Sunday, January 30, 2011

Motherhood so far...

Motherhood so far has been beyond anything I expected. I'm more tired than I expected to be, but functioning better than I expected. My husband is more supportive than I ever could have dreamed. He rocks her and gets up every time I feed her. He takes care of me and lets me sleep or nap even when he's just as exhausted. He loves our little girl something fierce and it melts my heart to watch them together!

Audrey is a great baby for the most part. She nurses every 3-4 hours at night and every 2-3 hours during the day. She hates having her diaper changed, which I think has a lot to do with the diaper rash we just can't get to go away. We're cloth diapering, changing her often and have tried A&D and Desitin. It doesn't seem to be getting any worse, but it's not getting any better either.

But today, what's most on my mind is the myth that you're instantly in love with your baby the second he or she is born. Let me preface this with the statement that I am not depressed - I have actually never been more content and at home with my role in this life. But I think it's an important issue to address because as new moms we have too many unrealistic expectations that we hold ourselves to. We are all different. Our babies are all different. Other moms should tell us this. We should encourage and support each other, not put on a happy, ideal facade.

For me, with my previous losses, I don't think I allowed myself to fully bond with Audrey while I was pregnant with her. Though the farther along I got, the more I relaxed I became, it was always in the back of my mind that I might lose her too. I think this is a factor in how I felt when she was born, but not the entire reason.

The moment Audrey was born and they put her on my stomach, I was relieved that she was here, that she was safe. Relief was the predominant emotion I felt, not love. I loved her, of course, but I wasn't in love with her. The love I did feel wasn't that overwhelming love that you hear parents talk about, that love I feel for her now. It was a surreal moment. For me, it was almost as if it didn't feel like she was mine (despite the 3 hours of pushing I had just endured!)

But you see, it's like any other relationship. You don't know this child yet and your child doesn't know you. It takes time to develop that relationship, to get to know one another, to bond. You wouldn't expect to instantly develop a friendship or fall in love with a stranger, and you shouldn't place that unrealistic expectation on yourself regarding your child.

The bond will form though. You will fall in love once it all sinks in. For me, it happened late at night while she was nursing. She looked up at me, wide awake and at that moment, looking into her eyes, I couldn't imagine loving anyone more. She was ours. She was the product of the love my husband and I share. I had the ability to nourish her. All the toys and "things" we were given for her weren't necessary. All she really needs is the milk I am able to provide for her and our love.

And that bond continues to grow and develop. She recognizes our voices. Looks for us when she hears us. Stops crying when one of us holds her and comforts her. She knows we will protect her and love her. And despite how surreal it all seems, she is ours. We are watching our new family develop. We are feeling our love for her grow. Feeling our love for each other grow and change.

For me, she was nursing when I really felt our connection. For you? You may be singing to him, or rocking her, or watching your significant other with him. Like everything else in this life, everyone's experience is different. There is no set time line. For you it may be a minute or an hour, for someone else it may be a week or a month.

Don't hold yourself to this unrealistic expectation that the feeling is instantaneous. It is the one thing I am grateful I was told before she was born. I can only imagine the guilt I might have felt or the depression that might have followed if I thought I didn't love my daughter enough, quickly enough.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Audrey - 1 Month


I can't believe that you are one month old already. Since you were born, it feels as though we have entered some kind of time warp and the days go by much too quickly! I can already feel the end of my maternity leave creeping up on me and I'm dreading leaving you, but I'm trying to enjoy you while I can and soak everything in!

You are already growing like a weed! Your one month check-up isn't until Monday, but I know you've gained weight because I had to pack away all of your newborn clothes. Some things you wore only once!

You hate having your diaper changed and you especially hate the bath tub. Daddy and I resorted to taking you right in the shower with us and you don't cry at all. We think you like the warm water constantly running over you.
Every day you become more and more alert. You're looking around, cooing and even smiling. Your favorite thing to look at seems to be ceiling fans, whether they are on or not. You hate the swing, but LOVE your bouncy seat! If Mommy or Daddy could bounce you on the ball or in that seat 24/7, you would be the happiest baby ever.

You have been nursing great and have had your days and nights all figured out for the most part since you were born which Mommy and Daddy are extremely grateful for! You, of course, have your exceptions, but you sleep 3 hour stretches and will go right back down after you are changed and fed.

You had your first of many road trips to Grammy and Grampy's last week and did so great! You slept the whole car ride both ways! You got to meet lots of your crazy family and friends and they spoiled you with lots of love and cuddling.
Speaking of cuddling, YOU'RE A PRO! Momma loves this because she's a cuddler too. :) You're not fond of the infant cradle hold, and would much rather be upright and snuggled into someone's chest.

You look so much like your Momma did when she was a baby, but there are times when I look at you and definitely see your Daddy. No matter who you look like, you are absolutely beautiful and precious, and we could spend all day looking at you and taking pictures of you.

You have changed our lives already and our hearts are just bursting with love and pride. We're looking forward to everything this next month will bring and love you so much sweet girl!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Audrey's Birth Story

Audrey is almost 2 weeks old and I'm just getting around to posting her birth story. This is going to be pretty long, but I want to make sure I document it before the details start to fade. Feel free to read, or not.

For the first time, my husband and I spent Christmas alone. We live almost 3 hours from our families, and with a due date of January 5th, we didn't want to take a chance that I would go into labor on the road, or 3 hours away from the hospital and doctors we were comfortable with. I was convinced she was going to be late, but I still didn't want to risk it. So Christmas day was quiet, just the two of us, but I will forever look back on this Christmas as one of my favorites because we spent the day enjoying one another, enjoying one of our last days together before we became a family of three.

On Sunday, my family came down to visit us and we went out to brunch. I was feeling some pressure that morning but just assumed it had to do with being 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. We were expecting a snow storm (20 inches!) so the family left by around 4pm. My dad was scheduled to have back surgery Monday morning, so they were staying at a hotel near the hospital he would be in, about an hour away from our apartment. That evening I had a few contractions, but nothing in a regular pattern or for a consistent period of time. Not feeling very well, I went to bed early, anxious for my scheduled doctor's appointment in the morning.

I started having consistent contractions about 2am Monday morning. I got up and went in the other room and timed them for about an hour before waking up my hubby. At that point they were 4-6 minutes apart and about 40 seconds long. We both decided that I should try to get some sleep, but by 4:30am I got up and started timing them again. They were 2-4 minutes apart and 50-60 seconds long between 4:30am and 6:30am when I finally fell back to sleep.

I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment at 9:30am but the office was closed and it was canceled because of the snow storm. About 1pm the contractions were still coming consistently so we called and they had us go to the hospital to be checked. I was only 2 cm dilated at that point but they kept me at the hospital because of the storm.

We walked our own little path into the hallways of the maternity ward trying to get things moving and bounced on the birth ball. My contractions were still coming consistently, but not getting stronger or closer together.

That night the nurses and my husband talked me into taking Nubain to help me sleep because I hadn't slept much the night before. This is the only part of the birth that I regret. I didn't want it and I should have stuck up for myself, but I was exhausted. In my exhaustion, I thought it couldn't hurt to get some sleep because I had a lot of work ahead of me. Instead of helping me sleep, all it did was make my mind feel very alert and awake, but my body feel drugged. It did nothing for the discomfort of the contractions and I didn't actually fall asleep until it wore off. The exact opposite of what they were trying to achieve.

At 5am Tuesday morning, December 28th, I had been having good strong contractions for about an hour so they checked me and I was 4cm. At 9am the doctor checked me again and I was 5-6cm. We walked a lot more, but my contractions had slipped back to 5-6 minutes apart and were less intense. At 1:30pm when the doctor checked me I was still 6 cm.

At this point, the doctor suggested either starting some Pitocin or breaking my water to make my contractions more productive. Trying to have as natural a labor as possible, I opted for having my water broken. I figured it could happen naturally on it's own, so it wouldn't be as drastic as the Pitocin.

After that, everything went downhill quickly. The contractions got so intense, so fast, I felt very out of control of my body. I couldn't relax. I couldn't breathe through them. I believe I can be quoted as saying, "Breathing is bullshit!" I kept feeling like I had to push and couldn't control my body. It felt like I was convulsing, doubling over with every contraction. 

The nurse said that if I wanted the epidural I would need to get it now. Still wanting to have a natural birth, she walked away, giving my husband and I a minute to talk about it. I was hesitant, but then another contraction came and I was begging my mom to go get the nurse and get me the epidural.

Because I felt like I had to push, the doctor checked me again and I was 8cm at 1:45pm, just 15 minutes after he broke my water. I was begging for the epidural at that point and was so afraid that there wasn't enough time left. The anesthesiologist was there before I knew it, explaining things that I wasn't listening to as fast as he could. He got it in so fast that I could have kissed the man. I had been so afraid of the needle and the process of getting the epidural, but I honestly don't remember feeling anything but instant relief. It wasn't even close to as bad as I was expecting it to be.

It was now 2pm and the doctor suggested I sit up for half an hour to get her moving down. At 2:30pm I started pushing. The epidural was nothing like I expected, and though I didn't feel pain, I felt all the pressure and even had some movement in my legs. I couldn't feel myself pushing as much as I would have liked, but the nurse and doctor said I was pushing perfectly. The problem was, she just wouldn't come out. After 2 1/2 hours of pushing, I started to get scared that I would need a c-section. Instead, I ended up with an episiotomy and a 2nd degree tear and the doctor had to use the vacuum, but she finally came out at 5:30pm after 3 hours of pushing!

They put her right on my belly and I had her skin to skin for the first 15 minutes before they cleaned her or anything. Looking down at her, I couldn't believe that she was finally here. We tried to get her to nurse right away, which with the skin to skin time, I think has made a world of difference. She's been latching on great and nursing like a champ!

While she was on my belly, my husband and I were able to look at her and decided that her name would be Audrey Ann-Marie. They took her to clean her up and weigh her, and then brought her back to me all wrapped up. She weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 inches long. My mom and grandparents were there and were able to meet her just an hour or so after she was born, and my sister and brother-in-law came from the hospital where they were with my dad, to see her that night.

The epidural took a lot longer to wear off in my right leg than my left, and I had some swelling around my eyes from pushing so hard for so long, but overall I didn't have much discomfort at all after she was born.

If I had made an ideal birth plan, Audrey's birth would have been nothing like it. I was so happy that I went into it with ideals but an open mind. My husband was the most amazing coach and was so supportive of me and any decision I made. He really kept me going when I thought I couldn't push any more, and I really don't think I could have done it without him. And of course, she's here now, healthy and cute as can be, so that's all that really matters in my mind.

Your Daddy and I wanted you and loved you before you were even conceived. Your birth wasn't perfect, but nothing in this world is. And as in life, nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but it does happen just as it is meant to. You are our little miracle, the answer to all of our prayers. We love you so much sweetheart and can't wait to experience the world through your eyes.
Love Always,

Sunday, January 2, 2011


...she's just too darn cute not to share...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ten years ago last night, I kissed this boy for the first time at a New Year's Eve party. As I drove home with my friends, they all thought I was crazy. But from that night on, we were pretty much inseparable. That boy became my best friend, eventually the man I would marry, and now the father of our 4 day old daughter.

This man is my exact opposite and at the same time, my absolute perfect match. I am so very grateful for the past ten years and everything we have experienced together. It hasn't always been easy, but every experience has helped us develop the relationship we have today.

2011 is here and I know there are so many amazing experiences ahead of us this year as we begin to see the world through our daughter's eyes. There hasn't been a New Year yet that I have looked forward to with so much excitement and anticipation.

Wishing you all nothing but the best in 2011!