Out and About in Public

Friday, February 29, 2008

Today is Friday and I was to meet my friend at Luby's for Fish Fridays. I got up, fed Mari, and dressed her. I was going to put her in a Tech outfit, but couldn't find one that would fit her. All of her Tech clothes are things for her to grow in, because she's not yet long enough. Anyway, she was surprisingly calm during her diaper change. When I dressed her with the first layer, she was still calm. But then, when I put the K-State outfit on her, she erupted in a fit of anger. I smiled. That's my girl! She much rather have red and black and purple and white. ha ha! Just kidding. She was so cute in her college apparel, I had to take a picture. He has her paci to calm her down. Oh, and I didn't have any purple socks, so I figured she might enjoy wearing her fuzzy butterfly shoes. Oh and notice the hands? That's what she does when she's attempting to calm herself.

After Luby's, we went to Academy so I could spend the gift card that my mom gave me for Christmas. I was looking forward to a new pair of running shoes. I found them and grabbed some socks. It was such a gorgeous day outside and I was already on this side of town, I figured, 'eh, I might as well hit up Arbor Hills. Mari was still sleeping, so why not. Well, instead of going to check out, I had to hit up the $2.88 clearance rack. Who doesn't like to get a deal on a piece of clothing, right? Well, she stirred awake and was ready to eat. Fortunately, I had the foresight to pump beforehand, so I had a bottle. I made my way back to the shoe section and sat on the bench to feed her. I received a few irritated stares, but I mostly got happy looks from other moms who were shopping. Well, after every feeding, I have to change her diaper, so this was my first diaper changing in public. It actually didn't go nearly as badly as I thought it would go. In reality, it was a breeze. She only fussed in the end. I dressed her and loaded everything back into the AWESOME diaper bag! We went to check out and I put my sneakers on and headed to Arbor Hills.

Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Tutu Roll
I absolutely LOVE my new diaper bag. This is totally a sidenote, but I had to give a flying rave for it. There's tons of space, I love the pockets and when it comes to diaper changes, the changing pad is so soft and comfortable for the baby. She doesn't mind it as much. I was so lucky to notice the MONSTER sale online that I learned from one of the message boards that I frequent. I'd had my eye on PPB bags ever since I first saw them at a local boutique shop. Of course, I couldn't stomach spending that amount. For that price, I was just going to buy a large Coach bag and convert it to a diaper bag. Well, again, because of the sale, I got this one and purchased a spare to have for when she's a toddler. The other one seems to be friendlier for sippy cups, bigger toys, and such. Anyway, back to Arbor Hills...
So like I said, I made it to Arbor Hills. I unloaded Mari and the stroller and we went for our walk. I had about an hour to finish my walk and get home before Don made it back. I was just going to do the 1.25 mile, but I my pace was fast enough that I decided to add the extra leg. Well, I was feeling REALLY great, so I busted out with a light trot. Figured I'd run for 5 minutes. Well, 5 minutes came and I was more than halfway through that part of the trail, so I said to myself that I may as well finish. I finished that mile and I felt GREAT!! I was sweaty, hot, and my heart pounding and I couldn't remember the last time that I felt that post-workout high. I had my super endorphins and I didn't realize how much I missed them until that moment. LOVED IT! I know I'm working out 3 weeks before I get the ok from my doctor, but I'm feeling good and I don't think that I'm overdoing it. C'mon, it was a 9 minute mile, I was hardly going at a fast pace, so I thought it was ok and every so much more beneficial to my body. I was quite surprised by how well the stoller held up when I was running. If I continue on these light jogs, then I think it won't be so bad.

I finished up the run and headed home to freshen up. Our friend Will was coming to town and we were going to hang out. Well, when he arrived, I fed Mari got her dressed and we headed to go vote. OMG...that was a horrible waiting experience that I will not revisit. Let's just say that it took nearly an hour and a half and I think that time would've been cut to half an hour had the initial volunteer checking voter registration cards/driver's licenses could type faster than1 word every 5 minutes. Yes, she was a hunt and pecker for the keys and she only used her right index finger to type each key. I couldn't help but be annoyed and laugh at the same time. We jetted over to Target and we were going to eat dinner at Fishmongers. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it in time before Mari had to eat again, but she seemed content so why not. I'd not prepared a bottle, so I was getting anxious. I bought some breast pads since I'd forgotten to put some in my bra. Didn't want any embarrassing leakage.
We make it to Fishmongers and Will and Don delight themselves in 2lbs of mud bugs. I still can't bring myself to eat them and I honestly think that I'm allergic to them. It's hit an miss. Sometimes I break into a rash and other times I'm fine. Hmm...anyway, we also indulged into some oysters. Oh my, how I missed them! I took my saltine cracker, spread a bit of horseradish, slid the oyster in the center of the bed of horseradish, and lightly doused it with some fiery red cajun sauce. YUM! Our food came out and right after I was full, Mari started stirring and I knew she was hungry. My body was responding to her crying and I just told Don that I'd meet him in the car. It was tricky to try to nurse her in the back seat. It just wasn't going to happen. I jumped to the front seat and balanced her on the arm rest. She latched on and was quite content to nurse in the car. At first she wasn't happy, but we made it work. Well, I know the Honda engineers didn't have nursing in mind when they designed the arm rest, but I'm so thankful it was there! Note to self, ALWAYS have a bottle on hand just in case.

Happy 3 Week Birthday!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today my little one celebrates her 3 week milestone. What have I learned so far about her? When I nurse her, she loves to cross her feet at the ankles. I know she's latched on sufficiently by the loud range of her gulps. The first half dozen swallows are gulps. I have to hold her close and tightly, otherwise she'll pull away because she's going too fast and she'll choke. When she gets ready to feed, she gets down to business immediately. Even though her hands make it somewhat difficult when I'm trying to get her to latch on, it's so nice that she'll either "hold on" or bury her hands in me to get comfortable. I can't properly describe how bonding nursing is. I feel like such a provider for her and we connect again, almost like she's inside of me again. It's pretty amazing. The nurses told me that it would take 2 -4 weeks for her to "get it" and sure enough, at 3 weeks she seems to know when it is time to feed and she'll just get right on. That's not to say we still don't have our hiccups. I know she's an infant, but she knows that if she's angry, she can just bite down and cause a sharp reaction from mommy. Talk about love: she's the only thing that can cause such pain and I'll just love her even more.

Both Don and I allow ourselves time to wind down, mentally. I do mine in different forms: running, cleaning, or even sleeping. He does his by playing video games. About a week or so ago, he bought Call of Duty 4 for PS3. I must say that he's pretty good at video games and I like that he and my brother can bond over them. Well, I have to admit that I think it is pretty cool to watch how he interacts with other gamers and how much fun he gets out of it. Anyway, he doesn't mind watching Mari when he gets home from work. It gives me time to catch up on things around the house or even just to take a shower. On this particular day, I was putting away laundry and I saw this shot and thought it was so cute. I had to grab the picture! Poor thing, her head is all kinds of bent over, but she was so content. We tried to straighten her out and she just fussed and woke up, so I guess she wanted to stay that way. Who knew she'd be so comfortable on Daddy's lap while he conquered the gaming world.

Dinner out with friends: That evening to celebrate her milestone, we went to eat at Posado's with Jorge and Hayley. Don had initially asked them to babysit so we could go to dinner and a movie. It was so spontaneous and I loved it, but I had not prepared adequately. There weren't any prepared bottles and I knew if we were going to be gone that long, she'd need to eat. I told him I wanted a raincheck in the next few weeks and to just give me a days heads up so I can have food for the baby. In any case, it was incredible going to dinner with friends and still doing what we used to do, but had her in tow. I love how patient our friends are and I'm especially grateful how much they all love her. It's a fantastic feeling!

20...nearly 30

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

20 days old and still growing!

Sorry I've been out of commission lately. She's been putting herself into her own routine and I think I was acclimating better when she was sleeping for only 2 hours. The 3-4 hour mark is tough for me. It is just long enough for me to get into my deep, deep sleep, so waking up has become quite cumbersome. It's been three days, so I think I'm finally coming around. Plus, my mom visited us for a couple of days and it was a great visit. For those of you who live in the area, wasn't Monday gorgeous??? We heard it was 88 outside and we totally felt it. Camille and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I took Mari out and kept the shade open on her stroller so she could get some sun. I think she really enjoyed it! Don has been such a great help and I'm so blessed to have him in this with me.


Last night was one of our toughest nights. We took my mom back to my daddy's hotel room so they could catch their plane today. Mari loves her Nana and something about my mom is always very, very calming to her. She's able to put her to sleep in a heartbeat. Anyway, we waited for my father to get to his room from his final session. She was sleeping soundly and then started fussing about 10 minutes after my dad got there. I rocked her and everything was fine. She was just fussy. Well, when we get home, she's fussy again. I nursed for 10 minutes and she was quiet for about 20 minutes and started fussing again. She was rooting. I didn't have any milk readily available so we thawed 3 oz. She ate every last drop of it! Guzzled it down. I was quite surprised, but I just figured she was really, really hungry and maybe going through a growth spurt. We burped her and I loved how she is always shocked when she lets out a really loud one! (hence the picure) It hit me that she may not be comfortable next time I nursed b/c I'd had a big plate of asparagus. Well, all was well for about an hour. Then she started to fuss again. I had no idea what was going on. Poor doll! Don seemed wide awake and at that point I'd totally lost my shine. He tagged me out and I took a quick nap. Well, it wasn't that much longer afterwards that I got up and she was still crying. It was after 1 and I didn't know what to do.l She seemed to be rooting again, so I nursed for another 11 minutes. I figured she'd settle in really good by then. Unfortunately, for the next 30 minutes she fussed and cried and scratched at me, herself, and in the air. My heart was breaking, my head was throbbing, my boobs were TOTALLY sore, and I just felt defeated. It was 2AM and we were both exhausted. Her poor belly was really hard and it hit me that she was probably gassy and couldn't get it out. Well, sure enough, she'd let out a ginormous thunder from her diaper and immediately passed out. I said a quick prayer (of thanks and hope that this was it) and just rocked her. Less than 15 minutes later, we passed out on the couch. I got up at 5 and nursed her and changed the diaper. It was crazy! Again, another feeding at8AM and 11. Both times she was so gassy and her diapers were the worst they'd ever been. I felt so sorry for her. No more asparagus for me or at least not that much. I finally have a moment to play catch up. It is nearly time for another feeding, then off to go run errands.

NEARLY 30 But in other exciting news, at least I think it is exciting...Don and I bought a new scale that not only does your weight, but measures body fat, hydration, and will let you log a goal weight. I programmed it and set it up for me. It allows you to store up to 5 different user's information. Anyway, I don't like to weigh myself and I actually haven't owned a scale...ever. The only time I weigh myself is at the gym or at the doctor office. I don't like weight, I much rather know my body fat percentage. Anyway, I got on the scale not expecting much. Well, I looked at the number and I was AMAZED. I've lost nearly 30 pounds!!! I've not even started my strength and cardio training. This makes me so hopeful and happy. I'm so glad to be within range of my pre-pregnancy weight. I think if I stay dedicated I could actually hit my ultimate target goal weight. I'll keep you posted. The only thing I've changed is that I'm not eating sweets. This has been really, really tough, but I think I can do it. I'm cutting out all sweets until my birthday. We'll see, I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Anyway, that's it! Take care! I'll post pics of her 3 week birthday tomorrow. Also, don't forget to early vote in Texas if you haven't done so already!

Happy 2 Week Birthday!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two weeks ago I gave birth to this darlin' babe. We've had quite an adventure so far. I've been given the opportunity to be with her for about 22 out of 24 hours during each day. I study her and have learned to decipher what each facial expression means. We're starting to know one another pretty good. Knock on wood, she's been doing a great job of latching on and I've even gone on 2 outings without a bottle! GASP!! Eeek, we're totally living on the edge, I know. I've not nursed in public, but I do have my cover up wrap in tow just in case.

Yesterday, was a VERY tough day. She just seemed really clingy and needy. I couldn't put her down otherwise she'd cry and cry. So I held her in my arms all day and resigned myself to the couch until my beloved came home. We did some napping, but I mostly got caught up on the phone calls I had to make. I only made 3 of the 7 I have on my list. It's a slow process and those who I care about know that I'm busy right now, so they understand the delay in my response. I also wrote a couple of thank you notes, so it wasn't a total bust of a day, but I was unable to get out of the house. When Don came home, I guess he recognized the look on my face and took the baby. I took a warm bath and a hot shower to relax. I love hanging with her, but it was rough and I needed a Calgon moment. I'm so lucky to have Don. He just took over and he's really getting a knack of this parenting thing. He had her swaddled tightly and had a bottle warming. When I got out of the shower, she'd been changed, fed, and was quietly napping. We indulged in some leftovers. When we went to bed, Mari and I actually gambled and slept with Don. We'd been spending our nights in the living room since I can control the light with a remote and when she refuses to go back to sleep we can play without disturbing her daddy. Anyway, I was able to sleep in the bed for a full 3 hours before she was ready for the next feeding.

After the 6AM feeding, we went back to the bed and joined Don until he had to get up to get ready for work. We both slept and I vaguely remembered Don kissing us goodbye. Roughly three hours later we awoke and lazied around. Danika came by. We were going to go walking, but the weather outside was too nasty. I suggested we do some indoor walking. I had to go to Costco and Kroger and her accompanying me would be a great help! By the time Danika arrived, Peggy Sue Got Married was nearly finished. I dressed Mari and had her hold her while I got ready. I fed her just before and she was content. We loaded up the car and headed to Costco. I got all of our goodies and finished up at Kroger. It was quite a bit colder outside than what I was expecting. Luckily, I'd bundled the baby up, so she was warm enough. I got home in time for the next feeding. I fed her and when I went to change her she'd exploded in her diaper. A not-so-quick change later and she was content again. I took a chance and put her in her rocker to see if I could get some stuff done.

Here she is bundled up and passed out. I moved the papasan walker to the kitchen so I could cook. Immediately, I loaded the dishwasher, cleaned all of her bottles and sterilized them. Then, I moved on to the fridge and tossed everything that was old or expired. I cleared out enough room in there and the freezer. All of the excess took up about 3/4 of a trash bag. I organized it all and rearranged everything so each thing would have a place. It felt great having an organized and clean fridge. It was so much easier to find everything.

Now to cook! I prepped 2 crockpot meals: pot roast and mushroom chicken. For the pot roast, I added roast, carrots, peas, chicken broth, and fingerling potatoes. In the mushroom chicken, I added 2 large chicken breast, sliced mushrooms, a can of cream of chicken soup, and a bit of chicken stock. I set both items to cook on low.

Meanwhile, I chopped up the rest of the potatoes and 1/2 an onion. I cooked up the potatoes and onion with a bit of kosher salt. That would be part of breakfast for tomorrow. After that, I cooked up the turkey meat and sausages. I combined them together and added some tomato basil marinara sauce. I cooked up some rotini pasta. After it was cooked, I put it in a casserole dish and topped it with Havarti cheese. I let it bake for 15 minutes so the cheese would be good and melted. MMM...and it was delish! That's what we had for dinner. We have lunch for this weekend and Don has a couple of lunches for next week. Yaaay! I even cleaned all of the dishes along the way and scrubbed the sink. I felt so productive and Mari slept through all of my clanging and chopping. By the time Don came home, dinner was ready, the kitchen was clean, and baby was ready to nurse again.

We got the first disk for Firefly, so we comfortably settled in to watch the entire thing through the night. It's a great night and I think Mari had a good day too.

Stripes, Bath, and Beyond

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It was going to be a beautiful 60 degree day in Texas and I needed to get out of the house. My friend Camille was coming over and we were going to head to Arbor Hills for a nice stroll. We did our morning feeding routine and I got her dressed and ready to go. Again, she wasn't happy to have her diaper changed and she angrily made it known her displeasure. I put her fancy black onesie and striped tights because I was feelin' sassy. She looked so cute, despite her sheer displeasure. I snapped the photo and picked her up. She immediately quieted down. I thought she'd gone to sleep on my shoulder. I was about to put her in the bassinet so I could get dressed. In the process of me moving her she spit up all over herself and me. Black onesie covered in yellow-white spit up, I'm covered in all of it, and because her fist was in the way and she likes to flail her arms, it was all in her hair and over her face. She just stared at me in a helpless little way, as if to tell me, "Man, that felt great!" Back to the changing table and more screaming. I took off the clothes and treated it all with some Shout. She smelled kinda funny too, so I went ahead and changed the diaper. Well, 'lo and behold, she wasn't quite finished. I was lucky enough to have put the other diaper under her, but unlucky because it wasn't on straight. She'd leaked a bit on her leg. Again, it was ok because there was no mess on the changing table. After getting all of the spit up and poo off her body with wipes, I went to give her bath. This was her first bath since losing her umbilical cord. It was kinda tricky since last time I had Don to help me. I was dirty enough, so I didn't care how wet I was going to get. I remembered thinking, as wet as I got, I could've probably showered with her. She wasn't too happy about the bath either, but it was a lot less anger than when she gets her diaper changed. I actually think she liked the warm water. But when I washed her hair, well, that's when she got upset. Her entire little body turned a lobster red and her crying went totally silent. The look of complete anguish broke my heart and I just wanted to cry too. I talked to her in a soothing voice, and I could hear the tremble in my cadence. It seemed to calm her. I wrapped her in her warm towel and held her tight to my chest.
She looked up at me content and relieved. I gave her the paci and she quieted down even more. She sucked like Maggie from The Simpsons and I took her back to the dreaded changing table and got her dressed again. I swaddled her in a couple of blankets and put her in her vibrating rocking seat. She just sat there quietly. Here she is after the bath. Look how her hair curls up!After it dries, I brush it and it straightens out. She's just so darn cute!

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Camille came by and we loaded Mari up in the carseat. We packed up the car with the diaper bag and stroller and headed to Arbor Hills. It wasn't very packed and that made me happy. True to form, Mari had passed out in the car ride over and was going to probably sleep for while. Camille had never walked the loop, so I explained to her that it was about 1.25 miles. She was ready for it. We walked the BIG hill and huffed a bit until we got to a fork in the road. We decided to take the extra leg. I had my water, Mari seemed content, Camille was game, and I was feeling SUPER good, so why not. Towards the end of our walk, I caught this little squirrel eating. I snapped the shot and wanted to remember the first time I took the baby out to the preserve. We also saw a hawk, a cardinal, a bunny, a few spiders, and 1 rubber snake. We had such a great time and was quite surprised (and impressed) that we'd just walked 2.25 miles. We felt great and committed to going for some sort of outdoorsy walk at least once a week. Walking is the only kind of exercise I can do for now so I have to take full advantage. I'm glad that I have this committment with Camille, so I'll be motivated enough to get out and about. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.

Random stream of thoughts...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tiny feet, I wonder what roads these small feet will travel. I imagine the adventures she'll have and I can only hope and pray that her feet will carry her to many happy and exciting places. Places filled with tranquil serenity, as well as, courageous quests. I wish for her to live life, fully. I'm rather blessed to have had many, many adventures of my own, and I'll continue to have them. One of my first gifts that I hope to impress on her is IMAGINATION. My mother read me many stories and fairy tales, each of which gave life because she spoke the dialogue in colorful voices. I didn't realize how much of an impact that had on me until someone read a story in class and it sounded so bland and uninteresting because I couldn't inject my imagination into the bland tale. Being a very shy child, I relied quite a bit on my imagination. I don't yet know my child's personality, if she'll be shy or bold, but I do know that she'll be well-equipped with her own sense of fantastical creative thought.

This past weekend my mother brought us the first of many Girl Scout cookies. They are still in the plastic grocery bag that she put them in. I don't want to touch them. 1 week to the day after I'd given birth, on a whim I picked up my favorite pair of pre-pregnancy jeans and tried them on. I wondered, much further am I going to have to go before I can seem more of who I was. 'Lo and behold, they not only fastened at the button, but they zipped up completely! I was impressed. Again, my body never ceases to amaze me. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of it and how discerning I've become of what I put into it. Even moreso because what I eat will directly affect my baby since I produce what she's eating. Yesterday we had Mexican food. I indulged in some jalapenos. Poor thing, she's not only been really gassy, but she's had a bit of acid reflux as well. No more spicy goodness! Today, I focused on ingesting more greens and definitely hydrating myself a bit more.

I've also decided that it is important for me to get out daily. Being cooped up in the house is never a good thing and it will definitely aid in post-partum depression. I had a brief preview of what all of that was like last Friday. I'd stayed in for most of the day prepping for visitors from out of town and I was emotionally exhausted. I could feel my mood shifting and I couldn't control it. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and teared up. I didn't recognize me. Even though I've shed some pounds, my face is still full. My hair was disheveled and I'd been in the same t-shirt and pajamas for too long. Immediately, I went to take a shower, dress myself properly, add some accessories and make-up and I begin to feel more like myself. Normally, I would've gone for a run to clear the head, but this is not yet possible. I'm itching to hit the pavement and get my heart rate up, but my doctor hasn't cleared me for exercise yet. For now, I must be content with walking. Tomorrow, I'm going to hit up Arbor Hills with the kid. Walking is relatively low-impact and it will be good for me to get some fresh air. It'll be good for her to get out and about as well. Plus, spending time inside a store doing retail therapy can be just as bad as lingering in the house.

For the first time in a very long time, my hands are super-duper soft since I'm washing her bottles by hand nearly twice a day. It has become part of my morning routine: get up, feed the baby, change her, use the bathroom, brush my teeth, wash my face, put in my contacts, comb my hair, pull it back, wrap her in the sling, gather all of her bottles and the stuff I've used for pumping, then wash and sterilize it all. I've got it all down to about15 minutes, not including the time for nursing or feeding her. I wash and sterilize everything again after dinner. This time, though I prep all of the baggies of pumped milk for the freezer. Right now, I have quite a bit, I don't really know what I'm going to do with it. I guess I'm just getting into the habit.

Anyway, life is still very, very good. Tomorrow, I also need to set up her baptism. I'm hoping that we can do it Memorial Day weekend. We'll see. Now I'm off to design her birth announcements.

Don's Words

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don wrote a blog and it was so amazing, I had to share it! Happy Valentine's Day!!

The Newborn Chronicles: Day 6
There is a vein of the absurd in our culture; one where neophytes have a need to enlighten the entire populace with their 'expertise' about whatever subject with which they have developed cursory knowledge. Yes, you are not mistaken, the kettle is hurling accusations at the pot…grin
I have been a father for 6 days and in the interests of bequeathing humanity a profound new understanding of parenting here are 12 things I think I know about fatherhood, newborns, and mothers.

1)Dropping your child is about as likely as being struck by lightning.
Experts may argue about the reasons for a lack of gravity induced injuries, I think it has something to do with the mind-numbing fear of newborn butterfingered-ness fathers get when first forced to handle their child. I personally have moved beyond paranoia about dropping her and am now paranoid about bonking her head on a wall as I walk through doorways.
2) Newborns have patterns, it is fairly simple to identify the major ones and develop an equilibrium of sorts. With consistency, patience, and effort it is even possible to affect those patterns even in one so young.
3) Patterns change, usually at 3am.
4) Newborns are the epitome of cool.

They do what they want, when they want, and when they don't get it, let you know about it vociferously in short order. While they are awake they often feign indifference to your existence. Paris Hilton has nothing on a newborn.
5) Newborns are the epitome of love.
They may be angrier than you have ever seen, lost in a sea of doubt and confusion as to the cause you desperately hand them to their mother and the briefest hint of her touch and scent pacifies the wild beast.
6) Newborns are like the worst partier you ever roomed with on spring break.
a. You know who I am talking about. They get bombed, puke up the last hour of effort, and demand another shot. Pass out, crap their pants, wake up, grab a bottle of Jack Daniels, and want to hang out. The only real difference is it is easier to carry a newborn…and they smell much better.
7) The first three times your child pukes on you it's funny.
a. They always seem surprised by it and the look of shock followed by relief is priceless. While freshly fed breast milk is not really nasty the effort required to produce it, feed it to your child, and then have to clean it up and start over at three in the morning begins to wear on you.
8) Being exhausted and or annoyed by your child's efforts to crush 'the best laid plans of mice and men' is a good thing. It forces you to be a better parent.
9) Thank God our child is healthy and happy.
a. I do not wish colic on anyone, Marisabelle gets cranky but there are remedies that satisfy her in relatively short order. An unsoothable newborn has to be excruciating.
10) 'Helping' your wife get through the birth gives you a better understanding of what kind of love you have for her.
a. Bianca is a tough woman. Throughout labor she was capping her pain behind a stiff upper lip. The infrequent and honest expressions of pain that slipped by her resolve nearly wrecked me. 'Manning up' has a new definition.
11) Getting punched in the eye by your newborn is an expression of love.
a. Despite everything that my child has put me through thus far, I only love her more.
12) As hard as it sounds to wait a few minutes after your child poops herself, procrastination properly applied is a smart and proper strategy. It is also wise to develop a diaper changing skill that rivals a Nascar pit crew in efficiency and speed.
a. Newborn poop derived from breast milk is not the nastiest stuff in the world. However, it is wet, a bit explosive, and comes in waves of unknown frequency and duration. To plunge into a diaper change before all the waves have passed, or fail to quickly and effectively change the diaper is to invite disaster.
b. I had never changed a diaper in my entire life until the eighth of February, it is amazing how much you improve in a few short days (a lot of practice).

Kinda like Spring Break...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I was talking with a friend of mine today. He asked me how motherhood was going. I told him I was tired, but wired and ecstatic! Like I hadn't slept for a few days. He was like, oh, like Spring Break w/o the bikinis. And I added, yeah, and minus the alcohol, but the same amount of puke and no time for eating, too. LOL.

I'm eating more than I did the first day home. We had visitors over on Sunday and I felt really great that day. It was gorgeous and I felt confident enough to drive myself to the store to some essentials for Mari. We had friends coming over and I wanted to be back before they got there. I dressed myself and even put a bit of makeup on. I felt pretty. When I got home, I was so excited to see everyone when they came by. We hung out, but a fast forward a few hours and I was spent. I really needed to lay down and relax. I was hurting a bit and I knew I'd pushed a bit too hard, too soon. I fell asleep when everyone was here, but they completely understood. They were here to see the baby anyway, right?

Monday came and I felt so much better knowing that I'd had a good nap the night before and slept hard in between the feedings. We were still trying to get our rhythm with the nursing, but I couldn't forget Alice's (my lactation consultant that I saw at the hospital before we'd come home) words. She was amazing and she told me that Mari and I were naturals. I just needed to be patient and so did she, but that we both knew what to do, we just needed to relax. Sure enough, Mari will latch on so long as I'm relaxed and she's ready. We took her to Dr. Okamoor's office on Monday for her first visit. She'd lost 8% of her body weight in the hospital and they wanted to see her before 1 week. They also said she had a bit of jaundice, but nothing to worry about. Well, she gained 2oz back and almost all of the jaundice was gone. Dr. Okamoor said she was perfect and progressing well. That we were doing a fantastic job and to keep it up. Don and I looked at each other and I think we were both EXTREMELY comforted hearing that. On that visit, I did learn that my choice in diaper bag may not have been the wisest one. There weren't enough pockets for all the stuff I needed and while it was wide enough, it certainly wasn't deep enough. We ran a few more errands, so Mari had about an hours-worth car ride. We didn't dare take her out of the car, one of just just stayed back while the other would run into the store. We got home and I felt SOOOOOOOOO much better than the day before.

Today, was a good slow and easy day. We got up and Mari would want to feed every 3 hours. Only once was it 2 hours, so I had some really great sleep and plenty of relaxation time. There was a Petunia Pickle Bottom sale going on, so I found the boxy backpack I had seen before and liked and had to get it. 70% off!! You can't beat that. Plus, no tax! I just had to pay for shipping. I can't wait to get it. The dimensions are bigger than my original bag, so it makes me happy! Also, Guapo had his annual visit. Things were mostly good except for this growth he has on his bottom. The doctor thinks it may be a slight tumor, but there's no way to tell. He told us they could do his teeth cleaning and remove his mole on his face at the same time. We're supposed to get a quote on the price of all that.

Anyway, life is good. Time to go to sleep for now. Here's a pic from days 4 and 5:
How could you not love that smile?

The Birth Story

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'm going to try to get as specific and detailed as I can remember. I wanted to write this that night, but I was so tired and running on such nervous energy I couldn't pause long enough to put it all down. So here it is:
Wednesday: Ash Wednesday, I went to work as scheduled. I had a relatively full day, but I was running a bit late b/c the baby settled on my sciatic nerve the night before and I was mostly paralyzed when I awoke. I got to work and made it in time for the morning meeting. Everyone seemed surprised that I was still there and I think I was a bit surprised too. I worked the full day and made sure to wrap up anything that might be remaining. I even stayed a little later to write up a document "just in case" I wasn't going to make it in the next day. I got a text from my cousin telling me that she was headed into the hospital to deliver her baby and I said a prayer for a healthy delivery for her.
I was driving home and noticed the stomach cramping that I felt from earlier that day was steadily increasing, but thought maybe it had something to do with what I ate. I just blew it off and hurried home to make it in time for mass. We got there and settled in. My back pain was AWFUL!! I was having difficulty standing, but I didn't think much of it b/c it didn't feel any differently than my typical lower lumbar pain. I just did some stretches and dealt with it. On our way to the car, I felt a surge of wetness. I was in shock and thought, surely this wasn't it. I think my water broke! I told Don and sent Brother a quick text (we were heading to Luby's for dinner). I called Mom to give her a heads up and to also send in a prayer request to her. We stopped by Luby's and got our fish meals and went home. Don put in "The Wire" and I went to check to see if it was in fact my water. As far as I could tell it was, but the directions told me to wait for half an hour with my legs elevated before doing anything. My phone died before I could really talk with my sister, so I had to put it in charge before I could call back.
I ate and watched an episode. I figured that it was my water and I was starting to have some contractions. It was really more of a big stomach ache, but it was rhythmic and in cadence, so we made the decision to go to the hospital. I called my sister and she headed over there. We gave the doctor a heads up and suggested we go up there. We head to Plano Presby and go right up to the 3rd floor. We were so lucky to have a patient and kind nurse check us in Labor & Delivery (L&D). She was wearing a star scrub top and I knew that the star was a good sign. It is one of my favorite symbols, so I felt relaxed. She confirmed the contractions, but said it was NOT dilated, nor had my water broken. They were going to monitor me for about an hour. She let me go a bit longer than that and when she checked again, I still hadn't made any progress. She comforted me and let me know that it was good they were going to discharge me. That if I really wanted a natural labor, I should go home and do most of the laboring there and then come in. Being that I'd never gone into labor I didn't know what to expect. She said I could go into work the next day if I wanted to, especially since she said I was in EARLY, early, early labor. Sam went home and Don made a plan to go into work as well. They gave me 5mg of Ambien to help me relax and sleep to prepare me for the day. I called up to work to let them know I probably was not going to make it in. We get home and I tried to sleep, but I just had a stomach ache. I was praying that the fish wasn't making me sick. I told Don I was going to sleep on the couch especially b/c my only urge was to get up and go to the bathroom. From about 2 to 5 that morning, I was getting up every 15 minutes and running to the bathroom. I just had the urge to have a crazy bowel movement. I know that's gross, but that's what it felt like. I just kept getting sicker and sicker and I seriously thought I had a bad reaction to the fish. Every time I woke up, I kept thinking about Chi Chi Rodriguez. No, I'm not a die hard fan. I just couldn't get that name out of my head. So random, I chalked it up to the Ambien. I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't get more than 15 minutes. I remember looking up at the clock at 5:55 and took a deep breath. I went to the bathroom one more time and walked to the bedroom. My alarm had gone off, so I shut it off and told Don that I was hurting. And I didn't know if this was labor or not, but if it wasn't then I might not be strong enough to do it naturally. I told thim that I was really worried, but it was ok. He gave me reassurance and didn't make me feel like I was being a wuss for wanting meds. I laid in bed next to him and passed out hard for a solid 5 minutes. He held me in his arms tightly. I had a great dream and felt great peace. Then I awoke to some serious pain. That was a contraction! I knew it. My heart rate elevated and I just remember shaking. Don held me tighter and I went right to bed again. Another solid 5 minutes and BAM! I yelled and ran to the bathroom. Don thought I was going to pee. I yelled out, and GUSH! I huge rush of liquid came pouring out. I hollered, "Oh F---!!" and started vomiting uncontrollably. Don ran into the room and just stared at me. The only thing I could do was kick the bathroom mat out of the way. Don shoved the bathroom trashcan in front of me and I did my best to aim there. I've never been more grateful to have someone there, but also feel so humiliated and embarrassed. I didn't want him to see me like this. I finally caught my breath and let out a couple of whimpering tears. I finished and he said, that's it. Let's go to the hospital! I told him that I needed to take a really quick shower to calm down and relax because I was too wound up. I was in there for about 5 minutes and in that time he'd packed up the car and put away Guapo. I gathered my things and kissed Guapo bye. At this time, the contractions were coming every 5 minutes! Every stop light I prayed would go faster and I FELT every bump in the road. 6:49AM I sent a mass text out to everyone letting them know that we were headed to the hospital.

Don pulled up and I had another contraction. I powered through and knew that I had 3 minutes to make it up to the floor before I had another. I kissed him bye and did my best to hobble to the elevators. I was waiting for the elevator and a doctor was waiting as well. I glared at him, hoping that he wouldn't be going to the 2nd floor. We get in and I lean against the wall. I feel another coming on. He hits the 2 button. ARE YOU SERIOUS???? He gets off and I know he could feel my glaring stare. I was so not happy. The doors closed and there came another. I had to hold the door open until it passed. I waddled to the desk and told them my name and that I was certain I was in labor. They walked me past the original L&D rooms onto Triage/C-section. I had 2 nurses talking to me telling me that they were expecting me. They asked me if I had a cesarean for my first baby and was I excited about having a boy? I told them, I'm having a natural birth and this is my first and.....ANOTHER...I'm having a girl. The gave me a puzzled look, asked my name again and I repeated it, slowly. "Oh, I think we have a miscommunication. You can stay here. Wait, no, let's go to the other room. Or no, you can stay. No, better yet, let's go to this other room." I must've made an off-hand comment about how small the rooms were and they said, well, this IS triage. I had no idea what that meant. I just knew I had to stop twice on our way to the other room. The lady asked me to slip into a hospital gown and to pee in the cup in the toilet. They wanted to verify that my water had broken and how far along I was in the labor. The strip immediately turned blue this time, instead of remaining yellow like a few hours before. "yep, you are in labor!" I gave her a ridiculous look and then realized she had a really nice pair of blue eyes. I felt mildly comforted. She begin to see how far along I'd dilated and said, "Oh my! You are 7, or 6 cm dilated!!" Don walked into the room and gave me a puzzled look. The nurses began to explain to me that they were in the middle of a shift change. That they were going to check me in, but I'd have another nurse. I just nodded and did what they said. She asked if I was in much pain and I told her yes. They gave me an IV, which I later heard only full of stuff to keep me hydrated. She's originally told me that it would take the edge off. No "edge" was taken off. It actually hurt like hell when they put it in my wrist and I immediately wanted to rip it out.

They transferred me to a gurney and wheeled me off back to the L&D rooms. I got room 303. I was in 301 earlier. This room felt oddly familiar (turns out that this was the same room that Sam had delivered Zeni). Heather, my nurse introduced herself and Victoria, the student nurse. The anesthesiologist was talking to me about an epidural and in the middle of her talking to me about it, Heather interjects with, "You don't need to get one if you don't want to. It is my job to try to stick to your birth plan. I have reviewed it and you want to go naturally. You are already more than 70% of the way there! You've done it. Transition is tough, but it is the shortest amount of time." I signed off on the epidural saying I'd heard all of the information and that I didn't have interest in it at that time, but I wasn't ruling it out. I just thought, can I do this? Can I really do this? Where's Sam? I need Sam. I looked at Don and implored, "Where's Sam?" I wasn't trying to hurt his feelings. I just needed my sister. If she told me that I could do it, I know I could. She knows the limits I can push myself. I heard him call her earlier. I just sat there focusing on the round metal fixture in the ceiling. I heard Heather giving me words of comfort again. Then, in walked Sam. She ran over to me, and put her cool hand into mine. She got into coaching mode and I knew I could do it! Don gave me ice chips and I prepared my focus.

I went into transition and these contractions were killer. They spiked up into the 100s. Earlier that night, they were only in the 20s. I looked at Don and asked him for an ice chip and told him to count. True to what Ada told me, I went back to that place in college. Running those laps on the track. At that time, I would suck on a red jolly rancher and kick it in gear. It would hurt, but it lasted less than 30 seconds. I pretended my ice chip was a jolly rancher and I was rounding that corner on the track. I breathed like I was running that race. This was just going to be another pyramid run. I could do it! Sam would talk me through it. Telling me that it was building and peaking, and then I was coming down. Don's counting reassured me with the counting. It was hilarious because during our breathing training, the counting was the last thing I wanted to do. Heather came by me and calmly said, "Now Bianca, when you feel the urge to push, you just let us know and you do it. I want you to push from the bottom and really push through. Don't hold back. If you hold back at all, this will take longer than necessary. So jus remember, push through it, all the way through the 10 count."
8:00AM I THINK IT IS TIME TO PUSH! OMG...I bared down and pushed before she could get to me. She told me to hold the back of my knees and for Don and Sam to hold my feet. She too would push my legs. I asked her for the mirror. I needed the mirror! Victoria ran off to get the mirror. During that time, the doctor appeared. Itwasn't my regular OB, but one of his partners. I'd seen her in the practice a couple of times and remembered her. She was nice. I felt at ease. They covered every inch of my exposed skin, except what was necessary and all that was left, they swabbed with iodine or something to disinfect the area, I guess. They gave me some oxygen to help me get through it. It took me 2 sets of pushing to "get" what she meant by pushing from my bottom. It was pushing for 10 seconds for 3 times per set. The contractions were longer, so they could fit in 4. I bared down and pushed. I paused and I knew she was crowning. I yelled out, "This hurts! This REALLY, REALLY HURTS! No, it really hurts." I looked at Don. I shook my head. "Just cut her out! Please, just do it." I was starting to hyperventilate. I was losing focus. Sam stared at me, grabbed my hand and said, "Come on. You can do it. You are right there! This is it. This last set, do it. Push hard and it's over. It's all over. Big breath, ok." I looked at her and knew I could, but I still needed more reassurance. I asked, "Ok, one more push?" She was like, "No, one more SET of pushing." In hindsight, I laugh thinking that I was seriously trying to negotiate with my sister. "One set, one more set of pushing, and she'll be here. You can do it. Here it comes! Here it comes. You ready? Find your focus. Big breath!" I pushed to the 10. Big breath. Another set. I pushed through the 10. I felt tearing and cried out. I didn't want to cuss anyone. I didn't care about anything. I FELT this. It hurt like hell, but I knew I was close. She was close. I love her already and I'm ready for this. Another big breath and PUSH. She's right there. "One more Bianca. One more, do it! Do it! Just like you've been, but put it all in this last push!" Quick breath, PUUUUUUUUUUUUSH. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8...I thought, I don't care if I have to go to 30. I'm going to keep pushing...9, 10, 11, 12, 13...she came out. She came out. There she is. THERE SHE IS!! I did it.

8:41AM Mari enters the world screaming. I look at Don and wanted to cry. I was so happy, but had no tears you could see. My soul was beaming and I never felt more satisfied in my life. 10 fingers, 10 toes. Don cut the cord. I remember asking them if we could wait until it was done pulsing, but they feared she may have swallowed meconium and they needed to check her. He cut the cord and they took her to the little warming tray. She screamed and screamed. Happy Chinese New Year!
Sam grabbed the camera and started snapping pics. Meanwhile, I had to deliver the placenta. When it came out, I felt a HUGE sense of relief. It was heavy! I wanted them to weigh it, but I guess they couldn't. The just looked at me like I was nuts. I did get to see it and I swear it was bigger than she was. That was the 9lb baby that my doctor thought I'd have.

They asked me if I wanted a local when the stitched me up. I agreed thinking it would've just been local in the area. Well, they slipped it in my IV and I immediately became loopy. When they brought her to me, I just sat there happily enjoying her in my arms. 34 grams...what is that? 6 pounds 14 oz. She was totally worth it all.

I was a bit loopy after that. I vaguely remember going to the post-partum room. This is the smaller hospital room that would be Mari's first home. We nestled in for a couple of days. Don on the converter bed, me in the hospital bed, and Mari in her portable crib. We were very lucky to have visitors come by. It was incredible! We are so blessed in our lives.

Oh and when we went home, it was one of the absolute most gorgeous days we've seen!
Our fearless coach, Sam, with her goddaughter.

Mari Gras???

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Okay, so I had my doctor visit yesterday. All things are normal and the baby is ready, but apparently my body isn't. So I'm in relaxation overdrive and researching natural methods for inducing. My doctor will give me a week before we start talking about induction. I wasn't happy to hear that, but still. For now, I just need to pray and remain calm and not get so worked up about it. No easy feat for someone with my personality. I know I tend to overly obsess.

Instead, I concentrated on my laboring music mix. Here it is:
I realize most labors last longer than the 2.4 hours I have in there, but this is just to help motivate me and relax me. Hopefully, I won't forget my ipod like I did last night. I've written it on my hand to remember to take it home. I also remembered to bring my birth plan up here to make copies.

Those were the last items on my list that I hadn't gotten accomplished. Oh and I must brag: even thought Don still wasn't feeling up to snuff yesterday, he'd picked up a good portion of our bedroom and cleaned it out. I was so happy and thankful! We went for a 2 mile walk last night and then had El Fenix for dinner. I ate an entire bowl of salsa and all of the jalapenos that came with my 1/2 order of nachos. When I got home, I had a small bowl of mexican corn and loaded up on the valentina sauce and chili powder. My tongue was sufficiently numb and I feared my stomach would be screaming at me later. I think the only thing that I succeeded in doing was making me sleep less. I got up at 4:30 and tried to force myself to go back to sleep. It wasn't going to happen, so I took a long shower, officially did my hair, made some breakfast, and lounged until it was time to go to work. I sat in traffic for an hour and about halfway through, my head was bobbing. I was EXHAUSTED! Still am. Head bobbing up and down, and me reading through pages and pages of information online doesn't help.

Anyhow, tonight I feel like getting in the Mardi Gras spirit and loading up for a nice long Lent. I jokingly said that if the baby came today, it would be Mari Gras instead of Mardi Gras. :) Of course, that would mean we'd have to celebrate Mardi Gras every year in addition to her birthday. ha ha! What is your indulgence? I'm thinking Cheesecake Factory or a Meal for Two from Central Market with some chocolate cake. YUM!

Signs of True Love

Monday, February 4, 2008

I think I'm in the beginning stages of labor. Why so calm and sitting at a computer blogging about it? Well, frankly I know it's going to be a few hours before anything BIG starts happening. Graphic Warning: I think I lost my mucus plug. I knew things felt a bit wonky this morning when I woke up. Not in a bad way, just off. I had a lot of anxiety last night, but I remained rather calm. Petunia and I had a chat this morning before I really got out of bed for the day. I asked her if she was ready to come today and I had a series of kicks and movements. I said, well, I'm excited to finally meet you. I'm ready and happy, so let's do it! It's been a non-stop kickfest since 6AM. I hope she's happy in there, maybe just as anxious and excited as I am. Who knows.

Anyway, I'm putting together my laboring music mix and many of the songs are about love. I can't help but think of the love I already have for this child. I get emotional thinking of the first time I'll hold her in my arms. What will she look like? How will she react to the outside world? Have I prepared enough? I know there's probably so much that I've missed, but I think I have a pretty good handle on things, as far as "stuff" is concerned. We've been blessed with wonderful gifts, so we have the essentials and more: clothes, diapers, strollers, wipes, etc... I know my life as I knew it will be completely and utterly different and that's ok. I'm ecstatic to add "mother" to another one of my labels.

I love you, Don.

Super Bowl Surprise

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Wowza! No, no, we didn't go into early labor, but what a great game, huh? Yeah, it was kinda boring at first and really close, but I did love the game. I didn't think Eli had it in him, but I was rooting for him. I'm such a sucker for an underdog! Way to go Giants!

We had some wonderful friends come over to watch the game and we loaded up on so many yummies!! poor child, she's probably in sugar shock and carb overload. The queso, the guacamole, the corn, the pizza, the chips, the cake, the Hawaiian Punch, gotta love it! Glad my belly isn't screaming at me yet.

So, speaking of bellies, Mari did not make her grand entrance during the game. I did set up an email draft, as well as a text draft in the event we are on our way. It's ok that we didn't have any crazy action tonight. I still need to make copies of my birth plan and I really, really want one last minute 1 hour massage. I did get a pedicure just for her arrival. I have packed the snack bag and I'm wondering if I should take the polaroid camera with some polaroids just in case. Not sure, I'll still think about it. We do have the digital camera and the camcorder ready too. And cousin Simon has the magnum of champagne by the door, ready for us to chill when we head to the hospital.

And while I've been in denial, I have been nesting for the past 2 days. I did some serious laundry, cleaned the living areas, the bathrooms, the dining room, the kitchen, and the breakfast nook. Many, many, many thanks go out to Danika and Simon for helping me and tolerating my obsessive compulsion! And also for appreciating my weird craving for wanting to smell Pine-Sol (must be original scent!). The floors are mopped, the dishes cleaned, the food is put away and the laundry is prepped. I really want our bedroom to be in a better position, but the nursery is set and that's a good thing! Of course, she probably won't be in there when she comes home, but 'eh, we'll see.
Have a great night and a fantastic week! Happy early Chinese New Year, in the event that I'm unable to log in again.


Friday, February 1, 2008

I've been feeling mildly under the weather all week, but I just chalked it up to being restless and not having slept well. Plus, it doesn't help that the weather patterns keep shifting, cold, warm, really, really cold, rainy, sunny, windy, cold, warm, really warm. I just can't keep up. Since I live with perpetual sneezing, congestion, and other lovely allergy traits, I just chalked it up as an every day run-of-the mill feeling.

This morning was especially trying for me. My entire body ached and I really didn't want to get out of bed. I desperately wanted to call in and just sleep the day away. Even Don asking me if I felt ok didn't prompt an immediate "yes." I sort of grunted, relaxed, took a deep breath and knew I had to go in. He, on the otherhand, has been coughing and hacking for about a month. I gave him a hug bye and headed out for my day.

I had great hope knowing that I'd be bringing a bit of joy with all of the strawberry "love cake" cupcakes I was about distribute amongst my co-workers. Danika had come over the night before and helped me bake about 50 of them. The strawberry glaze/frosting was so delicious, it tasted like a yogurt milkshake. As far as the actual cupcakes themselves, well, they were simply delightful bits of heaven. Happy February! Made with loads of love and extra bits of strawberry, it was gonna be awesome! And it was.

Around mid-day I'd gotten an email from Don letting me know that he was feeling incredibly under the weather and he was uncertain if he was going to make it the entire day. This concerned me. My co-worker had the flu and his wife was feeling under the weather too. Another guy had an upper respiratory infection and could barely talk. My sister had recently gotten over the flu herself. I becmae worried. Around 2, he called me to let me know he'd gone home. He needed to see the doctor. We checked him into the CareNow clinic online and they called back to let him know that they could probably get him in about 3 hours. So he settled in for a short nap. I continued to finish up work and try to wrap things up in the event baby Mari wanted to make an appearance this weekend.

When I got home, I found my beloved curled in the fetus position on the air mattress. He'd quarantined himself in the spare bedroom/office so as to not infect me. He didn't have the flu or strep, so they figured he was suffering from an upper respiratory infection. I figured that's what it was, but I wasn't certain. I was happy that it wasn't something worse, but I knew we were in it for a long haul. If not treated properly, these things could become bronchitis, or worse, pneumonia. Not a good thing to have when you know you'll be delivering a baby soon. I needed him with me in that room, like I needed my sister in there. She'd gotten over her flu. I needed him to rest to get over this. I went to the store and loaded up on goods. Vicks steam for the humidifier, Vicks VapoRub, Excedrin for his massive headache, chamomile tea to calm him, lemons for a honey/lemon hot drink to massage his sore throat. He had his prescription expectorant, so now it was just a waiting game. I needed him to break that bit of fever and get back to normal. Hopefully, his aches and pains will be gone in the morning.
Bless his heart, I hope he's better. And as for me, well, I'm just tired. My feet are swollen, they really do look like elephant trunks. I've never retained this much water in my life! My poor toes don't even want to bend. I desperately want a pedicure to make it all better, or even an ice bath to reduce the swelling. I'm just gonna have to accept it and continue to elevate my feet.
On a much, much brighter note, my Godmother/cousin beat her cancer. The tests came back negative that she no longer had it. I breathed such a deep sigh of relief and joy. I was truly, very, very happy. I'm glad God answered all of our prayers. She is such an inspiration!
Happy early Groundhog Day!
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