Vallette Family

Vallette Family

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stupid Jaundice!

I don't remember how old (exactly) Elaina was when the world ended, but I remember the details like it was yesterday.  "When the world ended," you ask.  Yeah.  When I got the phone call that her bilirubin levels were too high and she had to be admitted to the hospital to sit under the bili lights.  

Let me back up, you know how I'm crazy?  Well, my mom is kind of the opposite of me.  She is laid back and generally calm, quiet and pretty shy.  After Elaina was born, my mom had a tiny mini-meltdown.  She kind of went cuckoo.  My mom would come over to "visit" and she'd spend her entire visit undressing Elaina piece by piece to inspect her for anything out of the ordinary.  She would take off her sock and stare at her foot and toes.  And then move on to the next foot.  She would work all the way up to her head checking for anything that might be a warning sign that something was wrong.  She confessed to me later that a few times she left my house in tears because Elaina just seemed "off" to her.  Like, when she was 3 days old and not making eye contact.  Haha.  Anyway, so when my mom came over and told me that Elaina looked a little yellow to her, I wasn't THAT worried.  I mean, she had been inspecting Elaina under a microscope.  Elaina didn't look yellow to me?  But, because I'm psycho, I made an appointment at the Children's Clinic to get her checked out.  

When we got there the doctor said that she did, in fact, look a little yellow.  The doctor suggested we draw some blood to see what her levels were.  She said she'd call me when she got the results to let me know how they looked.  I actually wasn't TOO worried.  I had a good feeling about this.  And then I got the phone call.

The doctor called and said that her levels were too high and we needed to head over to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.  They were waiting for us, she said.  She said to bring enough clothes for about two days  What the f?  We have to go to the hospital?  And the hospital is WAITING for us?? I completely lost it.  I started bawling crying.  Now, a few of you may be thinking: jaundice is a relatively common thing in babies.  Yeah, I know it is, but when I was told that MY baby had jaundice (so severe that we had to head to the hospital) I freaked out.  All medical logic and knowledge I had went out the window and immediately Elaina was pretty much dying or at the very least going to suffer brain damage.  The doctor was so nice, she kept reassuring me and I kept apologizing for crying so much.  I told Marvin we had to go to the hospital "IMMEDIATELY!! ELAINA HAS JAUNDICE".  He just looked at me in horror.  He wasn't helping.  We quickly threw some bags together and drove separately to the hospital (he needed his truck to go to work in the morning).  

Now, if you don't have children you may not know this, but, alot of babies cry when they are in the vehicle.  I mean, some are content and just chill, but most cry any time the vehicle stops.  As long as you are driving the baby is fine, but catch a red light and the baby lets you have it.  This makes you want to punch anyone who drives slow or causes you to stop.  I've run a few red lights in those newborn stages just to keep her happy.  So, I drove Elaina to the hospital.  I was bawling crying the entire time.  I was talking to her "it's going to be ok! Don't worry. You're going to get better"  She was one weekish old and cried every time the car stopped, and now she had JAUNDICE so her crying was really freaking me out.  We got to the hospital.  We went to the registration desk and told the lady who we were and that the Children's Clinic had sent us.  She looked confused.  She took what seemed like EVER to get our information all settled and then we had to sit in the emergency room and wait for our room to be ready.

I was freaking out inside because SHE HAS JAUNDICE and needs to get under the lights as soon as possible so she can get better!  Minutes felt like hours.  I tried to nurse her in the ER, but it was early in our nursing relationship and I couldn't do it without flashing people and there were a few men that were looking my way a little too intently.  Gross.  Then, Marvin goes: " she going to be ok?"  Oh, crap.  I instantly felt horrible.  I know a little TOO much medical stuff and Marvin knows....none.  So, when I was screaming crying and acting like a crazy person packing things and telling him Elaina had jaundice and we had to go to the hospital immediately, he freaked out.  I guess because I was insane at the time he just did what he was told, but my behavior pointed to the fact that she had a life threatening illness.  I explained to him what was going on and how common it was and how she would be fine.  I apologized profusely for scaring him.  He looked instantly relieved, "Oh ok....I didn't know."  Oops.  Sorry, Marv.

Finally, our room was ready and it was somewhere between the 3rd floor and the 288th floor.  It took us, like, literally 30 minutes to find it.  Why are hospitals like mazes?  When we got into the room and got settled the nurse came in and told me that they were waiting for an isolette that had lights on the top AND side, but in the mean time to get Elaina in this one (that only had a light on top).  I was annoyed.  Ummm, she has jaundice can we move it along please?  The nurse asked me if I was nursing or using formula.  I was already ready to fight her.  I had read that when it comes to jaundice quantity is more important than quality (that's what "they" say) and sometimes women were pushed into feeding formula for jaundice.  The nurse didn't say anything, though.  She asked me the normal questions and then gave me my instructions.

I was supposed to take Elaina out of the isolette only to feed her and change her diaper.  I was supposed to write down every time she ate and keep track of the amount of diapers she was having.  They had a scale in the room and I had to weigh her diapers and write down how much they weighed.  I took this on as a full time job.  I was exact with my information.  I wanted to do what I could to get her to feel better, even if it meant weighing her poop perfectly.  Periodically the nurse would come in and check out the dry erase board, write it down in Elaina's chart and then erase it. 

It annoyed me how nonchalant all these people were with her "sunglasses".  I had done some research about jaundice and billi lights and if the "sunglasses" aren't placed correctly, it can lead to (in extreme cases) blindness.  I was VERY careful to cover her eyes perfectly each time I put her back in her isolette.

In walked some official looking guy.  He introduced himself as Dr. Somethingsomething and he looked YOUNG.  He told me he was a resident there.  He asked me questions and inspected Elaina under the lights.  He took off her diaper while she was under the lights and asked me if I noticed she had been bleeding in her diaper.  I told him that she had not had any blood before.  I did not freak out about this because, remember, I have a PhD in pregnancy and I know that sometimes little girls (soon after delivery) have a little blood in their diapers because of their mother's hormones working their way through the baby's system.  This is normal and not worrisome.  When the doctor told me she had some blood, though, I got up and went over to inspect what he was looking at.  I saw her diaper, and I said "ummm... are you sure that's not the light making her poop look that color?".  He got nervous "Oh....I don't know."  He said a few more things and then left.  I took her out of the light and changed her diaper.  Yep, it was her normal, yellow, seedy poop that just looked a different tint under the lights.  Immediately, I didn't like the hospital.  I mean,  I'm a first time mom and I knew that it wasn't blood.  And this "doctor" put a bad taste in my mouth.  All of sudden, everyone was incompetent.  (It doesn't take much for me.  Doctors lose their superhuman quality when you have so many ordinary people who are doctors in your family.)

After we got settled in, Marvin called his parents to tell them what was going on.  I don't remember how they took the news, because I was only focused on one thing GET ELAINA BETTER.  I informed my parents that they were not allowed to come to the hospital.  This was not a visiting event.  Elaina was sick and she needed to get better and she didn't need any distractions.  She needed to eat, poop and chill under the lights.  I told Marvin to relay the same message to his family.  Now, looking back, that was a bit extreme.  We were at the hospital for 2.5 days and our families weren't allowed at the hospital.  It doesn't really make sense to me now, but at the time I was adamant about it!  I was in protective, lioness mommy mode (I stayed in this mode for about 8 months.)

Marvin slept on the pull out recliner thingy and woke up each morning to go to work and then came straight back to the hospital after work.  I stayed in the room with her.  I hated how this particular hospital had about fifty million different people coming in to check her temperature and prick her heel and ask questions.  I rarely saw the same person twice in those 2 and a half days.  I hated this "teaching hospital".  I couldn't wait to take her home.  

Finally, the doctor said her levels were in a good place and we could go home.  Awesome!!  Marvin was at work and I packed us up.  I was ready to go.  The nurse was supposed to come give me some paperwork.  I waited on her.  Then, she came in and gave me my at-home instructions: feed the baby.  Easy enough.  She told me to go get the vehicle and that she would take Elaina downstairs to meet me so we could load her up.  LOL.  How cute of her.  She thought that I was going to leave her with my baby.  Ha! I told her that I had it under control.  Thanks, bye.  She said something about policy blah blah and she had to come with me.  Oh ok, then we would BOTH walk down together and then she could wait outside with Elaina (in my line of view) while I ran to the vehicle and pulled it up.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  I didn't care.  

Here is a picture of Elaina "tanning".

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Being A "Good" Mom

There are people who usually think of others first and themselves last.  I am not one of those people.  I am a selfish person.  It's something I was terrified would affect me as a mother.  One of my biggest fears when I was pregnant (and by this time you know there were many) was that I would be a selfish mom.  I would day dream about the following scenario: it's 4 AM and my baby is crying because she's hungry and I'm just EXHAUSTED so I let her stay hungry and cry.  I was terrified that I wouldn't WANT to go to her because I'd be too tired.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to put my baby's needs, wants and well being before my own.  Then, she came, and nothing else in the world mattered except for keeping that little person happy and healthy.  It didn't matter if I hadn't eaten in a day.  It didn't matter if I didn't sleep.  It didn't matter.  She was ALL I was worried about.  It's not something that I had to "work on" it was something that just happened.  She was born and BAM I immediately became second.  Immediately.  

You may be thinking to yourself: "but isn't that how EVERYONE is? doesn't EVERYONE automatically have a baby and put the baby first and themselves second?"  Well, no.  No, everyone isn't like that.  And, really, you can't blame them.  I mean, when your child is born something inside you either CLICKS or it DOESN'T CLICK.  I don't think you have control over this "clicker".  Some people have the biologically, programmed, instinctive CLICK when their child is born and all of a sudden the child's well being, wants, health, etc. come before their own.  It's not something they have to work on.  It's not something they have to think about or struggle with.  It just.... HAPPENS.  Automatically.  And some people don't.  

I guess that's what my fear was... that it wouldn't be automatic for me.  I'm glad that it was because I think I'm too selfish to NOT have that "click" and be a good Mom at the same time.  Some people don't have that click, but they are self disciplined enough to work through it and others can't.  Being a parent is kind of about baggage, you know what I mean?  Like, when you're beginning the parenting path, you think about your own childhood and what those GREAT things were your parents did (or didn't do) and what those not so great things were.  You decide (in your head) to make a conscious effort to not do the things you thought weren't so great and you want to try as hard as you can to replicate the great things.  In a sense, when you become a parent, you give your parents a report card.  For example, let's say that you came from a divorced home and it negatively impacted you, your goal is to NOT replicate that.  Or, let's say that your mom was overbearing and all up in a ya bizz, you want to give your children space.  The list goes on and on. 

I'm a great mom.  I know that's something that's taboo to say.  I know you're not supposed to say it, but it's true.  How am I a great mom?  I love Elaina unconditionally.  She comes first in my book.  I think carefully before making a decision that will affect her.  I listen to my gut.  I research when my gut gives me nothing.  I ask for advice from those I trust.  I try my very hardest.  I spend time playing with her.  I spend some time disciplining her.  Does that mean I'm perfect?  No.  Certainly not.  Does it mean that I don't make mistakes?  No.  Being a "great" mom doesn't mean that I don't sometimes lose my temper and say something a little louder than I wish I would have.  It doesn't mean that sometimes I don't lose my patience or need a second to myself.  It doesn't mean that I don't turn on the TV so she can watch cartoons while I chat with a friend or read an article in peace.  It doesn't mean that some days, and the end of the day, I feel like I could've done a better job.  It doesn't mean that I don't mess up; I'm human.  We all mess up.  Being a great mom doesn't mean that I don't question myself and feel guilt constantly.  Even if deep, deep, deep down you KNOW you are this kick ass mom who is just totally awesome, you'll still have moments of guilt.  Guilt is programmed into the mom's DNA.  

When Elaina was born, Marvin and I didn't watch TV for about 4 months.  I mean it.  For 4 months we watched absolutely no TV.  We had cable, but we didn't use it.  Why?  Because of my baggage.  My dad was a doctor who worked a lot and spent his non-working hours either working on his ever-changing hobbies or locked in his room watching TV and ignoring us.  That's how I felt.  It's my perception.  (My dad has a different perception, and that's ok.  But this is my blog, so it's from my perspective.)  Dr. Phil will tell you that perception is reality.  So, you can guess that my fear as far as Marvin was concerned was that he'd be an uninvolved Dad.  Marvin would get up, go to work and then come home and he'd had have to stare at Elaina until it was bed time.  Literally.  If he was looking at something else or not paying attention to her cute little 2 week old face for even a SECOND I would panic.  Marvin talks about how silly that little phase I went through was.  He loves telling people "I couldn't even watch TV."  Marvin is a laid back guy (as I'm sure you know by now) so he just went with it, as he does everything.  He just follows along with my crazy and waits for it pass and then brings it up when it's a long distant memory "remember when...." and then we laugh at how crazy it was at the time.

I remember one time I told my mom that I was having some guilt because I felt like I didn't spend enough time with Elaina.  "You are with her everyday," she responded.  Now, looking back, that was a silly way to feel.  How could I not spend enough time with someone I spent EVERY moment with?  I don't know.  But, at the time, I felt like I was failing because I didn't spend every moment of every day devoting 100% of my time playing with and staring at her.  

The crazy thing about parenting, though, is no matter how hard you try, you're going to make mistakes.  You don't get to decide what was or wasn't a mistake.  Your child will grade your paper when they are older and have children for themselves.  For example, when I was growing up I told my mom EVERYTHING.  I mean EVERYTHING.  She laid down some sort of foundation where I was never scared to tell her something.  I felt that I could be honest with her and I trusted her input.  I want to replicate that with my children.  I want them to be able to be honest with me about everything.  Like, if my 13 year old girl is in a "relationship" and thinking about becoming sexually active, I want for her to come to me and feel comfortable talking to me about it.  I hope I can handle those conversations with the same delicacy and grace my mom handled them with.  In the same breath, my mom hardly ever asked questions.  When I would tell her about a fight I had with a boyfriend or some drama that went on at school, she listened attentively and quietly, and just let me vent.  I think she was careful not to "pry" or make me feel like she was being too nosey, so she tried to just listen calmly and would only offer advice if I asked for it.  At the time, it kind of felt like she didn't care.  Like she wasn't interested.  Now, looking back, I know that's not the case.  I know she was trying to handle the situation delicately to make sure that I continued to feel comfortable talking to her.  And, she wanted me to have my own experiences and make my own decisions.  But, at the time, it felt like she didn't care.  So, that's something that I want to change.  If I'm lucky enough to raise my children to be as "open" with me as I was with my parents, I would like to make more of an effort to ask questions and ask for details and give advice.  Now, here is where parenting gets tricky: I will bet you 5 million dollars that when Elaina gets older she'll think of me as one of those "overbearing" moms who always asked questions and wanted details and was TOO involved.  She'll feel like I didn't give her room to breathe, and then she'll want to give her children more space and so they cycle continues.  

All you can do is try your best.  Try your very best.  Some days you'll feel like a failure, and some days you'll feel like you killed it.  It's part of the job.  You'll question yourself.  You'll have guilt.  You'll worry.  You'll have anxiety.  It's normal.  It's GOOD.  You're raising another HUMAN BEING.  It's a big job.

I'll leave you with some advice my mom gave me that REALLY stuck with me.  I told her how I worried sometimes that I was a sucky mom or I was failing or I wasn't doing the BEST job I absolutely could.  Do you know what she told me?  The shitty moms don't wonder if they're shitty.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


During my pregnancy with Elaina, I heard about all the wonderful parts of breastfeeding.  I mean, I knew that "breast is best" before my pregnancy, but I learned WHY.  It helps you lose weight, they said.  It reduces the risk of SIDs, they told me.  Breastfed babies are less likely to be sick because they're receiving their mother's immunities.  It's free.  (I could go on...)  The more I learned, the more I was DETERMINED to breastfeed.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to.  I had a breast augmentation about 5 months before learning I was pregnant with Elaina.  I researched and googled like a mad woman.  I read different stories about women who had undergone breast surgeries and their triumphs/failures with breastfeeding.  I asked Dr. Brown what he thought.  I called my plastic surgeon, Dr. Glass, to ask about her patients' experiences.  I asked questions on my Baby Center Birth Board (those ladies are IN-TENSE!).

I bought "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" and read and re-read all the breastfeeding sections in my 8 (yes, 8) baby books. I have a confession, though.  I found "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" extremely boring and I just didn't get the information I was looking for from it.  (That's basically considered blasphemy to my mommy-friends, but...... it's true.)  I got some good information from the 8 baby books, but I still didn't feel prepared.  So, I signed up for a Breastfeeding Class at Women & Children's.  THAT was what made me successful at breastfeeding.  Not the books, not the googling, THE CLASS made us successful.

The class was given by one of their Lactation Consultants (side note: this woman had like 4 kids and she was SO tiny and blonde and cute. UGH).  Anyway, the class cost $15 and was literally the best money I've ever spent in my "preparation" for motherhood.  Why was the class so helpful?  You know, I don't know.  I mean, one part stood out:  the lactation consultant held up little balls that represented the size of your baby's belly at different stages.  I was AMAZED at how freaking tiny the just-born baby's tummy was.  It was, like, as big as an almond.  Besides the stomach sizes, the class just told me the specifics of what I should and shouldn't worry about.  It told me what to expect and it MADE ME FEEL CONFIDENT.  Like, I knew I would be able to do it after the class.  They gave us each a sheet of paper.  The paper was a way to keep track of feedings the first few days.  You circled R or L (for right or left boob) and you would write down how long the baby fed for.  Then, when the baby had a dirty or wet diaper you would circle that on the paper, too.  The paper had how many wet/dirty diapers were needed for each day postpartum.  The lactation consultant said that if your baby was producing the right amount of dirty diapers you were golden and don't worry.  Wait....that's it?  You count diapers and if you have the right amount of wet and dirty you're ok?  I can DO THIS!  The lactation consultant also told us that someone would stop by and "help" if we needed  while we were in the hospital.

After I got the epidural with Elaina and I was able to talk freely, I asked the nurse if there was a lactation consultant who could come by when she was "out" to help me.  She said she'd make sure to let them know.  Elaina was born, the nurse took forever to clean her off, she put her on my chest and then in walked a lactation consultant.  She told everyone that we were about to try to feed Elaina and asked them to leave.  That made me instantly love her.  She put on these blue gloves and said she was going to "watch" me feed Elaina.  I was so nervous.  I plopped out my boob and she showed me a better way to hold her.  The way I was holding her was the way I had seen everyone hold their babies.  The way she taught me allowed me to hold her head AND my boob at the same time, so I had more control.  I had read and learned about the cheek tickle, so I tried it.  Elaina opened her mouth a few times and I gently nudged my nipple at her.  "You're not going to hurt her," the lactation consultant said.  "SHOVE it in her mouth."  So, I cheek-tickled and nudged my nipple at her a little harder.  Then something happened.....the lactation consultant grabbed my boob.  She didn't ask.  She just grabbed it and shoved it in Elaina's mouth.  I mean SHOVED.  (Thaaaaat's why she needed those blue gloves.)  I was amazed by how hard she was pushing my nipple into Elaina's mouth.  Elaina grabbed on and sucked a few times and the LC pointed out how her latch was wrong.  She showed me how she could tell that the latch was wrong.  She told me how to break the latch and had me try again.  I shoved my nipple back in her mouth, she latched on correctly and she sucked maybe 5 times and unlatched herself.  The lactation consultant told me to try again.  And, again I shoved myself in her mouth, she sucked a few times and unlatched herself.  I was worried.  Why wasn't she staying on?  We tried the other boob and the same thing happened a few times.  Elaina never sucked for more than 5 seconds before she would get off.  The lactation consultant said I was doing great.  She took off her gloves.  We're done?  I was scared.  Something was obviously wrong.  Why wasn't she staying on?  I asked the LC "so, that doesn't count as a feeding, though, right?".  She said what Elaina had just done was "great" and I should consider it a successful feeding.  What?  Really?  She reminded me about the stomach sizes and the fact that Elaina had just been through 24 hours of labor and had probably drank a lot of amniotic fluid so she wasn't particularly hungry.  She said those few "sucks" got the colostrum out which is all we were looking for at this point.  I should be proud and happy, she said.  Keep track of dirty diapers and we would do great.  Wow.

That was just what I needed.  From that point forward I never questioned myself.  Elaina was born at 2:30 and every two hours on the dot after that I would unswaddle her to wake her up and attempt to feed her.  She never sucked more than 10 times before unlatching herself.  Sometimes unswaddling her didn't work and I had to pretend to change her diaper.  Sometimes changing her diaper didn't even help and I would dribble colostrum on her lips.  Sometimes nothing worked and she would just sleep.  But, I was ok with that because I offered every 2 hours like clock work.  

Around 9:00 we were ready to go to bed.  The lights in the room were turned off, but I left the TV on for light so I could see Elaina was breathing when I checked on her approximately every 10 seconds.  Throughout the night, I woke her up (or tried to) every 2 hours to get her to feed.  She didn't wake up at nighttime, though.  That chick was tired!  She was having the right amount of dirty diapers, though, and I was offering so I knew we were golden!  

The nurse would come in every 3ish hours and ask "how are y'all doing? do y'all need anything? did she eat?".  I didn't sleep that night so her constant interruptions didn't bother me.  I was too busy doing breathing checks.  I wasn't tired.  It was weird because the night before I was in labor so I didn't sleep then either.  My last time sleeping was during Dr. Phil.  That was about 48 hours ago?  I would always tell her we were fine and didn't need anything and I would proudly inform her that Elaina did NOT eat.  I was kind of daring her to question me.  Try to tell me she needs formula.  TRY!  She never did.  I guess I looked pretty confident when I would say "no, she didn't eat.  I offered, but she wasn't interested.  We're ok."  At around 12:14 (I know because I watched the clock like a crazy person) the nurse came in and told me the pediatrician was here to check on the babies.  She said she was going to take Elaina to the nursery and asked me if I wanted her to keep her in the nursery or bring her back.  I had to try HARD not to LOL in her face.  "  Bring her back.  Definitely bring her back."  I am way too crazy to allow my child to chill in the nursery.  At approximately 12:20 (6 minutes later) I told Marvin to wake up and go to the nursery and ask what was taking so long.  He came back a few minutes later and told me that she was in the nursery and they said they were almost done.  At approximately 12:25 I got up and went to the nursery.  I was mad.  She was gone for eleven minutes now.  How long does the doctor need?  Give me my baby back.  The nurse saw me and told me they were bringing her back now.  They brought her back three minutes later.  

The next day Dr. Brown came and told me I could go or I could stay another day.  He said it was up to me.  Ummmm...DUH! I want to go home where visitors can't just pop in and nurses can't hold my baby hostage for eleven minutes.  (I know that I'm crazy; I don't care.)

We went home and at about three days postpartum my milk came in.   It didn't hurt and I wasn't engorged.  I only noticed because I was in the bathroom, leaning over to get something in the cabinet and I was soaking wet.  It took a while for me to figure out where the "water" was coming from.  Breastfeeding went wonderfully after that, I only had one time that I got nervous.  Elaina was having the right amount of poop diapers, but no pee diapers!  I called the Lactation Consultant.  Turns out that Elaina WAS peeing (toilet paper in the diaper confirmed this), but newborn baby pee is clear and I was changing her before every feeding (every 2 hours) so her diapers never "felt" wet.  

I joined La Leche League and all the moms sat in a circle and talked breastfeeding.  Throughout the meeting, moms whipped out their boobs and fed their babies without blinking an eye.  I liked this.  I fed Elaina in public if we were out and she was hungry.  You know those people who are nervous and embarrassed to feed in public?  I wasn't one of them.  I was a master public feeder.  You never saw any skin.  I used to daydream that someone would come up to me and make a comment about my feeding in public.  I would prepare what I would say.  I had a whole speech ready to go if anyone wanted to try me.  No one ever seemed to mind, though.  Most people ignored me completely.  A few people gave me "been there" smiles.  All went smoothly.  

Breastfeeding was great.  I loved it.  Me and Elaina were good at it.  Wanna know my favorite part about breastdfeeding?  When someone would ask to hold Elaina and I didn't want them to (read: ANYONE other than me) I would lie and say she needed to eat.  No one else could feed her, and by the time I was "done" they would forget, or she'd be asleep (and my baby was not passed around while sleeping....I didn't want to disturb her.  DUH!) Ha ha. Crazy mom win!!  

What was your favorite part of breastfeeding? What did you find challenging?  How did you feel about breastfeeding in public? Did you ever have an "issue" with onlookers being rude?



Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Psycho Mom's Anatomy Scan

A while back I wrote about the three types of moms.  How you handle the anatomy scan can point to what kind of mom you are.  This is a story about how the Psycho Mom handles her anatomy scan.

The anatomy scan is an ultrasound performed around 20 weeks (about half way through your pregnancy) to measure the baby and make sure everything is progressing normally.  How does the anatomy scan determine what kind of mom you are, you ask?

It's Anatomy Scan Day for each of the moms, here's how they handle it:

It's the Laid Back Mom's anatomy scan, she calls it "an ultrasound" she is excited to be able to see her baby today!  She is happy that she gets some extra pictures, and the fact that this is a diagnostic tool hasn't even entered her frame of mind!  She's excited and happy! 

It's the Typical Mom's anatomy scan, she calls it "the anatomy scan" she is a little nervous.  She knows that this is supposed to be a big day in her pregnancy, but she's overall excited that she gets to see her baby and she's feeling rather confident that everything will go just fine.

It's the Psycho Mom's anatomy scan, she calls it "the DUN DUN DUN anatomy scan" she is purely scared.  She knows that this is a huge day and that all major problems (if there are any) could be picked up today. 

I know I'm a Psycho Mom.  In fact, I've never met a mom quite as Psycho as me.  It's not a good thing.  It's not a bad thing (sometimes, yeah it is).  It's just the type of mom I am.  Want to know how my anatomy scan went?

Let's paint the scene: I'm laying there, furry belly exposed (pregnancy makes you hairy--we haven't talked about this yet, but we will).  During the first three seconds it takes him (my ultrasonographer, Chris Brown) to find the baby I hold my breath.  Upon finding the baby, I panic inside because the baby isn't moving (I don't think?).  I examine Chris' face for any information it might give me.  He says, "there he is... oh look, he's jumping."  I can exhale now. He starts to poke around, get pictures and measure things.  He's making light-hearted conversation with Marvin about sports (note to self: next time I have an ultrasound I have to instruct Marvin that he is not allowed to talk; his banter may be distracting Chris from discovering something important). He takes a few minutes measuring and taking pictures (while talking to Marvin about the different basketball coaches at the area high schools).  He tells me "everything looks great, the baby weighs approximately 10 oz".  He pokes around a little more.  He says "Oh look, here's a good side profile" he clicks a picture and he removes the wand from my belly. He is done. Woah, woah, woah.  Is he done?  Like, he thinks we're done?  We're not done!

Me: That's it?
Chris: Yep!  He looks great!
Me: Ummm... no.
Chris: What's wrong?
Me: Can you show me?
Chris: I am going to print some pictures for you to take!
Me: No... I mean, can you show me the parts you checked?  Like, ok, so you saw his spine? His spine is ok? All of the vertebrae are equally separated?
Chris: Yep... here ya go. (shows me spine).
Me: Ok, and his heart has four chambers?
Chris: Yep... here ya go. (shows me heart)
Me: Where are the four chambers?
Chris: (counts out and points to chambers)
Me: Ok, and his cord has 3 vessels?
Chris: Yep....look. (shows me cord)
Me: Can you press that button so I can see the bloodflow?
Chris: You know alot about ultrasounds... (shows me the bloodflow).
Me: Ok, thanks. And the cord is implanted in the center of the placenta?
Chris: sure know alot. (shows me)
Me: Ok, can I see his kidneys?
Chris: Here ya go. (shows me kidneys)
Me: And his head is a normal circumference?
Chris: Yes. (shows me head)
Me: How is he measuring as far as my dates go?
Chris: Right on target!
Me: Like exactly June 8th?
Chris: Well, like two days ahead.
Me: Ok, thank you!

Did I feel better after the scan?  Eh, kinda.  I felt better that those things look normal on the ultrasound, but until I have him in my arms and I can inspect him I won't be able to feel 100% sure he's ok. (Even then....)

This blog isn't long enough for me to talk about all my shades of crazy.  How did your anatomy scan go?

 Here's a sideways picture of Dane taken at our anatomy scan!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What Contractions Feel Like

After reading Elaina's birth story, I realized that I complained about how no one would tell me what contractions felt like, but I never really explained it to you guys either.  When I was at the end of my pregnancy, I spent A LOT of time googling and asking other moms what contractions felt like and all I got was "it's hard to explain/describe".  At the time, it was extremely annoying.  I mean, how hard could it be to explain what something felt like?  You can find practically anything on google these days, but for some reason I got no solid answers there either. After going through it, though, I completely understand why I never found the answer!

On the movies, everyone starts labor with their water breaking.  I guess it wouldn't be as entertaining to watch someone sitting there for a few hours wondering if they're in labor.  When I got pregnant and started researching what labor was like, I realized that the amount of people whose labor starts with their water breaking is rather small.  The majority of women enter labor with contractions.  Now, my mom had three children and all of her labors started with her water breaking.  One of my best friend's water broke, and so did my sister-in-law's aka the freak of nature.  (By the way, the freak of nature gained a total of 19 lbs throughout her 39 weeks of pregnancy.  She just had her 6 week check up and she lost 25 lbs.  Meaning she is smaller now than she was when she got pregnant.  Also, her stomach is flat.  It's been perfectly flat since about 1 week after she delivered.  Yeah.) 

So, just in case you're in the minority.  My mom: It was nighttime and she was sleeping.  She woke up to something wet in the bed.  My best friend: she went to pee.  She was done peeing, but liquid was still trickling out.  She stood up and the water gushed out of her.  Her husband had to pack the car while she stayed on the toilet.  My sister-in-law was laying on the couch watching TV when she felt a pop and a little liquid came out.  A little while later, a little more liquid came out and she went to the hospital.  

Now, if your labor starts with contractions it's not as easy to distinguish as water coming out of your wazoo.  Remember how I thought I had to poop?  And then I went to the toilet and nothing happened and the urge to poop went away?  And that happened like six times before I realized that maybe, just maybe I was in labor?  Well, early labor feels kind of like cramps.  Read the previous statement several times.  EARLY labor feels KIND OF like cramps.  That's why it's hard to know if you're in labor or just having general discomfort.  It's basically like a stomach ache.  The difference between cramps and contractions is that contractions have a pause in between them and cramps generally don't.  With contractions, you have a cramp and then you feel normal and then you have a cramp and then you feel normal.

Some of you may be thinking "that's not that hard to explain....why do people have such a hard time describing it?"  Well, because contractions are a pain and feeling you've never felt before.  Try to imagine an alien came to Earth.  And on their planet they only have bruises.  That's their only painful experience.  And all of a sudden this alien asks you what it feels like to break your arm.  You have to equate it to something they are familiar you say "breaking your arm feels kind of like bruising your arm, but worse."  Now,  that's exactly how labor goes.  Contractions feel KIND OF like you-need-to-poop pains mixed with period cramps in the same way that a bruise feels KIND OF like breaking your arm.  It's a different sort of pain.  It's not like anything you've felt before and THAT'S why it's hard to explain.  If you hold a gun up to someone's head and make them describe what it feels like, the thing it comes closest to (for me) is TERRIBLE cramps.  But, remember, just like bruise=/= broken arm..... cramps =/= contractions.

Did your labor start with your water breaking? or contractions?  What were you doing when your labor started?  What did contractions feel like to you? 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Elaina's Birth Story

I've been thinking a lot about my future labor & delivery with Dane.  What it will be like.  What I want to change this time.  What I want to keep the same as Elaina's.  So, I thought the first step would be to get all the details of Elaina's labor & delivery out.  If you've ever had a conversation with me, you know I'm a detailed story teller.  I like to paint a picture.  I want to make sure you have all the information you need.  So, this is going to be unnecessarily long.  You probably won't find this interesting unless you are a mom (even then....) or a mom-to-be.  You've been warned.

In the spirit of accuracy (this was 2 years ago), I won't quote someone unless I'm SURE it's exactly what they said.  For today's purposes, I'll use * to express "quotes" that may not be EXACT representations of what the person said. 

Let's paint the scene: I am exactly 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I have a doctor's appointment today and I am excited because Dr. Brown is going to look under the hood and check for progress.  I came last week and there was no progress.  On top of not having any progress last week, Dr. Brown dropped the bomb: he would be out of town Oct 29 - Nov 5.  Today is Oct 21st.  My due date is Nov 3rd.  Awesome.  Thanks, Dr. B. 

My dad is an OBGYN, too.  And, he's been "gently" nudging that I should not allow this pregnancy to go past my due date because *that's when things get hairy and more complications can arise*. 

I am terrified of induction.  I want things to happen naturally.  I want her to decide to come on her own.  I don't want to manipulate such an intricate process.  I've shared my concerns about induction with Dr. Brown and he's given me his ever-popular response (which is part of the reason I love him) "whatever you want to do, we'll do". In my head, induction means c-section.  Dr. Brown told me that his personal c-section rates after induction are about 50%, but that his personal c-section rates for first time moms are also about 50% (with or without an induction).  In my head, this is how math works: I'm a first time mom, so 50+ (if I get induced) 50 = 100% chance I will end up having a c-section.  I could go on and on for hours about the reasons that I don't want a c-section.  They are not the "normal" reasons why people don't want c-sections.  I don't have enough time to list all of my obsessive worries regarding c-sections here, but let me just say it basically boils down to: a lot of things are out of your control.  I'm not a fan of this in any aspect of my life, but it turns me into a CRAZY person when my children are involved.  Wow.....we've gotten off topic.  Sorry.  Back to my 38w1d appointment.   

So, Dr. Brown checks out the situation and there is absolutely zero progress.  I decide to ask him to strip my membranes.  Why?  Because I'm terrified of induction (hospital induction), but people are putting into my head how worrisome it can to be to go over your due date, so, I'm trying to avoid going over and being forced into an induction.  The stripping takes about 3 seconds and is a little uncomfortable.  I tell Dr. Brown to give it to me straight: the fact that there is no progress means nothing will happen soon, right?  He smiles and tells me that he's been in this game for a long time and there's no way to know for sure, but if he had to guess, I have a while.  Great.  

We go home and have a normal night.  Nothing interesting happens.  I'm not expecting it to.  I don't even have the tiniest bit of spotting from the stripping.  Blah.  People text me asking me if "anything has happened yet".  This makes me want to punch them in the face.  Dear Friend, you know how "ready" you are? Multiply that by about 167 and that's how ready I am. I don't need you to text me and remind me that I'm still pregnant.  Ugh.  Non-children having friends!!!! (I love y'all, but daaang.)

The next day comes and nothing interesting happens.  I google "what contractions feel like" obsessively and text everyone I know who's been through this before asking the same because I'm scared that labor will start and I won't know.  Everything I read online says they can't really "describe" what they feel like and everyone I text says "it's hard to explain".  Thanks, peeps.  I text my mom asking if there was a "warning" that she was going to go into labor.  Like, did you feel different or weird or have a feeling something was going to happen?  She responds "LOL no!"  Thanks, mom. 

I hate everyone at this point.  I talk to my belly like a crazy person. I repeat the following statement over and over: "Elaina, whenever you're ready, we're SO excited to meet you."  Nothing.  Not even a kick.  Blah.

Dr. Phil is on.  I start to watch it and fall asleep in the recliner while it's playing.  At precisely 2:45 I wake up because I need to poop.  I go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet, but nothing happens.  The urge to poop goes away.  About 15ish minutes later, I need to poop again.  Again, I go to the toilet and sit on it and nothing happens.  The urge to poop goes away.  Again, about 15 minutes......rinse, repeat.  Rinse, repeat.  Rinse....HOLY CRAP!! AM I IN LABOR?!?!  I start to wonder if I'm in labor.  I've read way too many "false labor" stories to ask this out loud or tell anyone.  

Now, it's 4:00. I'm still having what I thiiiiiiink are contractions.  Marvin walks through the door from work and I look at him and smile from ear to ear.  "What," he asks.  "I think I'm having contractions," I say.  He smiles.... and only gets out "really?".  He seems extremely calm.  I'm pretty calm, too.  This is weird.  I tell him I want to go for a little walk to see if the contractions go away.  We walk for about an hour.  They continue to come.  We get back inside and I tell him maybe we should time the contractions? Marvin gets a piece of paper and I tell him when one starts and he writes down the time.  Marvin has had to sit through a million stories about all the women I've read about online who think they're in labor and aren't.  He is just as worried as I am that this is false labor.  So, he writes at the top of the paper "Contraction Starters" in an effort to remind himself this might not be the real deal.  I take a bath.  I hang out in the bathtub a little while and call my mom.  I tell her I think I might be having contractions.  She gets nervous.  "Ok, what are you doing now," she asks.  I tell her I'm in the bathtub.  "WHY are you in the bathtub?"  She seems nervous about this.  *I'm taking a bath, Mom.  Calm down.  We're timing the contractions.  They are a tad bit uncomfortable, but not bad.  They're about 12 minutes apart.*  She puts my dad on the phone.  He asks me if I am still able to talk through the contractions.  I'm not sure what he means by this, but yeah, why wouldn't I be able to talk?  *Ok, baby, it sounds like it might be early labor.  When they start getting closer together we'll know it's the real deal. Call me if you have any questions.*  

I get out of the tub and make Marvin and myself a pizza.  He is watching TV.  Why are we so calm?  This is weird.  The pizza is ready.  We eat it.  We are still timing contractions in between everything else we're doing.  It's now 7:30 and they are about 7 minutes apart.  We sit there watching TV and I keep talking about how weird it is that we are this calm.  It's now 8:00 and they are about 4 minutes apart.  They are still pretty mild.  They are uncomfortable, but feel kind of like a period cramp.  Totally do able.  I call my Dad and give him the update.  He says it sounds like it's the real deal and it's time to head to the hospital.  Really? This is labor?  But, it's not like the movies.  I tell Marvin what my dad says and I go to finish the hospital bag.  I fix my hair a little and change into comfy "labor" clothes.  Marvin packs up the truck.  It's now 9:15PM.  

We get to the hospital.  I tell Marvin to leave all the bags in the truck because I'm scared that this isn't the real deal and I don't want to be "those" people walking into the ER with bags and pillows only to be laughed at.  I walk up to the ER help desk.  "May I help you," the woman asks.  "Ummmm....I think I am in labor, maybe?"  She seems calm, too.  "Ok, ma'am. Have a seat we'll be right with you."  Surely this can't be the real thing.  It's not like the movies.  Everyone is so calm.

We get called to a little desk where a lady makes copies of our IDs and has us sign a few papers and we get sent to L&D.  We go upstairs to the room we are assigned and eventually a nurse comes in.  She asks me what's going on and I tell her I'm having contractions.  She asks me how far apart.  I tell her about 4 minutes.  She asks me to rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10.  1 is nothing at all and 10 is I'm about to die.  Ummm, I guess a 2?  She puts the two little belts on my belly.  One is to monitor my contractions and another is for Elaina's heartrate.  She tells me she's going to watch me on the monitor at the nurses' station and tells me to press the call button if I need anything.  

She comes back a little while later and checks me. I am 50% effaced and about 1 cm.  I tell her that yesterday I had absolutely no progress.  She leaves.  

She comes back and this time tells me Dr. Brown is in the hospital and he'll be here soon.  It's about 10:30 PM now.  Dr. Brown comes in.  We talk a little.  He checks me.  About 80% effaced and almost 2 cm.  I'm still having very little pain.  Still feels like a mild period cramp.  I'm still amazed at everyone's calmness.  No one knows we are at the hospital except for my parents.  I finally have the guts to ask what I've been wondering this whole time.  "Dr. Brown, am I in labor?" He smiles and tells me I'm in early labor and I can go home or stay here. It's completely up to me.  "So, is this the real thing, though?"  He tells me that this is the real thing, but the baby won't be here for a while.  I think about it a little and decide to stay.  He tells me that he'll be back to check on me in the morning and the nurse will call him if they need him.  

The nurse and the doctor leave.  I tell Marvin to text his parents and let them know that I'm in labor, but they DO NOT need to come and we will update them when they do.  I tell Marvin to go get the bags.  It's now safe.  We are not crazy.  I'm in labor.  I call my parents and tell them the update.  I tell them I'll call them to update later.  When I get off the phone with my parents all of a sudden something happens. I AM IN PAIN.  It feels like someone is stabbing me with a million knives in the stomach.  It hurts BAD.  I panic and press the nurse's call button.  She comes in. "Are you ok," she asks.  "NO! Something is wrong. I had a sharp pain and it hurt BAD!"  She looks at me in amazement.  "You're in labor," she says. "I know, but this hurt bad."  "You're in labor," she says again.  Oh. I'm in labor.  That's why it hurts.  I see.  She leaves.  Another horrible knife pain comes.  I am no longer calm.  Marvin comes back with the bags.  He sees me in horrible pain.  "What's wrong," he asks. "I'm in labor DUH!"  

It's about midnight now.  The pain is...about a 5?  I can no longer talk through the contractions.  (Ohhhhh THIS is what my dad meant!)  No one else is allowed to talk either.  Or breathe. Or move.  Or look at me.  Or make any noise whatsoever.  By "no one else" I mean Marvin.  I tell him I want to go for a walk.  We walk the halls.  We have to stop about every 3 minutes for me to lean on him and make really embarrassing moaning noises.  I don't know why the moaning noises come, but they do. We go back to our room and I spend my time walking in between the bed and the bathroom.  I get the frequent urge to sit on the toilet.  Nothing ever happens, though.  My body just brings me in there.  

This is the cycle of a contraction: A contraction starts. It is the worse pain I've ever felt in my entire life.  It hurts BAD. I moan through it.  I think I'm going to die.  Move and sway.  Try to get comfortable.  It goes away after a about a minute or so.  As soon as it goes away I think to myself: "hey, that wasn't that bad." Then it starts again and it's UNBEARABLE pain and I'm going to die and then it ends and I think it wasn't that bad.  I guess this is your body's defense mechanism?  Just a few seconds after the contraction is over, I forget what it feels like.  In between contractions I feel normal. 

Marvin is being a real tropper. It's about 2 AM and he is trying to help.  He rubs my back and tells me he loves me and asks what he can do.  He does some of this during a contraction which PISSES ME OFF.  During a contraction you are supposed to freeze like a statue.  Eventually, I am in so much pain and I want to be left alone so badly that when he asks what he can do, I SCREAM at him. "GO TO SLEEP NOW!!!!" He looks at me confused.  "No, I want to help.  What can I do?  Just tell me what to do." Again, I scream.  "GO TO SLEEP NOWWW!"  He lays on the sorry-excuse for a fold out bed and tells me to let him know if I need him. He lays there and pretends to sleep for the next 2 hours.  That's love.  Eventually he really does fall asleep. 

It's now around 5 or 6 in the morning.  Marvin is for-real sleeping and I am exhausted. I haven't slept at all. Except for about every 2 minutes in between contractions.  Who even knew that was possible?  I get up and go to sit in the rocker.  I rock and moan and rock and moan.  This crap hurts. Bad.  

There's a knock on the door.  That's weird.  The nurse doesn't knock.  It's Marvin's mom.  She happens to knock and enter the room when I am smack dab in the middle of a contraction.  She tries talking to me.  I cannot speak.  I am in excruciating pain.  I yell for Marvin to wake up so he can talk to her.  He wakes up.  She says and I QUOTE "I brought some snacks and a Dr. Pepper for you, Marvin."  I love my mother-in-law dearly, but at this point I want to punch her in the face.  She puts the food on the table, her and Marvin talk outside the door and she leaves.  Marvin doesn't have a death wish so he leaves the bag of food alone.  He does not inspect it or eat it.  He pretends it doesn't exist.  

The hours pass and nothing interesting happens.  I have contractions about 2 minutes apart.  I moan through them.  The nurse comes in sometimes to talk to me and she doesn't wait for the contraction to be over.  I hate her for this.  I want the world to STOP when I'm having a contraction.  At about 9AM IN BETWEEN CONTRACTIONS (aka the only acceptable time for conversation to happen) I tell Marvin to let his parents and sisters know they may come to the hospital and sit in the waiting room should they wish.  He tells my parents the same.  

I do not want anyone else in the world to know I'm in labor.  I don't need an audience at the hospital.  This crap hurts.  I don't want to talk to my husband much less see anyone else.  This isn't a party.  It's LABOR.  

My parents show up.  They come in the room.  My dad checks out the strip of paper and the little machine we're hooked up to.  During a contraction he watches me and the screen.  When the contraction is over (thank you) he tells me that things look great and Elaina's heartrate increases during a contraction and how great that is.  Alot of babies' heart rates decrease, he says.  I don't know why, but this makes me feel so glad that she's ok. I realize that I was worried about her up until that point.

Dr. Brown comes in and checks me.  I'm 6 cm dilated.  He tells me he's going to break my water and it's going to hurt worse after that.  He asks me if I want an epidural.  This is the first time someone says that word and this is the first time I even remember those things exist.  Up until this point, I've been in really horrible pain, but I was just trying to survive through the pain.  I wasn't thinking about "stopping" the pain.  I assumed when she was born it would stop.  I am way too into the words "hurt worse" to focus on the words "I'm going to break your water".  Now, as a normal functioning human being, I would've said "why".  And I would've questioned whether breaking my water was really necessary.  But, it's hard to have a conversation when you have to stop every two minutes.  I think for a while.  I decide I can't even imagine what "hurt worse" will feel like.  I want an epidural.  

The anesthesiologist comes in and he did not get the memo that the world should stop when a contraction starts.  The nurse tells me to slouch over to get into position so he can insert the needle.  A contraction is starting.  The slouching position is kind-of-sort-of comfortable (all things considered).  This is the first position I've tried since labor started that felt natural to me.  I'm now pissed that I didn't try the slouch position before.  I wonder if I should make him stop and just labor in this slouch position.  I say nothing.  I get the epidural.  Getting the epidural does not hurt.

After a little while I am numb.  I start to cry because I can't feel my lower half and I feel like I'm not in control of my body.  Marvin comes over to comfort me.  When I'm done crying he tells me that my breath is horrible.  It's now 12:00 in the afternoon and I've been awake all night and I forgot to brush my teeth in between contractions.  I am paralyzed so he brings me a tooth brush and a cup of water.  I brush my teeth in the bed.  People are allowed to come into the room now.  By "people" I mean our immediate families.  Still, no one else knows I'm in labor.  My mother-in-law comes in and my parents do, too.  They hang out for a little while. The nurse checks me. I am at 8.  I ask her to turn down the epidural.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I can't feel anything and I want to be able to push when the time comes.  She comes back about 30 minutes later.  I'm at 10.  It's time to push.  What?  Are you sure?  But, this isn't like the movies.  I'm just chilling.  

The doctor comes in.  He is ready to go in his astronaut gear.  Marvin and my parents are allowed to be in the room.  Yes, I allowed my dad to be in the room.  I didn't care that he's a man.  I didn't care that he is my dad.  He is an OBGYN and I felt a sense of security knowing he knew the medical side of what was going on and he was present.  

Marvin holds my right leg and the nurse holds my left.  She touches my stomach and tells me that she'll let me know when I'm having a contraction and that I should bear down like I'm having a bowel movement.  She tells me they're going to count to 10 and I can stop when they get to 10.  I feel the contraction.  I tell her to move her hand, I can feel when the contractions are coming.  I don't feel them in a painful way, though.  I feel them in a stomach-tightening way.  It feels kind of like a Braxton Hicks contraction. 

I push.  They count.  Dr. Brown tells me that I pushed perfectly and I just need to do that again next time.  We wait for another contraction.  I push again.  When I'm done pushing I ask Dr. Brown what he's going to do if he sees that I'm about to tear.  Will he cut me or let me tear naturally?  He asks which I want him to do.  I tell him I don't know.  I don't want to tear.  He tells me he'll let me know if he thinks it's about to happen and we can decide.

Another contraction comes.  I push.  Dr. Brown tells Marvin to look.  Marvin looks.  Marvin smiles from ear-to-ear. "I can see her HEAD!!" The contraction is over.  I ask him what it looks like. Can he tell what color her hair is?  Dr. Brown says he thinks it's light.  I'm amazed.  I want to see!  Another contraction comes, Marvin is counting and watching and Dr. Brown is telling me to push, push, push.  Her head is coming out this time, he says. Marvin is cheering like his favorite team is about to score the game winning goal. "Go! Go! Go! Go!!!!"  Her head is out.  I can't believe it.  The look on Marvin's face is like he just won the lottery.  Dr. Brown tells me to push hard and then stop. Elaina is born.  She's out.  Marvin cuts the cord.  She looks SO BLUE.  Dr. Brown holds her up next to the clock so my mom can take a picture. He passes her off the to nurse who cleans her off.

Elaina starts to cry.  The few seconds between her exit and her cry seem like an eternity.  I have never been more glad to hear a sound in my life.  This is the first and last time that her cry makes me happy.  She is beautiful.  She has light hair.  How is that possible?  She is perfect.  The nurse takes what seems like forever to clean her off.  I tell her to hurry up and put her on my chest.  I don't care about being polite.  This is the beginning of a trend that will play out again and again.  When it comes to Elaina, I don't care if I hurt your feelings.  I need her by me and safe.  I don't care that you want to hold her.  I don't care that you want to see her.  I don't care.  I want my baby by me.  I want to be left alone to feed her and take care of her.  I would be perfectly happy if everyone left us completely alone for the next 5 months.  

While the nurse is finishing off the cleaning, I ask my mom if I pooped.  I didn't.  I expected to.  I ask everyone if I ripped.  I didn't.  I expected to.

Ana Elaina Vallette was born at 2:30PM on October 23, 2010.  She weighed 6lbs 1 oz and was 19.5 inches long. 

Dr. Brown and a blue Elaina 

I've never been so happy.

My sisters-in-law, Marvin and I in amazement of Elaina.  I love this picture. We were watching her as the nurse dressed her. (Hurry up)




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Part Three: You Need a Groomer

You'll need help shaving.....down there.  Yeah.  I said it.  Now, I don't know your grooming preferences, but if you do any sort of "down there" grooming you're going to need help. This DEFINITELY wasn't in the pregnancy book.

Why?  Why will you need help?  Well, because there will come a point in time that you will no longer be able to see your lady bits over/around your belly.  No amount of bending or angles will help you.  You'll need another human being to scope out the situation.

What do I mean by 'help'?  I mean you'll have to stand while someone bends down and shaves you.  Accept it. 

I know someone out there is thinking "wait, no....I'm SURE I'll be able to do it myself."  You're probably the SAME person who won't get fat when you get pregnant either.  Wink wink.  Trust me.  I am very flexible.  My belly was actually relatively small with my first pregnancy, and yet my husband had to help me.  I mean COULD I have done it myself?  I guess.  But, I would've probably put myself into labor trying and ended up with the ugliest patch work you've ever seen.

Your balance is already off when you're pregnant and for pregnant-shaving there needs to be a mirror involved and a leg raised high and a head bending down.  You could fall.  You will hurt your back (more than it already hurts) and you could very likely slice a piece of your lady bits off.  Even if you manage to do it yourself (there's no way) you will have the craziest looking arrangement going on down there after. There's no way you'll do a good job. 

I would hope that you feel comfortable asking your husband for help. Please remember that this is YOUR HUSBAND. That means he's the man you're going to spend the rest of your life with.  You are aware of what "the rest of your life" will entail, right? The good, the bad, the ugly. You picked this man to be your life partner. Life ain't always pretty!

Now, let's deviate a little.  There are women who have to wait until their husband leaves the house to use the bathroom.  (Hello stomach ache!)  These women have NEVER passed gas in front of their husband.  They're the SAME women who are all "stay by my head during labor, I don't want you to see 'down there'".  I do not understand these women.  I just don't get it.  I find that exhausting.  Having to hold things back and "watch" what you do in front of the man who is going to be there EVERY DAY for the rest of your life.  It gives me anxiety just thinking about it.  

During labor, my doctor had to ask Marvin to move his head so he could see what was going on. Not really, but you get the point. Marvin watched everything happen. He didn't stay by my head, because his DAUGHTER was being BORN and he wanted to see.  If what he saw was disturbing or gross, he surely didn't let on. He had a smile from ear to ear. He was cheering for me to push and telling me "she's riiiiiiiight there, I can see her hair, you're doing great." His excitement is what made pushing so easy.

If your husband wants to stay by your head because he is squeamish, then you get a pass. But, if you just want your husband to stay by your head because you don't want him to "see".....I do not understand you.  You do remember how you got pregnant in the first place, right? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Talk

We've been looking at the glass half empty lately. So, in an effort to be more positive (ha!) here are....

Ten AWESOME Things You Might Not Know About Pregnancy:

1-Your nails will look magical. I'm one of those gals who always has to have nail polish on my nails. Ask my friends! They'll tell you some of their fondest memories of me are sleepovers that included at-home manicures. I don't just always have nail polish covering my nails cause it looks nails are UGLY! The white part is kind of naturally yellowish (cute, huh?). Anyway, when you get pregnant something magical happens and your nails are strong and white and beautiful! 

2-Your sex drive will go through the roof. (It might go away completely, but we're trying to be positive here, so....) Consult your husband on why this is an "awesome thing".

3-You won't have to worry about how your stomach looks in clothes. I don't know about you, but I have a small obsession with making sure my stomach looks flat in my clothes. Any pooches or "bloat" and I'm going into hiding that day. Well, pregnancy means you're going to have a pooch. It's expected. People assume it's the baby. No more sucking in!

4-Your boobs get HUGE! (Again, if you already have big boobs this will suck, but in the spirit of positivity....)

5-Your husband will give you foot rubs. Now, there are some husbands who do not give foot rubs to their pregnant wives. This means they don't REALLY understand pregnancy. How do you fix this? You make him sit through every chapter in the baby book and every pregnancy email you get. He must come to EVERY doctor's appointment. You must complain about every thing you are feeling. If that does not start the foot rubs, please move on to divorce. Does that sound a little extreme? Well, it should. A foot rub is not a lot to ask in return for hosting that man's baby and (eventually) pushing it out of your vagina.

6-Food just TASTES better. You'll get this sudden deep, deep NEED for some type of delicious sounding food. Your mouth will water just thinking about it, and then when you try it, it tastes JUST as good as you imagined....if not better.  I mean, not yucky food. And, what you consider "yucky" will change. But, again, we're getting off topic.

10-You get a BABY at the end. This is without a doubt the absolute best part of pregnancy--duh! I could write three pages on how awesome it will be when you finally meet your little nugget. Your heart literally GROWS (look it up, I'm sure it's scientific fact or something) and you fall in love instantly! It makes EVERYTHING worth it! 

(For those keeping track, you may have noticed that we jumped from 6 to 10... that's because I could not think of three more positive things about pregnancy. I spent three days writing this particular post. I was waiting for happy pregnancy thoughts to "come to me", but then I went to a wedding and my back hurt and everyone was skinny and gorgeous and my tailbone was throbbing and I was TIRED.)

What is your favorite part of pregnancy?