Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29th, 2009: Week 3 and the Weight Battle

We didn't quite get the big weight gain on Monday that we were hoping for... Actually, she dropped to 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Needless to say, the doctor (and us!) were concerned. We were put on a militant feeding schedule -- feed her for 40 minutes, then pump for 20 minutes per side, then feed her what I pumped followed by formula. We had to follow that routine every 2 hours (between the start of one feeding to the start of the next). If you're doing the math, that basically meant I had 40 minutes AT MOST between feedings. That's 40 minutes for recovery, sleeping, eating, cleaning, and anything else (the cherished shower, going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth). We were to follow that routine for 24 hours and then go back in for another appointment the next day. We weighed her in again on Tuesday and she was up to 6 pounds 11 ounces. The 3 ounce gain was definitely an improvement, but still 10% under her birth weight. Although infants can lose up to that much after they are born, they are supposed to start gaining by day 4 and be back up to birth weight by day 10. Scarlett is quite behind!

The doctor suggested that I contact a lactation consultant again because my milk supply appeared to be very low and to continue supplementing with formula at least 2-3 times per day and pumping 2-3 times per day. We saw the consultant on Friday. Scarlett is doing everything she should be doing, so the problem is my supply. I got more herbal supplements, rented a medical grade pump, and was instructed to pump 8 times per day for 15-20 minutes and feed her 8-12 times for at least 5-7 minutes per side. Still a very time consuming schedule, but not nearly as rigid as our original schedule. Things are still really hard and my supply isn't much better but at least Scarlett is getting enough to eat with the formula. All three of us hate the formula, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that things turn around soon. We will continue to monitor her weight since we won't have another doctor's appointment until early January for her 2 month check up.

Paul's mom and step-dad were here this week and made thanksgiving dinner for us. They also helped out a lot around the house with laundry, the baby, and electronics. The trip was cut short due to all of the weight gain/feeding issues but hopefully we can arrange another trip very soon. Paul is at the Ravens-Steelers game tonight. Scarlett finally fell asleep right before I started this, but otherwise she has been feeding every hour and wanting to be held in between. She is adorable but definitely taking up a lot of time. This feeding schedule is much easier as a two person job! Well, I'm off to start the cycle again!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22nd, 2009: 2 weeks down!!

Scarlett is 2 weeks old today! She had a busy week. Simon was in town Monday - Friday and Paul's sister, Trish, got here on Thursday night and left this morning. Yesterday we made the trip to Baltimore and Scarlett met her great grandmother, Aunts Cathy and Bonnie, and her cousins Ashley, Dan, and Michelle. Before Saturday, Scarlett's longest drive was about 10 miles, and the longest she had been out of the house was about an hour when we went to her first checkup. Saturday, we embarked on a 150 mile round trip lasting more than 8 hours. Scarlett spent most of her time in a deep sleep. I guess she figured her job was to simply be quite and look cute. She fussed a couple of times, but on both occasions she fed for 10 minutes and passed out. Scarlett has now been to two restaurants -- Zaytinya and Crush. We've gone during off hours so they were pretty empty and she stayed in her Ergo Baby carrier to keep her a bit more protected. My friend Cindy was in town from Orlando this week and also came by to see her on Thursday.

Scarlett's schedule is definitely unpredictable at this point. A few nights this week she stayed up most of the night until, for example, 7 AM, and then slept until 10 or 1130. A few other nights she slept most of the night except for a feeding break or two in between 4 hour naps. Yesterday she slept most of the day despite our best efforts to keep her up. We were sure that she would be up all night as a result. So sure that Paul stayed upstairs so that he would be able to get some sleep and get up in time to leave at 6:45 AM to take Trish to the airport. I stayed in the living room with Scarlett but she ended up sleeping almost all night! She woke up at 1245 (until 1:45), 245 (until 3:30), and finally around 5:30 AM to feed. Paul came down around 6:30 and took her with him to the airport and took the next shift while I went upstairs to sleep. I didn't get up until 11:30 AM but apparently Scarlett was up the whole time! She basically hasn't been to sleep for more than a half an hour since.

As you can see, we are definitely at the mercy of Scarlett's schedule for the day and it is very difficult to plan around it. Yesterday I was begging her to eat and today I've been begging her to finally be full. It has been very helpful for Paul and I to be able to tag team. I can take the night shift when he has meetings or appointments the next day and he gives me a break to get some sleep when I start getting frazzled.

Other than visitors and sleeping schedules, the big thing this week was beef jerky watch 2009... We were waiting for her umbilical cord to fall off! They say 7-10 days and at day 10 it was still hanging on. We were very anxious for it to fall off. In addition to not being very pleasant to look at, they are just a pain to work around. You have to be careful not to hit them during dressing and diaper changes. During one of Scarlett's fits on Friday night, she decided to pull on it. That resulted in it swelling and bleeding and me being unable to look at it. Finally, on Saturday Paul and Trish were changing her diaper and there was no beef jerky! Trish finally found it in the foot of her outfit (yuck). It appears that she will have an innie! I'm still a little grossed out by her belly because there is some rawness and a little blood but it is definitely getting better. I know it doesn't hurt her but since it looks like it does, I can't look at it!

Scarlett has reached a few milestones and has passed many tests over the two weeks- latching and eating, hearing, 2 oz weight gain 2 days after weighing in at 6lb 13oz, ability to follow movement with her eyes, quickly passing her meconium, umbilical cord falling off... so now we are anxiously awaiting the results of her next test- consistent weight gain. She has her 2 week checkup tomorrow (Monday), and our original goal was for her to weigh 7lb 8 oz (1oz/day wt gain and she was 6-15 on Saturday Nov 14th). Now we are just hoping for half of that gain! She seems to have a high metabolism, and can eat half the day away without appearing to put on weight. We are a little nervous about tomorrow's weigh-in because we want her to be healthy, and REALLY do not want to supplement, or be forced to wake up every 2 hrs to feed! We enjoy our stretch of sleep at night (or early morning :). We will spend Sunday plumping her up as much as possible and hope for a great result. Cross your fingers for her to weigh 7lb 8 oz or at least 7-4!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 15th, 2009: We've kept her alive for a whole week!

We'd planned to do a lot of blogging to keep up with all of the events since the days are running together and we're likely to forget everything but somehow the days have slipped away and we haven't had much time. We'll fill in as we get the chance. It's strange that the birth was only a week ago. It seems like a lot longer than that and almost like the actual birth never happened -- the details are already a little foggy (thank you, hormones!). Scarlett is definitely the boss and it is hard to imagine how we filled our days before she was here to run the roost.

To fill in on some of the key events of the last week, we were released from the hospital on the 10th. We had her newborn pictures taken and then checked out of the hospital. We stopped at Cassatt's (our neighborhood New Zealand Restaurant) on our way home to pick up lunch. When we pulled up to the house, our next door neighbors on both sides were out front (it was a beautiful day -- sunny and in the upper 60s!) and got to come meet their new neighbor. Everyone commented on all of her hair. Shortly after we got home, we got our first visitor - Dave. He brought a lovely handmade frame with her name on it that had one of her first pictures in it already. Very sweet. In the next few days, we basically just continued trying to get to know our little girl. We're figuring out what she likes and what she doesn't like and working on developing a routine. She also got some other visitors -- Shannon, Juli, Tracy, the Bottners, and Victor.

She slept a lot the first few days. So much that it was hard to get her up enough to feed. She has been sleeping 4-6 hours straight each night, but she chooses when the sleeping happens (sometimes 1-5 am, sometimes 4-10 am). We went to her first pediatric appointment at Sleepy Hollow with Dr. Jasani on Thursday morning. Overall, Scarlett was doing really well but had lost more weight (down to 6 lbs 13 oz). She wanted us to come in again on Saturday morning to have her weighed to make sure she started gaining weight again. She needed to gain an ounce per day to ensure that we didn't need to start waking her up at night to feed. PLEASE GAIN WEIGHT! Luckily, when we weighed her on Saturday, she was up to 6 lbs 15 oz! Yay for sleep (and a healthy baby!)!

Sunday was a gorgeous day -- 71 degrees! To take advantage of it, we took Scarlett on her first walk in the stroller. She loves the bumpy ride and passes out within minutes. Good to know in case of cranky emergencies! We've been trying to get a good walk in every day. Other firsts include her first sponge bath, first time in the swing and bouncer, and first introduction to the dogs and cats. All of the above went well.

Thus far, parenthood is a lot of fun! It's hard to explain why since we basically live in Groundhog's day. We can't figure out what happened on which day and never get a fraction of what we plan to do done, but we are somehow pretty content! Her facial expressions seem to be enough to keep us happy. After the first few days we learned that napping when she naps (at least once or twice per day) is critical to survival. Paul is still having a hard time with that (and sleeping through the night as a result) but we are figuring it out.

The visits will really start gearing up this week. I have a few friends in town over the next few days, plus Simon is in town until Thursday. Trish, Paul's sister gets here on Thursday night and his mom will arrive on Monday or Tuesday. My mom then gets here on December 3rd and will be here until the 13th.

We've started a photo website for Scarlett: Anyone can add pictures, so we encourage anyone who has come to see her to add pictures to the site! We also have a video clip up there.

In other news, Jacy is still pregger but nearing the end of the road! She is due on December 13th but I think we should start a pool... I think my guess is around thanksgiving! Maybe it is wishful thinking... Scarlett is anxious to meet Liam!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Room 357

We got to our new room around 1 PM on Sunday. I was thrilled because the bed in this room felt like heaven compared to the labor and delivery bed. Paul was not as lucky... he had a firm upholstered pull out chair calling his name. Too bad we didn't time this to better align with the large rooms with the pull out couches being cleaned!

After settling in, Scarlett was still fast asleep. Her initial run in with the needles and eye cream really wore her out, so she ended up sleeping much of the rest of the day. Paul and I on the other hand were wide awake despite being sleep deprived. We were tired but the adrenaline was not going to let up long enough for a nap. We spent most of the day posting pictures and corresponding with loved ones. The reception in the labor and delivery room was virtually nonexistent but we were up to 2-3 bars of service in 357. Still touch and go, but definitely an improvement.

We had a lot of people coming in and out to check me and/or the baby. Mostly it was checking my bleeding and vitals and Scarlett's vitals. We let them take her to give her a bath. When she came back about an hour later, she was all clean and we could see the blonde highlights around her hairline. She smelled good and the swelling in her face was slowly starting to go down. We received instructions on logging all of her activities (e.g., breastfeeding attempts, which side and for how long, diaper changes) and they gave us the menu for our special "celebration meal."

We decided to have our celebration meal for dinner Sunday night. After a few breastfeeding attempts and more diaper changes than expected (our little over achiever :) ), they delivered a steak, baked potatoes, broccoli, vegetable lasagna, chocolate cake, and a bottle of sparkling cider. It far exceeded our expectations for hospital food and it was nice to be able to toast to our new little miracle.

As we settled in for the night, we prepared ourselves for being awake all night with her. From about midnight to 2 AM, it looked like that was going to come true. She was very upset. She was crying and crying with a variety of pathetic wails. Nothing we tried seemed to help. Finally, around 2 AM we tried feeding her again and she fell asleep on me. We let her stay against me until about 4 AM when we swaddled her up again and put her in the bassinet. She slept until 7 AM! All told we ended up with about 5 hours of sleep straight. Not bad for her first night out of the womb!

On Monday morning we got another string of guests -- the pediatrician, Dr. Crowther (my OB), nurses, patient care aides, patient rights advocates... Lots of people checking on us to make sure we had everything we needed. All reports were good. Scarlett is healthy and happy and I seem to be healing as expected. We continued feedings and a long stream of diaper changes interrupted by calls, emails, and text messages. We also managed to get in a couple of really nice family naps. The one in the afternoon involved the three of us squeezed into my hospital bed for a little over an hour Monday afternoon. It was such a good nap! Paul and I both felt like we had been drugged. The staff were doing their best to come in about every 15 minutes to check vitals or something but we could barely wake ourselves up. We were so tired and relaxed laying as a family and very, very happy. It was nice to have down time just to soak into the idea of our new family unit... this little person that Paul and I had been dreaming about for years. We figure since we've been together almost 7 years, Scarlett has been about 7 years in the making.

As the days have gone on, we have been fascinated by how quickly she changes. Although I completely understand that I am coming from a biased perspective, we think she gets cuter and prettier by the second. Not only that, but once the shock of the whole thing wore off, the intense feeling of love for this little creature has just gotten stronger and stronger and is overwhelming now. When they take her out of the room to be checked or give her a shot, we genuinely miss her. It's a strange phenomenon since she doesn't do too much other than sleep, eat, and poop, but somehow each of those activities is incredibly endearing when it is your own baby. We've started to get to know her likes and dislikes (swaddling is her favorite, she has ticklish feet and sides and isn't a fan of people messing with them!) and she is getting comfortable with us. She LOVES her daddy. She tends to calm quickly with him (he is good at shhh-ing) and loves sleeping on his chest. He lays her on her back on his chest bone and taps on her chest and she falls asleep or looks around the room calmly. She is constantly rooting -- trying to suck anything and everything within range, including daddy's nose, cheek, shirt... He may encourage it a bit because it is pretty funny.

The lactation consultant came in Monday afternoon and was INCREDIBLY helpful. She gave us a nipple shield and some cream and some tips for how to get Scarlett to stay awake long enough to feed. They encouraged us to "play with her" for 5-10 minutes before trying to feed and to put her skin to skin with me. Success! She is now over-achieving in the feeding department too and I'm seeing the effects (some blood, lots of stinging, and my milk is coming in). We took a walk around the floor and drove the staff crazy by setting off the alarm (causing the floor to go into lock down -- apparently they take baby stealing attempts very seriously here) and met a nice family who was waiting for the birth of their grand baby.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day one of "The Next Chapter"

Where did I leave off... Oh yea, 9:09am.

After Scarlett was born, we were still in a bit of shock at how lightning quick things progressed. As Scarlett's last toe was brought into this world, the OB immediately suctioned out her nose and mouth, Scarlett began to breath. What an amazing site to see a baby take her first breath!! She went from the color blue to bright (and shall I say) scarlet red in a matter of seconds as her cries sent oxygen rushing throughout her arteries. Soon after, it was time to detach her from her umbilical cord. Much to the OB's surprise, the cord was quite a bit shorter than the average cord, which made it more difficult cord blood later on. Maybe there is a correlation between length of cord and length of labor? Shonna? You are the research expert. Check the available data sets when you have a second. Anyway, I was given the opportunity to cut the cord. I'd give myself a B- on the cut, because it took me a second swipe of the scissors (albeit just an additional 2mm). I'll try to do better next time.

Soon after the cut, Scarlett was wiped down and handed to Shonna for a brief period of time (I can't recall if it was 30 seconds or 5 minutes because my mind was racing so fast). It must have been the latter because the placenta was passed during this time. What an interesting looking organ. Its like a cross between a human liver, and a heart and egg sac of another species. Apparently Shonna's placenta was reaching the end of its life because there was noticeable calcifying taking place on one side. As only Scarlett knew, it was time for her to leave the comfy confines of the uterus.

We were then ready for the next milestone. Scarlett was carried off so that her measurements could be taken. We hadn't heard much from Scarlett to this point. Scarlett cried initially as she was suctioned immediately after birth, but we didn't hear a peep after that moment (a trend that has continued to date- 9:15pm Monday. Quick cry followed by long moments of silence). As she was whisked away from Shonna, Scarlett's silence soon turned to anger as she was placed on the scale (but then again... don't most women react that way when approaching a scale, although usually unjustified? :) Scarlett weighed in at 7 pounds 9.3 ounces and 20.5 inches. Considering the natural birth and speed of delivery, I was expecting her weight to be under 7lbs. Wow Shonna, you are amazing! All other vitals turned out to be normal and Scarlett was back in Shonna's arms.

Shonna was in need of some post delivery attention, but the OB had more important things to take care of next door. Another sign that made us look at each other and say "we have been REALLY lucky!" We were in the delivery room more or less by ourselves for the next 60-90 minutes minus the usual round. The OB came back, did her thing, and we spend an additional 30-45 minutes in the room before moving on to our post delivery room. If Shonna so desires, I'll let her describe the remaining details and the painfuls aspect of post delivery.

On our way to our post delivery room, I was praying for an even numbered room. If you recall, Shonna and I took a tour of the ward, and the even numbered rooms were twice the size of the odds. We found out that the odd #s were always single rooms, and the evens were converted doubles to singles. Please please please please please please. The nurse made a call and I overheard "we are heading to room 357". My shoulders shrunk like a kid opening up a Christmas present only to find crappy clothes instead of a cool toy. Before I got too upset, I thought about the fact that I was walking to the room with my beautiful baby girl and amazing wife and all was well. I couldn't be luckier.

To be continued as "room 357"...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This can't be MY daughter... She's on time!!

Well, well. Daddy did a great job of recounting the events of the day, but I figure I'll add the mother's perspective. Paul and I fully expected Scarlett to follow in our footsteps and arrive late. Paul made appointments for Monday and I fully planned to be working on a tech report. Further evidence of our cockiness in this regard were our weekend plans. We had a full day of running errands on Saturday, followed by my dinner plans with Tina, and our scheduled date to meet my new baby cousin Eve and have lunch with her parents (Dan & Ruth) on Sunday at noon.

We got through all of our Saturday plans. I had a lovely (and rich) dinner at Brasserie Beck with Tina Saturday night. Once I got home, I joined Paul in assembling the spinach lasagna and then I set off in what can only be described as an instinctual nesting ritual. Now, I've been known to fixate on some odd details (e.g., huge pet peeve is leaving cabinet doors open) but lately I've had what can only be described as an obsession with the cleanliness of the walls and baseboards in our house. I finally set to task on them, along with the hall closet and the bathrooms. We're talking hands and knees, full out scrubbing.

At about 12:45 AM I was suddenly stricken with exhaustion and decided I better lay down. I was feeling pressure in my pelvis and thought I might have overdone it a bit. I bid goodnight to my husband who was still diligently slaving in the kitchen and tried to head to bed. Around 2 AM I woke up feeling what seemed like it could be a contraction, but I wasn't convinced because theyd been described to me as coming from your back and wrapping around your stomach. These were completely localized to my pelvis. I tried to go back to sleepto see how things played out. As Paul said, by the time he crawled into bed 45 miutes later, I was still unsure, but my suspicion that we might be meeting Scarlett soon was definitely growing.

Throughout the night the contractions got more intense (practicing my breathing, squeezing the snoogle or nearby cat and trying to stay relaxed) and were definitey occuring at regular intervals. At 3:30 AM I decided I better try to get a rough estimate of how far apart they were, so I started timing them on the alarm clock and they were about 10 minutes apart. In the birthing class they said to wait until they were 5 minutes apart to go to the hospital and I didn't have the heart to wake Paul after 45 minutes of sleep. This was also self-serving of course, because I wanted him to stay awake through what I expected to be a long birthing process. I continued to breath through the contractions as quietly as possible and tried to rest between, realizing that it might be a long day ahead.

By 7 AM, I knew we were in trouble. There were additional signs that I was in full blown labor and what had been 10 minutes intevals had become 6 minute intervals by my rough alarm clock estimation. I figured 4 hours of sleep was as good as daddy was going to do under the circumstances so I finally woke him up. He was up and moving quickly, but lacked the same sense of urgency I was getting more of with every contraction. Harder, closer together. Still not terrible by any means though... I could breath through them farily easily and walked around to ease the pain. By the time we left the house, I was close to panic because I was getting the sense this wasn't the 18 hour early labor that had been described to us.

I won't recount all the details of the labor again, but I would like to add how great Paul was as a coach! Other than saying that he knew I was in pain but this was exciting (wait until the contraction is over to say anything positive), he managed to not annoy me at all and was perfect. Very supportive and avoided barking instructions at me. He kept saying how amazing I was and how great I was doing and actually made me feel like it was sincere. He didn't complain about me squeezing him to death as the intensity of the contractions increased either. Once she was with us he handed me a little white jewlery box -- a beautiful silver necklace with a mother and child and three diamonds to represent the three members of our newly expended family. I don't know if it is possible to feel any more lucky/blessed than I did that moment. A healthy, beautiful daughter and a doting and loving husband. It was as perfect as it could have been without the aid of an epidural. :)

On the note of the drugs... I'd planned to try to go au naturale, leaving the door open to change my mind once reality set in. As Paul described, I was really only in unbearable pain for 30-45 minutes. I'd like to commend myself on the bravery of refusing the epidural, but most of it can be attributed to my stubborn streak and Scarlett being unstoppable. All in all, I think it worked out for the best because my happy hormones must have quickly made the pain seem like a distant and inconsequential memory.

All I can say is that I am grateful for the short labor (I won't say quick and easy because I think the easy part would be an overstatement -- I did want to kill the nurse when there was an empty tape roll in my bed during transition contractions) and I hope that my Jacy has a similar fate in store.

One other thing -- the staff at VHC have been awesome. It feels more like a hotel than a hospital most of the time because they are so service oriented. Can we get you anything? Fill your ice water? Take the baby away so you can nap? We had a special celebratory meal with sparkling cider and they are very careful not to disturb us when it is inconvenient. A great experience so far all around!

Sunday November 8th 2009

Soooo... Saturday we decided to go grocery shopping and figured we should make a bunch of food to freeze. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I started on lasagna, a baked ziti dish, rice/mushrooms, veggies... a bit overkill for one night because I was up until 2:45am. I finally made it to bed, and Shonna mentions that she "may" have had a contraction at 2am but not 100% sure. I figured, "all of the things I've read and stories I've heard, if she DID have a contraction I have plenty of time to get some sleep and head off to the hospital in the morning.

7am- Shonna wakes me up confirms that she has been having contractions, and is concerned that her contractions are getting closer and closer QUICKLY. She asks me to time them. At the beginning of her contraction and I hit the stopwatch and waited for her next contraction. Fully expecting to see an 8 or 9 next to the "minute" hand, I did a double take when I clicked the stopwatch and noticed it stopped at 4 minutes 50 seconds. WHAT??? How did that happen so fast??? I checked again. 4 minutes? I thought it had to be a mistake. The next one hit 5:15, so I thought "ok, QUICK shower and off to the hospital (I last showered Friday morning, so I felt it was necessary to at least attempt to rinse off.) I called the OB, left a message with their answering service, then I jumped in the shower. Done in a flash, we packed the car and I noticed Shonna had one of those looks like "holy crap, we need to leave NOW". We prepared quite a bit for this situation, but none of the books, baby classes, or life stories prepared us for how quickly this was happening.

8am- after the 15 minute drive and walk to the nurses station, we went into our room, I dropped the luggage off, and went back to the car to get the rest of the stuff and to park. I called Shonna's sister Tracy on the way back to the room (I only had about 3 minutes of good cell coverage so I had to move quickly.) I set a call tree in motion so that our immediate family and others would know what was happening. My plan was to text or email numbers for Tracy to call because I would not have good cell coverage, AND Shonna was progressing faster than expected. I attempted to call my mom, but cell coverage got the best of me. I was able to leave a message with David on my 2nd/3rd attempt, and actually talked to her shortly after.

8:15- By the time I returned to the room, Shonna was worried that I was going to miss the delivery, but she was diagnosed to be 6 cm dilated. Shonna and I (and help from the staff) figured we had at least a couple of hours before she would have to start pushing. The staff was very impressed that we waited that long to check into the hospital, especially considering its our first. We looked at each other and thought to ourselves, "It was part of our research" :)

8:30- Shonna's next contraction was powerful. So powerful that the nurse asks Shonna, "are you SURE you don't want an epidural?" No, lets wait and see. Plus we haven't talked to an OB yet (no one from our clinic is on call, but the Dr who was originally at the top of Shonna's OB list was on call. Side note- The OB's staff member told us we wouldn't be able to see this Dr until July for our initial apt, which is why we chose another practice. Boy was she annoyed and embarrassed that this happened.

8:40am- Shonna's contractions are so strong that she is certain her body wants her to start pushing. She mentions this and the nurse immediately checks her cervix. FULL DILATION!!!! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!! We haven't even seen an OB yet. 5 minutes later the OB appears and the show begins. Shonna's feet went into the stirrups, plastic was scattered around the room like we were getting ready to paint it (brought back painful memories of stripes). Shonna had a contraction, and OOOOPS, her right leg went crashing down because the stirrup IS BROKEN!?!? As it turns out, there have been A HANDFUL of similar occurrences this week on separate beds. Did this hospital renovate everything but the foot straps? Seems strange. Anyway, back to the labor. Shonna's water hasn't broken yet, so the OB takes care of that first with a special (and in Shonna's eyes EVIL) tool, that appears to be pretty painful. Shonna was in more pain than any contraction so far. Of course that changed quickly- the contractions would get more painful... The next contraction occurred, and the OB started coaching Shonna on breathing. "Its almost here so take a deep breath, let it out, take another one and hold and push for a count of 10". I'M CERTAIN this is much easier said than done. Shonna did inhale, release, inhale and begin to hold and push, but the "hold" quickly turned to "grunt" similar to a weightlifter, which releases air and decreases the power of the push. It didn't take Shonna long to make the adjustment. 2 or 3 more contractions/pushes, and "there's the head!" Shoulders followed, and with one more push there she was.

9:08am- Scarlett Aurora Waters Waltrup (we are giving her 2 middle names, not a hyphenated past name), born 7 pounds 9 ounces, 20.5 inches long, beautiful baby girl with already more hair than I have! I'm pretty sure we will bombard you with more pictures than you know what to do with, so I'm only adding a couple teasers here. Every staff member involved was simply amazed. "I've never seen anything like this especially for a first child. THIS IS REALLY YOUR FIRST??? If you have a 2nd, make sure you are in the hospital at the first sign of pain. The next one may happen even faster. " I can't imagine a quicker turnaround. It took 7 total hours from first sign to birth, and according to the OB, 60-90 minutes from the first REAL contractions to delivery. We (er Shonna) went from 6cm to birth in about 50 minutes, and 6cm to full dilation in 30 min. CRAZY! As we joked during our 9 months, Shonna is built for this :)

We will follow up with another report to detail minutes 9:09 through Monday pm. Until then, hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

39 Week Checkup - Down to the wire!

I'm doing a mid-week post because we had our doctor's appointment today. We met with Dr. Crowther. We originally thought I'd have a cervical exam done today, but she said that since I hadn't had any contractions, I didn't need it since it wouldn't really tell us anything about when I'd go into labor. My blood pressure and weight were good (no change). Her heart rate was 146 and the doctor said that she's in position. Her head is pretty far down into my pelvis and the doctor said that she is a good size - not too big! She thinks I have a 90% chance of having a normal vaginal birth. Good news all around!

The big thing was that she wanted us to go ahead and schedule our induction just in case. They try not to go much past 10 days over the due date and wanted to schedule now so that we could try to get an appointment when someone from our practice is on call. So... we're scheduled to be induced on November 17th at 8 PM. I'm hoping that we don't have to wait that long (I'm aiming for the 10th!). If we do get induced on the 17th at 8, Dr. Masel will be on call and the baby would likely be born on Nicole's birthday.

One other thing was that we'd been told during our second sonogram that our new due date was November 11th. Today we learned that the due date based on the first sonogram is actually a better estimate -- November 8th. We're already 3 days farther along than we thought we were!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anniversary through November 2nd

So its been quite a while since my last post (I say that a lot.) First I should explain the pictures. I bought the flowers for our anniversary- 2 for the # of years, and the short one for our daughter (I know its a little sappy, but what can I do.) We had a lobster dinner, Georgetown Cupcakes supplied by Jacy and Joel, then we all passed out from too much food. As you can see, the pets enjoyed the food and nap as well! Another reason I added the picture of the dogs is to show how mean and tough our pit bull really is. Shonna's mom was nervous when we adopted a pit bull and worried that Axel would kill us. As you can see, he just might suffocate us to death.

Ok, back to talking about mom and baby. Shonna is doing better than any mother-to-be I've seen in person or on TV, read in a book or magazine, or heard about during our God awful baby class instructor. As a matter of fact, I would bet that only those shown on "I didn't know I was pregnant" have had a better pregnancy. Sure she has grown a belly, but you wouldn't know otherwise- Especially after our baby decided to move off of Shonna's nerve.

Recent cravings- Shonna has gone from pickles and pizza in her first trimester, to all well done baked potatoes all of the time. The problem is... a full potato is too big, and the potato is no good 10 min after leaving the oven (the outside has to be crispy to create a mashed potato/potato skin combo). What does this mean for me? I too eat bake potatoes on a daily basis... :) Shonna has had two constant cravings throughout her pregnancy- grilled cheese and ice cream, but I don't think she hast be pregnant to crave those two things.

Concerning the house- no its not ready yet. Its getting there, but we now have a pile of shstuff that takes up 1/3 of the living room. Much if not all of it will go on Ebay. Feel free to bid! Baby room looks great, and our bedroom is basically ready to go. 1 floor out of 3 ain't bad :) I should have floor #2 complete minus the Ebay section by the end of the week, and the basement is getting roomier by the day (at least that's what I keep telling Shonna).

Well I'm off to make more room in the house. How much room does a sub 10 lb baby need anyway??? I know, I know...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1st, 2009: Happy Halloween & 39 Weeks

Happy Halloween! The picture is of Dave and I in our halloween costumes. He came over to help with some stuff around the house and we somehow talked him into painting his belly with me and passing out candy. We also headed into town and went to a party and a bar in Adams Morgan. We won 2nd place in the costume contest at Toldeo Lounge ($75 gift certificate which Dave has decided not to use until I'm not pregger anymore)!

I'm 39 weeks today but still feeling really good. I actually feel a lot better this week than I have in the past few because she seems to have moved off of my nerve! I can now walk almost normally (except for the slight waddle) and without pain. It's amazing how good normal feels when it has been gone for a while! We had our checkup on Monday with Dr. Born. All was well -- heart rate was good, my blood pressure was good, no weight gain, etc. She said I was carrying a little bit small but that was okay and it could just be because she was moving into my pelvis. We have another appointment on Tuesday this week with Dr. Crowther and supposedly they will do an exam to see if I've started dilating at all yet.

This week we met with 3 pediatricians. One, Dr. Gallagher, is the only doctor in a small practice right by our house. She was the first we met with and is all personality. Fairly young, very tall, and quite funny/blunt. The location couldn't be better - it's about 1/2 way between our house and our daycare. The second one we met was part of Pediatrics of Arlington (Dr. Lischwe), a 6 pediatrician practice located at Virginia Hospital Center. That one was out of network, so it would have had to have been pretty great anyway, but it really didn't win us over. It was a very one-way conversation and we just didn't get a great feel. The last one we saw was Dr. Jasani of Sleepy Hollow Pediatrics (part of Capital Area Pediatric Group). There are 9 pediatricians and 1 nurse practitioner at Sleepy Hollow and they've been in business for 40 years (in the same building, but they're moving in March). We were skeptical going in, but we ended up really liking the doctor we met with and had a very good feeling about the practice. The biggest drawback is location -- it is in the heart of Seven Corners in Falls Church. If you know the area, Seven Corners is like driving hell. Traffic is always terrible, the roads are confusing, and the average IQ seems to drop by 30 points or so. Now we're still trying to decide between Dr. Gallagher and Sleepy Hollow. Both have pluses and minuses and we're confident we'd get great care with either. Decisions, decisions! It may come down to the first name we think of when we check in at labor and delivery!

Baby watch is in full effect. We'll continue to update as anything noteworthy happens!