 22 inch long frame. And in what seemed like seconds that was actually minutes, I held my newborn baby girl.

Since I was showing a slight fever at the end of the labor, my daughter was taken to the nursery for IV antibiotics and a few tests, just as a precaution. This ended up being totally unnecessary, as mother and baby were both in pristine health.

In the 36 hours following her birth, Squishy and I both learned how to breastfeed, the families visited, and I was ravenous. I ate all the food the hospital provided. I spent every minute I could in the nursery holding Squishy. Next to the other babies in the nursery, she looked like a mammoth. I was very happy to be discharged so quickly, we were taking our baby home.

Let the adventure begin...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pregnancy Virus Often Leads to an Infant

September 8th, 2010....

I woke up at 10am and waddled my way to the bathroom. If you ever ask a preggie if she needs to pee, day or night, the answer will most likely be "yes". I noticed that I had peed sometime in the night in my underwear  because they were damp. It was like they were wet 5 hours ago and were almost dried. That had happened before, I giggled a little. Add that to the list, preggies can pee themselves. 

Husband was still sleeping, and sleep sounded good to me, I had nothing else to do that day. I got up and waddled back to bed. When I got up, I felt more pee come out. Then it donned on me...


I went back to the bedroom, leaking, and woke up my husband. I said it sort of matter-of-factly. 

Me: "Hey, my water is broken."
My Man: "Are you sure?"
Me: "Yeah, I'm gonna call the midwives."
My Man: "Okay." Then he went back to sleep. 

I called the midwife on-call. I told her I was 39 weeks, 4 days. I told her my water was broken, but I didn't think there was any bloody show. I wanted to stay home as long as possible. She told me to check in every once and a while with them so they could make sure everything was progressing alright. 

I called my mom next. She was golfing, but had recently taken to answering every one of my phone calls with an Am-I-A-Freaking-Grandma?!?!? sort of tone. She told me to walk around for a while since I wasn't having contractions. Not to worry, they started soon after that. 

I walked around the coffee table for a considerable amount of the afternoon. I drank a lot of water. I probably retained most of it. It was around 5:30 when the contractions were about seven minutes apart, but the pain was getting stronger. I figured if we packed up now and left at 6:00 or so we could miss rush hour and make it to the hospital in half an hour. 

With every contraction stronger than the last one, we left the apartment for the hospital at 6:15. Contractions were 5 minutes apart. We arrived at the hospital at 6:50. Contractions were 4 minutes apart. We went through triage. I was 90% effaced and 5-6 cm dilated. I got admitted and moved into my labor room. 

7:30 Contractions 3 minutes apart, 100% effaced 7 cm dilated. 
The nurse told me the anesthesiologist was really busy and it would probably take him at least an hour to get to me if I was interested in an epidural. I told her to put me on his list. She started an IV and gave me some drugs to take the edge off the contractions. I instantly felt a lot better. The IV medication made the contractions dull, like they were earlier in the afternoon. 

At 8:00 the anesthesiologist came in and said he was right next door so he thought he would pop in and see how I was doing. Well, I thought I was doing fine with the IV medication, but I didn't know when he would be back, so I said yes to the epidural. 

I'm gonna stop here and mention that I dislike needles. I'm not afraid of them, I just mind them. Being in full blown labor about to give birth to a tiny human gave me so much empowerment and inner strength that I didn't notice it. I felt pokes and burns, I didn't care. I was in labor, I was invincible. 

After the epidural, I was told to go to sleep. Well, I can't sleep when it's light out. I can't sleep on this uncomfortable bed. I can't sleep when the blood pressure monitor's alarm goes off EVERY 15 MINUTES because I have an epidural....I was getting tired, and cranky. I watched one of my chosen DVDs...The West Wing. I'm in love with Aaron Sorkin.

The story continues here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Packing for the Hospital

When the nesting phase started, I organized, reorganized, cleaned, opened, set up, packed, unpacked, sorted...are there any other synonyms? If you think of anything, let me know.

I spent a good two weeks making lists and actually researching what to bring to the hospital. I, like many before me, over packed. I won't tell you all the stuff I brought, but here is a list of things we actually used or needed while we were in the hospital:
  • boppy pillow (good for beginner breast feeders)
  • maternity pajamas (I didn't like the hospital gowns)
  • showering supplies and toiletries (you won't get dolled up, but I did want a shower)
  • slipper socks
  • underwear and pads (peri care is taught after labor, but for going home I wanted my own underwear and a smaller pad
  • sweatpants or maternity clothes (you're going to be looking like a 5 month preggie)
  • pillow and fleece blanket from home (couldn't live without, hospital beds suck)
  • one DVD
  • hospital provided baby starter supplies, so we literally only needed one outfit and 3 receiving blankets
  • car seat installed
  • laptop for updating social networks
  • cell phone and charger
  • camera and batteries
  • money for food or snacks (our visitors brought us meals most of the time. I remember during labor I asked my husband for 2 green M&Ms and he had them)
  • my husband packed his own bag like going out of town for 2 days (clothes, books, meds, etc.)

Are there any other must haves?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sex = Labor ?

Large. Sweaty. Drooling. Snoring. Do you want to play a game of Don't Wake The Preggie? I thought not.

You know what's weird? When your mom and your mother-in-law (both eager to become first time grandmas) suggest that I spend my free time having sex with my husband, either their son or son-in-law. Maybe something weird-er? I followed their advice.

Sex induces labor. Somewhat's the explanation...

Sperm contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help the cervix soften and get ready to open.
Nipple stimulation and orgasms release oxytocin. Oxytocin can cause contractions.

I wasn't looking to induce labor at 36 weeks, I was just trying to get dilated so I didn't go overdue. Well, it was working! At my 36 week check, I was 70% effaced and 2cm dilated. We went home and did our homework at least once a day for maximum labor preparation.

By my 38 week checkup I was 90% effaced and 4cm dilated. Awesome!

Progressing well, I was feeling productive. Some preggies can do all the labor incuding methods in the world and still stay hard and closed until 40 weeks. I was lucky. I was guessing I was going to deliver Squishy early.

At 38 weeks 6 days, I started having contractions in the wee early hours of the morning. I had my husband call into work and I started counting. They weren't hurting or anything, but they were 5 minutes apart. After tossing and turning all night, I woke up and called the midwife on-call at the hospital. They told me to come in. I didn't want to, I could tell this was not labor, but since I was not trained in labor and delivery, I decided to air on the side of caution and packed up and we went to the hospital.

I was put in triage at 9am and was discharged at 9:32am. And no, I didn't have the baby in that time. I was really tired for the rest of the day. Ultimately, I was glad we got a chance to do a dry run to the hospital. There was always the chance that Squishy would decide to arrive in some kind of emergency scenario, though I hoped she would come safely. And soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stir Crazy Preggie

I was not forced into liking the bows and headbands and things for baby girls to wear. I think, in fact, I know that it was a combination of my friend Anna and a YouTube DIY hair bows video.

My husband and Anna have known each other since high school. Anna and I were introduced during one of the many annual coffee meetings that he scheduled with her when she was in town. She's a good friend of mine. She's the second person I called at one o' clock in the morning when I got engaged. She is a sorority girl. I guess I say sorority girl meaning that she's girly. Maybe a bit more girly than I am. She's wonderful, bubbly, personable, and has seasonal hair colors. Anna would send me links and pictures of baby girls wearing headbands with huge neon flowers clipped on them. I was uneasy at first, but eventually I realized that they were adorable. Anna was ecstatic when I told her I had finally come around on the obscene infant headdresses. 

I found this video on YouTube on how to make bow hair clips. Video by Jessica Shafer

I headed off to Michaels to buy ribbon, clips, and a hot glue gun. After several days of crafting, I had several bow clips to show for it! I also knit. My grandma taught me back in high school and I've been making things ever since. My husband suggested that with all my extra free time, I should come up with one big project to work on, instead of doing thousands of small things. I started a large blanket and got this tiny pink yarn for making a couple intricate hats. Here is the product of my stir crazy preggie days:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The List

Preggies are under a strict set of guidelines from health care providers from the get go. That list is the list of things preggies SHOULDN'T do.

This is the List of Preggie Things:

  • preggies can't tie their shoes
  • preggies can't put on socks
  • preggies can't bend over
  • preggies can't see their feet
  • preggies can't wear belts
  • preggies retain all the water
  • preggies can't lose weight
  • preggies can't go to a tanning booth
  • preggies can't dye their hair
  • preggies can't part take in happy hour
  • preggies can't control sweating
  • preggies can't control drooling
  • preggies can't control snoring
  • preggies can't control food cravings
  • preggies can't stop their emotions
  • preggies need a precise configuration of pillows to fall asleep
  • preggies can't eat certain foods that were their favorites, like deli ham, fish, and feta cheese
  • preggies won't fit in that car
  • preggies can't to anything "quickly"
  • preggies can't roll over
  • preggies can't sleep on their tummys
  • preggies need to nest
  • preggies need foot rubs
  • preggies need back rubs
  • preggies need lots of love
  • preggies need support
  • preggies appreciate what you're doing even though they might not acknowledge it

If you think of any others, please let me know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Water Hoarding Against My Will

The word "quick" doesn't exist to a preggie. I applaud the preggies out there doing all the yoga and the belly dancing and all that. I do believe that preggies can be flexible. I'm not talking about fitness here, however. I'm talking about day to day activities that one should be able to do quickly.

"I'll take a quick shower." That's a benign phrase, right? Not to a third trimester preggie. Lugging around the equipment with which to grow a human takes up some space. You get used to your body the way it is when you reach adulthood. Imagine being able to see your feet every single day of your life...then, suddenly...they're gone! Poof! Vanished! Hidden beneath that stretched out, tight, pale, vein covered basketball you have in there. Who knows...maybe the ghost at Target took them. 

I'll tell you one thing I was getting really good at though....retaining water. I could retain the shit out of water. I would drink water and my body would say "Oh, water? Awesome. I need that....for things...Hmm, it seems I'm nearly out of room. Let's see, oh! I know, put it down there at the top of the foot...I see a small space that isn't covered in water yet!" My body was showing obvious signs of hoarding. My ankles, along with my feet, were now missing. My knees were slowly following this trend. 

I had weekly appointments with the midwives. My weight gain was good, a pound here, a pound there. After my body started hoarding water, however, the gloves were off. I gained 7 pounds a week. My midwife wasn't concerned it was food causing this sudden leap up the scale. She said "Just looking at you, I can see where it's going." I could poke the top of my foot and feel water in there. I took to constantly laying down with my feet up. 

That meant no more working. 

My sole purpose at this point was to grow the baby. I tried to walk with my husband every evening as the sun went down, we made it as far as my feet would allow. But as soon as the stitching started to fray on the biggest shoes I owned, we had to turn back home. 

Thank goodness we had Netflix Instant Queue. Queue is a funny word.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Post-Preggie Regrets

I want to tell you all that I am sorry for not keeping a journal or a log during my pregnancy. I had so many stories, so many great adventures that I would have really enjoyed sharing with you. Alas, I didn't start this blog until late 2010 and everything that I've written so far is in the past.

I'm trying my best to recall the fine details of how everything felt, but honestly, I didn't have the best pregnancy. 

At the end of my second trimester I was still working full time. I know some of you may scoff at this, but I'm a red-headed fair skinned girl, and the Minnesota summers can be sweltering for anyone with my complexion. Well, add a seven month fetus and a full time job in a restaurant's kitchen where sitting down is NOT an option and tell me how you feel after that. 

I was having trouble at work. It really sucked because summer is the busy season. The restaurant I work at is right on the lake, and has a beautiful garden, with a fountain and 20 tables on the patio. It's a busy place to be day or night in the summer. It happened that my slow pace, foggy mind, and tired feet weren't going to take it much longer. I took to working only day shifts and training incoming staff. This gave me hours where I just needed to sit there and talk. As you can plainly see, I am a pro at talking.

I remember I was about 32 weeks when I was driving in for a training session and I started to think "I haven't felt Squishy kick all day." Whenever I had a question about my preggie self, I usually called my mom before the nurse line at the hospital. I had already had one mental breakdown over diet with them and I didn't want to go through that again. I tried my mom but she didn't answer. I called the nurse line and explained my predicament. I think they could sense the fear in my voice, and right as I walked into work, tears looming in my eyes in an unbalanced-hormone-stay-out-of-my-way kind of way, the nurse on the phone recommended that I come to the clinic at the hospital to check the baby. 

I drove safely, trying not to over-analyze what was happening. I'm sure everything is fine. I got to the clinic and the midwife in the office gave me a quick exam and a bottle of water and hooked me up to a machine. I sat there for an hour and tried to get myself into a zen-like state. The midwife came back in and said everything looked a-okay. 

When baby is about 30 weeks, a rapid growth spurt causes the available square footage in the uterus to dwindle. You may feel a slight decrease in fetal movement at this time. If you can't remember the last time your baby kicked, try these things...

Large glass of ice water
Lay on your left side with your feet elevated. Concentrate on your baby, breathe deeply. If one hour passes and you feel no movement, call your healthcare provider.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Second Trimester High

Being married made me feel the same, only more....something.

I don't want to sound disrespectful or rude in any way, but I felt accomplished. Not like girls in the 1950s felt when they got married straight out of middle school and their high for the week was getting a new washing machine. I refer you all to Mona Lisa Smile. 

I didn't want to be one of those girls on the social networking sites that dates a guy for two weeks, gets knocked up, then has to raise the baby herself. I was in a loving, committed relationship that was already going down that road when Squishy happened. I guess the wedding was my way of telling the world that I was, in fact, a grown up. I felt good. 

I went back to work full time with my head held high. I was somebody's somebody. I was growing a tiny human. I was a strong, independent, adorable preggie and I had a man that would love me forever. I was HAPPY :)

Another thing happened right after the wedding: I popped. For all you preggies, you know what this means. My belly decided to cross that fine line separating the "maybe preggie, maybe fat" to "when is the baby due" shape. 

This one is the wedding day. I don't think a complete stranger would be able to tell...
Two weeks after the wedding, however...
This happened.

I know the angles on the pictures might be a little strange, maybe you just have to take my word for it. I was starting to feel pregnant. Yes, I could still maneuver. Yes, I could still see my feet, sort of. Cravings were kicking up, and sickness was going away (FINALLY!!!). 

Other symptoms for the end of the second trimester is a long list for me to remember. Here's what my mommy brain could muster:

Sciatic Nerve Pain
Retaining water
B-b-b-b-bad reactions to salt
Heartburn at night
Lots of sex drive
Foot rubs
Drool (tons, like, you can't even imagine)

If you think of anything else, please let me know.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Wedding Sampler

Here are some pictures from our wedding
Photography by Naomi Pierre.

Rings with the flowers

My dress

My shoes and jewelry

The cake: chocolate truffle bottom layer
amaretto mousse top layers

Me as a bride, what do you think?

Husband and I just being us.

My wonderful sister and maid of honor

Best man, mother of groom, and husband. 
This is my favorite picture of the three of them.

My brothers and sister.

The whole family!!!

And a fun one, as well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Wedding

May 8th, 2010...

My wedding day. Our wedding day, really. I made breakfast and waited a few minutes to see if today was going to be a sick day...I felt fine! I had a few appointments to get to for the day, so I showered and headed to my parents' house. My personal attendant arrived shortly there after and we went over the schedule and packed The Bag.

Oh goodness...The Bag. My attendant had packed supplies for every situation. All the toiletries in travel sizes, extra make-up, Q-tips, shoes, snacks (preggies have to eat), an umbrella. I'm pretty sure she had a drop cloth and hot water should my water break and she was forced to deliver Squishy at the alter. That is a committed friend.

Men have it easy on their wedding days, in my opinion. It's the "bride's day" simply because the bride puts the  whole freaking day into getting ready for it. My Man had to get dressed and be at the venue by 4pm. One sentence. That's all. Am I wrong? Is there more that goes into the groom getting ready? So far, I haven't heard a story to suggest so.

As I mentioned before, this was a small wedding. I had one bridesmaid (my older sister), he had one groomsman (his younger brother). We had 60 guests. Small wedding.

I got my hair and make-up done with my sister at a local salon. During our stay there I had my attendant go to My Man's parents' house and give him his gift from me. A new bread maker, knife, and cookbook. She came back to the salon with a gift for me. An emerald necklace to match the emerald ring he had gotten for me for our one-year anniversary. Beautiful. We then went to the venue, which was literally a three minute drive from the salon.

We met our photographers there. We wanted a candid, photojournalism type wedding. I don't like it when all the pictures are posed. We did the family shots posed, of course, but the rest were just us being us.

Family pictures went by quickly, then we went inside to get ready for the ceremony. We wrote our own ceremony, our own vows. We chose the readings, and the announcement of marriage. The whole thing was 15 minutes. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was, honestly, a blur.

I was married to my best friend. This was awesome. We had dinner, champagne, cake, dancing. It's hard to describe a day that I put so much of myself into. I would think it would be easy, but it's not. I think that's why people have photographers.

We got the most positive feedback on...                            

Harpist Nicolas Carter                                                      
My Personal Attendant                                                    
The Food                                                                        
My Dress                                                                        
The Short Ceremony

There was one point that I really had to pee. I stole away to the potty for a few minutes and ran into one of my parents' friends from their neighborhood. She looked at me and said "I didn't know you were pregnant!!!" I really didn't know what to say about this. I wasn't actively keeping Squishy's existence from anyone, but I wasn't obviously pregnant looking, either. Maybe she just didn't get the block memo. News travels fast in the suburbs, I assumed that my mother would have brought it up at book club or something. I apologized because I didn't know what one is supposed to say to a family friend that accosts you in a bathroom on your wedding day about an unplanned pregnancy. Especially because I didn't know her political affiliation. Either way, she smiled and we both left the bathroom feeling happy, so good job me, I guess.

My husband and I thanked everyone for coming and left to our wedding night. That was comical. Watching him trying to figure out how to un-bustle my dress was about as amusing as watching my friend learn how to bustle it. We were exhausted.

Me: "Do we have to consummate it? I'm know, consummated."
Husband: "What if one of us dies tonight?"
Me: "Fine...I call bottom."

The best wedding gift is waking up the day after and not having to plan a wedding anymore. That stress was a full time job. We were free.

I'll post some pics in the next post

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bustling: The Dry Run

My personal attendant was a co-worker and friend. She is a fantastic person with a great sense of humor, animated, kind, generous, excellent work ethic, respectful...all of the above. She had been the most supportive person of my pregnancy other than My Man, and I knew she would be a perfect fit for taking care of me on my wedding day.  

 A few days before the wedding she went with me to pick up the dress from getting tailored. She had to learn how to bustle it.  The tailor that was explaining the bustling process was an extremely skilled Chinese woman who spoke very little English. She was attempting to explain six loops and ties and two buttons. I could tell this process was getting a little lost in translation.

 We work in the hospitality industry. The "back of the house" employees are predominately from Spanish speaking countries. We often spoke Spanglish when asking questions, clarifying orders, and explaining special orders. 

I'm telling you this because my friend kept speaking Spanish when she understood where a loop went. The tailor went in the back to get thread to color code the loops with their corresponding ties. I burst out laughing at this point. My friend asked me what brought that on. Explaining the fact that if the little old Chinese tailor didn't speak English, there was even less of a chance she spoke Spanish had us both doubled over in fits of laughter for a few minutes. 

She got the hang of bustling, I paid for the adjustments, we went to an early dinner and went home. I would call that a good night.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Daddy's Second Gift

My Man and I took to walking around the mall for exercise. Plus, I could get pretzels! One day he went into Build-A-Bear and came out with a stuffed bunny. He had purchased a bunny for me about a year earlier as the manifestation of an inside joke and a nickname I had of "Bunny-Butt". That bunny was the "Large Bunny". This new stuffed bunny was the mini version. How fitting! He named her Baby Bunny. I was to sleep with her so when the baby played with her it would become the favorite toy. Here is a picture of her modeling a hat I made. I am an avid knitter.

My Man: "This can be my first gift to Squishy!"
Me: "Your first gift was sperm."
My Man: "This can be my second gift to Squishy!"

I was four months pregnant and still having sick days. I was back to working full time. I was planning a wedding. I was growing a tiny human. I was a big multi-tasker.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Think Target is Haunted

Our second ultrasound was edging closer, but I was still on the fence about finding out if Squishy was a girl or a boy. My Man wanted to know. I did too, but I also wanted to keep my mom happy. She thinks it's one of life's "last surprises" so she was giving me a lot of pressure to keep it a secret. But when the day of the appointment came, I had made up my mind. We were finding out.

Honestly, I shouldn't have told everyone that I was planning on knowing the sex of the baby. I got so much grief at work about it. Suddenly I had 8 work moms telling me about their pregnancies, labors, deliveries, baby stats, hospital stays...I never asked for this wealth of information. Seriously, just because we have both used our uteruses for growing humans does NOT mean I need to know if you pooped during labor. I actually was really well informed about being a preggie since I had the internet, a labor and delivery expert mother, and the greatest pregnancy guide ever written. I wanted to tell them to shut up and work since I was still their boss, but I was a nice preggie. I resorted to the ever present plastered smile as I listened to countless stories and wasted time standing when I really wanted to sit down.

We were going to the same clinic for our ultrasound so I assumed we would have the same annoyingly chatty technician as last time. I was sure to drink plenty of water since she scolded me last time for not having a full bladder.

It was the same technichian, and she ultrasounded the shit out of my uterus. Here is a sample of the results (SPOILER ALERT):

Look, a tiny human!
Look, no penis! 
And there you have it! Squishy is a girl! We told the families via text, which I regret now. I wanted to do something super cute with cupcakes or something, but I was just bursting at the seams. I was literally bursting, I seriously had to pee STAT after that appointment.

We had to go to Target that day, so we headed there after the ultrasound. My Man left me alone with the cart for a minute or two and when he returned someone had mysteriously placed a flowered lamp and pink polka dot rug in the cart.

I think Target is haunted.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wedding on the Fly

When My Man and I got engaged, we thought we would wait a while before getting married. I wanted a big wedding with a big dress and a big honeymoon. When we found out about Squishy, however, I had other thoughts.

I wanted the same last name as my child. I wanted to be one family. I didn't want anyone to think that I had to settle just because I got pregnant. I was engaged BEFORE I got knocked up. Even if it was only for 45 minutes... Also, if we did wait until after the baby, there would be no time to get married. We would have a child, and a different set of priorities.

We started crunching numbers and sharing ideas with our parents. My Man's family supported our choices no matter what, my parents didn't want me to be pressured. I think my mom still wanted me to want the big wedding. Maybe because I'm more girly than my sister, or she wanted to plan it, or any other reasons that a mom would have for anything. You name it, I thought it. I didn't know what her motives were. I had to get tough. I had to lay down the law. I had the final say. *crossed arms and stern preggie face* 

After much deliberation, we decided to plan quickly. Our motto was "One choice, one decision." I didn't want to have to make too many choices. Venue, dress, cake, flowers, tuxes, music, food, minister.

The colors were green and purple. When we walked into the venue, it had green and purple wall paper. They had one opening six weeks from the meeting. They had two spaces in the building so the ceremony and reception could be in the same place. They did food and decoration. The opening was for the day before Mother's Day so the venue was offering huge discounts on renting the space. Normal charges for the two spaces was $3000. They had required liquor and food minimums of $1500 each. They also required a bouncer paid by the hour. All the minimums and bouncer were waived, and they lowered the renting price to $300 for both spaces for the day and night. Uh...duh.


We went across the street to Perkins. Cravings had set in and I was in dire need of pigs in blankets, breakfast potatoes, and french silk pie. I worked at Perkins when I was 16 then summers during college until I was 20. I still had the menu memorized. Yummy. 

I took my sister to David's Bridal one afternoon and picked my dress. I had limited options because of budget, time constraints, but mostly because I was going to be 5 months pregnant on my wedding day. Plus, I was having a sick preggie day. I hadn't showered, no make up, I was pale and tired looking. I tried on 8 dresses and picked the last one. I bought it three sizes too big. I tried on a few veils, picked one. I left with dress, veil, and slippers for exactly what I wanted to spend. Check.

Tuxes from Men's Warehouse. Solid black three button with green vest and tie. Shiny black shoes. Check.

Flowers and cake were easy. We went to the preferred vendors of our venue. Both places were local merchants and award winning. Loved them both. Check.

Photography was going to be done by a friend of My Man's. She's wonderful and her style was just what we were looking for. I loved having someone who knew us taking pictures. Check.

I wanted a DJ over a band. It was cheaper. Another friend from an award winning company. Check.

Food was provided by the venue. It was cooked on site. I wanted a sit down dinner. I wanted some formal aspects to this simple and cost effective wedding. We chose a chicken and a prime rib dish, my dad's favorite salad, mashed potatoes and green beans for sides. Yummy...I mean...Check.

We found our officiant off a certified minister website. We met with her and liked her right away. She sent us a book of options to pretty much build our own ceremony. FUN!!!! Check.

Our officiant recommended a harpist for the ceremony since the wedding was going to be so small. She had worked with him before. We called him up and met with him. I loved his South American spunk and he was really talented. I asked him if he knew Fields of Gold and he looked it up on YouTube and said he would learn it. He also gave me a CD of classical stuff he composed to play to the baby...sweet! Check. Here is a video we found of him before we met...enjoy.

Great, huh? So that was everything. I ordered invitations from a website and was very satisfied. My mom took me shopping for shoes (DSW) and jewelry (Macy's). Did I miss anything?

Oh, right...I had to ask off work. I thought my boss was going to kill me. Mother's Day weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the year. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eat bread, That Should Help

I got really sick in the first trimester with Squishy. Not eating anything, feeling sick all the time, losing weight, the smell of food was enough to send me over the edge. Thank goodness I didn't work in a restaurant...


I worked in a restaurant. I got there in the morning to smell butter melting, bacon and sausage sizzling, pancakes, fruit, coffee. Don't you love those smells? Well, sick preggie me didn't. I took to carrying sliced lemon with me at all times to block out all the aforementioned nostril stimulants. 

My co-workers helped a lot. They didn't fight. They took to solving problems on their own. I actually think that my sickness increased employee productivity. While my personal mission every work day was to keep water down, I knew something had to give. My boss was loving and sympathetic. She told me to go home, quit working, and call when I felt better. I had no clue when that was going to be. Well, maybe this rest would speed up my recovery. 

I have to mention that My Man was wonderful during these bad times. Cutting B-6 pills in half (try it, I dare you), changing the shows on the TV, and putting the pillows on the couch just so to facilitate maximum nap time potential. Since preggies aren't supposed to take any kind of medication, care can get a little frustrating. The midwives told me if I ever have any questions I should call the nurse line. Since I couldn't sit up most of the time, My Man made these calls.

My Man: "*SnowMommy* is 15 weeks pregnant. She can't take vitamins or prenatal supplements. She can't eat more than a cracker at a time. She has trouble keeping water down. Sometimes B-6 helps a bit, but not much. Is there anything else we can do?"

Nurseline: "Well, avoid spicy foods. Try to take the prenatals. Try bland foods like bread."

My hormones were everywhere, so after a call like that I would generally burst into tears. Not even the nurses could help me. Wait, my own mother is a nurse! I called mommy dearest and asked her for help. She came over and gave me my saving grace. Now, I want to give you all a little disclaimer here. I am not a medical professional. You should always follow your medical professionals advice.

My mom when through chemotherapy for 6 months a few years ago (currently in remission). She gave me some leftover pills that she had from her chemo nausea. My Man cut them in half and I took two halves a day. They kept me nausea-free long enough to eat a cracker or two, then made me a little sleepy so I could take a nap. I'm not going to say the name of the pill, but I trusted my mom. This was an act of desperation.

By the start of my second trimester, I began to feel better. Winter was waning and I actually wanted to go out sometimes. What I really wanted was to go back to work! I didn't like this constant confinement to the apartment.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"It's a little squishy..."

My boobs hurt. Sorry, was that a bad start? Well, get over it. I was in a bad first trimester, sick as a dog (a sick dog), working 50+ hours, and all the other bad things. I missed food. I missed not seeing food after I ate it. I don't know which one I missed more. Honestly, puking was so second nature, I could time it out to the minute. I would drink water or eat a cracker and based on what my stomach felt like, I had between 10 and 30 minutes before I hurled.

I spent a lot of time on the couch. For the move, we enlisted the help of my strapping 16 year old twin brothers, my rocket scientist older sister, and my dad. Mom hadn't really come around yet...I was still working on her. We gathered all the grocery and garbage bags, loaded them into shopping carts, and wheeled them down the hall to the new place. I sat on the couch at the new place and dictated where each bag should go. Much of the stuff was placed in the empty "den" that was to be the baby's room later. Out of sight, out of mind. When it was out of sight, there was a much smaller chance of me getting barf on it, too. 

We got the whole move done in one day, and unpacked slowly. My tummy was tender to the touch, and My Man sat next to me and did his best to comfort me. He poked at my belly button and said "It's a little squishy."

Lil Squishy. That is what we will call the baby. From now on, Squishy is the code name for the baby. It's gender neutral. Hey, are we gonna find out what Squishy is? I didn't want to, he did. I was tired that night, we will have this fight another day...

Friday, February 4, 2011

At Least the Book is Good

I was feeling pretty awesome after that first ultrasound. I'm growing a person. I can eat pretty much whatever I want and nobody cares because I have to eat for two. My Man bought a book that we referred to a lot. I endorse this book for anyone who is expecting. It was a wealth of information for the whole pregnancy and after. It's called  Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy (cover pictured below). He got it on for a good price. I like it way better than What to Expect When You're Expecting simply because it covers not only what's happening with baby, it covers what's happening to mom also. Do your research, and pick a reference guide that is best for your family during your pregnancy. It can really help to keep your mind at ease every step of the way.

In the next few weeks, My Man and I packed up the apartment to move literally across the hall to a bigger place. It was really nice that I didn't have to pack boxes for car or stair travel. Grocery and garbage bags were fine by me. I wasn't picky, I would organize when I unpacked in the new place. 

Oh, one other thing: I was puking. Constantly.

My sickness started a few days after that first ultrasound. I usually got up for work around 5:30am. I had to adjust that time to 4:45 or 5:00am to allow for barfing. Gross. 

The two worst ailments, in my mind, are aches and nausea. When one is nauseated, one can simply vomit and the feeling goes away. O, ho, not the case when the "one" is a preggie (a woman who is pregnant, I will use this term a lot). I couldn't eat anything. I couldn't drink anything. If I drank water, I would vomit water foam. You try managing a restaurant by yourself for 10 hours whilst crouching over the toilet, dealing with guests, and all the other things! I'm pretty sure that if you work in a restaurant you can't come to work if you're vomiting. I did it anyway. Ugh, it was nuts. My mother had some words. She probably thought they were encouraging, but I didn't take them that way...

Mom: "The sicker you are, the stronger hold the baby has."
Me: "Seriously? This baby could let go a little and be FINE."

I was losing weight. Possibly the only upside to the first trimester and a half of my pregnancy. I was reassured by a nurse at the hospital that the baby takes what it needs from me regardless if I'm eating enough or not. I was given a list of meds and vitamins to take to ease the nausea, none helped. I was sleeping, though. Probably because of lack of food and drink. This whole thing was happening around a full work schedule and packing to move. Then My Man and I started getting questions from our parents about moving up the wedding date. WOW, really? I can't keep water down, I need a supervisor in the bathroom to make sure I don't faint in the shower and you want me to plan a wedding on top of it?!

Well, okay.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dixie Cups Are Small

My Man and I went to our first midwife appointment together. We met with her for about an hour, she did all the tests, asked all the questions, and gave us all the answers. I wasn't sure how far along I was so she scheduled an ultrasound for later that afternoon.

We went to the ultrasound pretty much straight from the midwife offices at the hospital. The ultrasound tech was mad at me for not drinking water. I didn't have time to drink enough water to fill my bladder in the waiting room. I was worried that the ultrasound wouldn't work or something if my bladder wasn't full to bursting. I had My Man bring me six of those little plastic dixie cups full of drinking fountain water into the office so I could say I did my best. 

My best wasn't good enough. This tech was wondering how I could have been so stupid, and she LOVED to hear herself talk. Blah, Blah, Blah. Just let me see my baby, okay? 

Me: "Awww, it looks like a little gummy bear."
My Man: *tears* (He's so sweet!)

So, this baby is due September 12th, 2010. That is 40 weeks to the day from conception. This first ultrasound picture measures the baby at 7 weeks 2 days, as depicted in the lower left hand corner.

Remember how I told you to keep that date in mind?

Me: "Holy crap, we got engaged 7 weeks and 2 days ago. This is an engagement night baby!"
My Man: "So the people that sold me your ring are responsible for this?"
Me: "I'm hungry."