Thursday, September 30, 2010

wedding day part 1

The day before the wedding (12/31/09) and the day of (1/1/09) were both cray-zee.  I had a bunch of friends and family in town the day before, so I spent much of that day running around seeing them.   I have to say that my English major long-time friend Jennifer really stole the support-the-bride show.  There are many things that happened that I didn't even know of until later due to her quickness, and she helped me handle things that would have driven me crazy otherwise (shuffling family back to the hotel at 1:30am, anyone?).

The rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and New Year's Eve party were all fantastic.  But I was rather focused on what was happening the next day...

The day of the wedding, I woke up with three of my wedding party who'd stayed over with me.  Jen and I giggled in bed after we woke up, Dana went for a job, and Michael ate leftover cheesecake from the New Year's Eve party.  I wasn't all that tired, and I was ready to head on over to the hotel.   I was getting married!

Here's me calling someone - Cassondra, maybe - to mention something to Dave for me.  I hadn't talked to him all day, so I kept making up excuses to have someone talk to him for me.  Heh.
 Dave also getting ready with his brother.  You can see his black Lego cufflinks in this pic.

We had decided long ago to do a "first look" photo shoot before the ceremony.  We didn't want to wait too long between the ceremony and the dinner.  Dave waited for me, while I walked up the hill and tapped him on the shoulder.

This moment was intense. A lot of our shots are of us looking at the ground.  At once we were a little shy and speechless.

 After we had taken some pictures of just the two of us, our wedding party joined in on the chilly (40-degree weather) fun.

The girls.  Dana and Jennifer were my bridesmaids, while Tammy and Cassondra on the right were Dave's groomswomen.  I love this pic.

The entire wedding party.  Yeah, we're full of attitude.
 The boys.  Michael and Manny (my brother) on my side, and Adam (his brother) and Charley on Dave's.  Lots of hotness among our friends!

After being outside, we went back in a took a few more around the hotel.  By that point I was starting to feel truly exhausted.  All of the attention and being on my feet for hours made me want to just run back to my parents' room and sit down for a while... which I did.  No one was around for over an hour, and I did feel a little abandoned.

In the end, though, I was glad I had that alone time with my parents.  They kept me calm and focused - Mom helped me in and out of my shoes again. They were super-cute the entire day.
After all that waiting, it was finally time for the ceremony.  I was so relieved that I didn't have to stand around anymore.  I was beyond ready to party!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

wakey wakey, eggs and bacey

Most mornings, my hubby gets the little one out of bed, while I rub sleep from my eyes and crawl out slowly, meeting them downstairs with my breastfeeding pillows. G always needs a diaper change, and he's in a generally good mood until he realizes he hasn't eaten in at least 8 hours. We generally wake him up at 7:30 on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays so that we both have time to get ready before Dave has to leave for work. Grayson is usually ready, and usually doesn't make it to 7:30 anyway. He seems to like 6:30, with a wake up sometime before that as well. The weekends, we let him sleep as long as he wants. Which again is usually 6:30.

But on Tuessdays and Thursdays, I get to wake him up if he's still in his crib. We have to get up at 5 because I have to leave the house at 7 to make it to teach my 8 o'clock class. (Those numbers are so painful to type.)  Sometimes g will sleep from 8:00-5:00. Tonight he slept from 9-5, though I think he might've been awake for a while.

In any case, I'm pretty sure my alarm woke him (he sleeps in a travel crib in our room). I got out of bed and went over to him while hubby went to shower. There he was, laying still in his SnuggleMe, looking up at me with his I-just-woke-up-what-do-you-want? face. He blinked slowly and began to move his shoulders, writhing a bit, so I knew what that meant.

Stretchy time.

If g has gotten enough sleep, when he wakes up he wants to do one of two things 1) not move and blink for a while, and 2) stretch.  And stretch and stretch and stretch.
I leaned over and pulled apart the velcro from the top of the SnuggleMe. POP when the baby. His arms shot out over his head, his fingers stretching out, rubbing his head, ears, face. He arched his back and curled his toes in together. He makes the most awful faces when he stretches. His face gets all red, he tucks his chin and causes a huge chin flab effect, he makes grunting noises.

He pretty much looks like this, which our lovely photographers Chris and Adrienne Scott caught during his newborn shoot.
I love every minute of it.

I waited patiently as he finished and looked back up at me again. So I picked him up and brought him to his room to change his diaper. He stretched again, making it difficult to hold him. Silly billy. When I put him on his changing pad, he looked up at me.  "Good morning, Grayson-bud," I said. His face split open with a huge gummy smile, the kind that stretches his cheeks wide and makes even his eyes smile.

What a great way to wake up indeed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

story of an induction part 2

I was ready to push.

Of course, at this point, the doctor from my OB's practice wasn't at the hospital, but about 20 minutes away. My regular doctor was off duty until 6:30 that morning. So a stand in doctor from the hospital showed up just in case. They gave me a dose of epidural to slow things down and it pretty much killed my drive to push, though not the pain. We all hung out chatting (seriously) until the doctor finally arrived. At that point I couldn't feel when to push very well, so we shut off the epidural.

Pushing took about 2 hours. Grayson was a champ and had been for most of the labor.  I did have to have oxygen for a while to make him more active, but that was it.  Pushing didn't stress him out at all. I actually found most of the pushing part to be stress-free and easy to do, until later on when he started crowning. It burned horribly, and it felt like he was right there, ready to come out but stuck, forever. For-ever.

Finally, his head came out, then the rest of his body with a few pushes. He took a little while to cry, but then he just cried and cried and cried. He was born at 6:10am. My regular doctor arrived just after he did. He was 6.3 pounds and 19 1/2 inches long.

I didn't get to hold him very long at all as they took him away to get checked out. I remember that being a horrible time. I could barely see him behind everyone, with Dave, while I was poked and prodded. I needed a few stitches for a small tear, had to deliver the placenta, and they pushed on my belly to get fluid and clots and such out. Of course, my epidural had completely worn off, so I felt the stitches and everything clearly. I felt like it was forever before I was able to hold him again, and by then he was so wrapped up I couldn't see him. I wanted to breastfeed immediately and do skin-to-skin, but nurses were taking a long time to get some warm blankets so we could. This all was unbelievably frustrating for me.

The rest of the day is a huge blur. They had to give me a magnesium drip to prevent seizures, which made me incredibly woozy (they said it would make me feel like I had the flu).  I got more antibiotics for a fever. I remember having to ask to hold Grayson - he was getting passed around and he was crying a lot. I felt such relief when I got to hold him. I remember being so happy and so tired.

Breastfeeding was going well, at least. He was such a champ at it. He had such a strong rooting reflex, as evident by his attempts to eat his blanket.

I wasn't able to have anything but fluids until the morning. Jello became my best friend. At some point, I'm guessing due to being bed-ridden, my feet started to swell horribly. They were absolutely huge. My arms started to get sore, especially the right one, from the blood pressure machine, which had taken my blood pressure every 15 minutes since I arrived.

The rest of the day passed pretty much like that.

Saturday, June 5
That morning, they turned off the magnesium drip, and I was allowed to go to the bathroom and have a real breakfast. The eggs, sausage, gravy, and biscuits were sooo good. My body felt so weird and swollen, but I was feeling better.  As long as things went well, I'd be allowed to leave in the morning.

Sunday, June 6
Unfortunately, my blood pressure didn't go down as quickly as hoped and I didn't get to go home this day. I don't remember a lot of what happened besides the fact that I cried a lot. I wanted to go home with Grayson so badly. I began to dread the blood pressure machine entering the room (at this point they were checking it a bit less often). Luckily, by the end of the day it was better, below 170/100, at least. Since we had a blood pressure machine to check it at home, my doctor cleared me to leave.

Monday, June 7
As we got ready to leave, we began to notice that Grayson was turning a little jaundice. They did a blood test and his bilirubin levels were high enough to warrant him needing to go under the lights. I was devastated.  Here I was finally able to go home and now Grayson couldn't.

We had the hospital room for the rest of the day, so I spent all of Monday pumping what little milk I could get out and feeding Grayson when they would bring him. We only got 30 minutes to feed him before they would whisk him away to go under the lights again.  So I would feed him and then pump afterward.  It was terribly difficult and I got engorged really badly the day after, but it was worth it. I got enough milk that he didn't have to be given formula that night.

We had to get out of the hospital room at midnight. I fed Grayson at midnight, then headed home with my mom for about 4 hours of sleep while Dave stayed at the hospital to look over Grayson and give him the breast milk I had pumped. It was heartbreaking to see Grayson under the lights with only a diaper and the little glasses on, but he actually really loved it. He was always so calm - I think it was the heat.

Tuesday, June 8
Grayson's bilirubin levels dropped easily. They took Grayson out of the lights to make sure they wouldn't go back up and instead they continued to drop. Finally, sometime in the afternoon, we were able to take him home. I was thrilled!

Overall, the experience was exhausted and emotionally challenging. I was lucky that labor lasted less than 12 hours, and that I was able to deliver vaginally, but I felt cheated that I had to get an epidural. If I'd been able to move around and deal with the contractions, I feel confident that I could have done without it.

My blood pressure was stubborn and took a while longer to go down. By the time Grayson was two weeks old, however, it was back to normal and I was allowed to go off medication. Yay. Not being able to do anything was so frustrating; I was pretty much allowed to only breastfeed and that was it. I really don't like not being able to take care of myself.

I hated being in the hospital. You really aren't allowed to make decisions for yourself and you're pretty much manhandled. There's a supreme lack of communication with us and the nurses amongst themselves. I often felt confused and lost as to what was going on, and that was with all of the research and reading I had done during my pregnancy. I had no privacy when it came to breastfeeding, or anything really. The preeclampsia thing terrified the both of us. I went from being fine to being in the hospital in less than 48 hours. I'm just thankful that Grayson was fine and the preeclamsia didn't develop earlier in pregnancy. It's certainly a concern for the future, but for now we're all doing fine.

Once we were home, we were able to have our friends Chris and Adrienne Scott come over to photograph our week old son. I'll finish this post with a few pictures from that session. They're terrific peeps. Check out their site.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

bath time for g-buddy

I love bath time - it puts me in an instant good mood. But I don't like the camera. Why are you taking pics, mama? Oh, Daddy put my hair in a mohawk?

Okay, that's kinda funny. I'll smile a bit at that.

Now he's rubbing my head. Why are you still taking pictures, mama? You know that doesn't amuse me in the slightest.

You're not taking photos of my nekkid parts, are you? I'll resent you when I'm 13.

What are you both laughing at?

Oh, Daddy did my hair in a mohawk again? Haha, still funny.

story of an induction part 1

Here I am a couple weeks before Grayson was born, at 35 weeks. I had a rather miserable pregnancy. I'm so swollen in the face here.

G-man came early.  Grayson's birth was so fast and crazy, and still details are rather muddled in my head, but here's what I remember, to the best of my knowledge.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I woke up and headed to my regular doctor's appointment. I was two days away from being 38 weeks. Like usual, they took my blood pressure and urine sample, and I had a vaginal exam to see how I was progressing (I was almost 2 centimeters and a bit more thinned out).

My blood pressure was slightly up.  I had been 118/78-ish for most of the pregnancy, but I was 128/80 instead.  Still a great blood pressure, but slightly up for me. Didn't think much of it. However, a quick test of my urine told them that there was a ton of protein in it, which is a sign of preeclampsia, a pregnancy-induced condition that can lead to seizures and death of both mother and child. The swelling in my feet had been worse, as well as my face and hands. They took some blood to test for other signs of preeclamsia, such as low platelet count.

I left feeling a little nervous but hopeful. The protein in the urine could just have been because I hadn't had much water that morning.  My doctor was hopeful was well and said the test results would be in by sometime the next day.

Thursday, June 3
I woke up still hopeful but feeling a bit worse. My eyes were bothering me, so I had been wearing my glasses all day. I also had a stubborn headache for most of the day. I got in touch with the doctor's office by that afternoon.  They had my blood results in which were inconclusive - a little preeclampsia, but not that bad.

The nurse asked me how I was feeling and I told her about my eyes and headache.  That's when I was told to head to triage, and they would call the hospital to let them know I was coming.

Um, what?

I hung up the phone, trying to stay calm, and told Dave to finish packing our bag. We grabbed what was essential and headed to the hospital.  On the way, we called our parents and let them know what was up.  My mom packed and hopped into her car and started to drive up, even though we weren't sure what was going to happen.  She had a 2.5 hour drive ahead of her.

We got checked in (basically, they admitted me - scary!), and I changed into a hospital gown in a triage room. They hooked me up to a blood pressure machine, contraction monitor, and baby monitor. By this point it was the late afternoon.

Grayson was doing fine but I wasn't - my blood pressure was 180/110, extremely high. By then it was pretty clear that we were going to have a baby in the next 24 hours.

The rest of that night is pretty much a blur. They started Pitocin around 8:30pm-ish, along with fluids and some antibiotics because the doctor had thought I might have a UTI. My mother got into town (my dad works in Nashville so he just stayed after work) and Dave ran to pick up a few more things from home. Sometime around then they broke my water after a few failed attempts.  The contractions started picking up speed after that. For hours I didn't progress very much, maybe a centimeter of dilation and a bit more effacing - Grayson was still pretty high in the birth canal which is why they had such trouble breaking my water.

By nighttime, I wasn't feeling great at all. The IV hurt (they had to put it in my arm) and the contractions were relentless.  Because of my blood pressure and the risk of seizures, I wasn't allowed out of bed; I wasn't even allowed to sit up. I had to pee in a bedpan (a horrible experience) until they put a catheter in after I got an epidural. At one point the epidural was too strong and drifting up my chest, so my chest was numb and it was difficult to cough. I got the shakes badly, my whole body shivering. The internal exams hurt horribly and would leave me crying afterward.

Luckily, time seems to pass quickly, and it was Friday before I knew it.

Friday, June 4
Sometime in the middle of the night, I felt like the epidural was wearing off. The contractions came strongly, one right after the other. They began to get worse and worse. I was only about 3 centimeters dilated, though later I jumped to 6. I told them I was in pain (if I wasn't going to be practically forced to get an epidural, I wanted it to work!), but they said there was nothing they could do for pressure.  But I wasn't feeling pressure, I said.  Soon after, though, I did begin to feel lots of it.

Things happened fast after that. I went from feeling no pressure to feeling like I needed to push this baby out RIGHT NOW. A nurse had just checked me and said I wasn't ready yet, but when my regular nurse showed back up (after being distracted with a c-section nearby, she decided to check me again. That's when she found out I was 10 centimeters and completed effaced, ready to go.

Part 2 coming soon!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

these boobs of mine

My mom stayed with us for over a week after we finally were discharged from the hospital. This is the only picture of me breastfeeding that I'd let her take. ha.

I knew way back when we were just thinking about getting pregnant that I wanted to try my hand at breastfeeding. I wasn't sure at all how it would turn out. No one in my family had breastfed since my granny had my mom... really. I knew it'd be difficult, painful, exhausting, but I also knew it'd be rewarding if I could pull it off.

There are so many resources available today on breastfeeding, even just online. I set out to educate myself as much as possible - Dave and I went to a class, I read every piece of literature I came across, and I sneaked onto forums to read first-hand accounts of successes and failures. I was eager to try my hand... or boob. When G was born, I breastfed him as quickly as I could. He was really a champ at it. Don't get me wrong. We had our struggles and still do. Sometimes it would take forever to get him latched on, especially on the tricky and oddly shaped left nipple. My boobs really hurt, both from the strong sucking (he even surprised our pediatrician at how strong he was) and from the rampant engorgement, which I got from pumping every three hours the day he was under the bilirubin lights for jaundice so he'd have a 3am meal while I was at home trying to get 4 hours of sleep. Whew.

A bit jaundiced here, poor baby.

I'm thankful that I haven't had any major problems, all things considered. I produce a bit too much milk sometimes (oh darn) and I have an overactive letdown, which means my milk can spray several feet away. Most of the time, G doesn't mind. My boobs are huuuuge. I try to ignore this and hope they go down after I wean. I mean really, look.

Still jaundiced here. Sigh.

Also, G has a milk protein allergy. I've been dairy-free for a few months now. So difficult considering how much I love milk, cheese, and ice cream.

Anyway, I'm so glad I decided to breastfeed. My goal is to make it at least 6 months, so only 2 to go. But things are going so well, maybe I'll go longer? Who knows.

Really, the best part about breastfeeding is the milk-induced cuddle nap afterward. I get a vantage point that is difficult to duplicate.

Maybe I'll continue on until a year.I'm not sure if I want to give up these moments just yet. Last night, he didn't fall asleep while eating as quickly as he normally did. Instead, he kept craning his neck back to look up at me, letting his latch go to smile. So terribly heart-wrenching. Makes me all goo inside.

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