Archive for November, 2010

Making a list and checking it twice- November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I’m not a “Type A”.  I don’t make lists.  I never get thank you notes out on time.  I write things on the calendar simply so I don’t forget, but overall I’m more of the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type.  I’m responsible, just not super organized.  

Charlotte is 4 weeks old today.  We’re getting into a routine with feedings, diaper changes, walks, and baths.  I’ve “slept when the baby sleeps” and all that jazz.  But, I have more energy and now I want to get things done as the holidays approach.  
However, I’ve learned that everything takes longer with a baby.  Everything.  Going somewhere requires more time, more planning, and more stuff.  Watching a show on the DVR takes longer than the actual show, even if you can fast-forward through the commercials because we have to stop for impromptu “baby duty.”  
With things taking longer, I need to get organized.  I want to make the most of my time on maternity leave before going back to work.  It’s already gone by SO FAST!  So, I’m making a list and posting it on the Internet to hold myself accountable.  
These are things I need to get done…
  1. Organize clothes in my upstairs and downstairs closets.  
  2. Finish thank-you notes.  See, I told you.
  3. Make the “family calendar” for Christmas.  I make a calendar for my extended family with birthdays, anniversaries, and everyone’s picture.  It is an ordeal to get it done every year.
  4. Christmas shop and wrap.  Go shopping?  Oh, okay.  Twist my arm!
  5. Blog, blog, blog!  I truly love doing this.  I gotta change my layout and transition from pregnancy blog to baby blog.  Dare I switch to WordPress?  Hmm…I dunno.  I got a lot on my plate so I may stick with the simplicity of Blogger for now. 
  6. Birth announcements and Christmas cards.  Hello Post Office, we’ll be seeing a lot of each other this holiday season.
  7. Hang out with my other new mom friends.  Charlotte has a lot of other babies to meet who were all born within a few weeks/months of her.  We’ve already made lunch dates!  
  8. Be with Charlotte.  She is first.  As much as I want pristine closets and cute birth announcements, I’m NOT gonna miss a moment of watching my newborn baby grow.  I only get this time with her once. 
“Hey Mama!  Turn off the computer and snuggle with me.”

Supermarket Sweep- November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Charlotte and I made our first trip to the grocery store last week.  We needed to get supplies to eat batter and pie filling make Thanksgiving pies.  Plus, some staples were dwindling after home cooked meals from family and friends were eaten up.

My mom always told me how when I was a baby she would put me in the produce scale at the local Piggly Wiggly.  I was anxious to carry on this charmingly redneck tradition.  Plus, my baby gets heavier everyday!  (7lbs. 13ozs. at birth, 8lbs. 2 oz. at two weeks.  At 3+ weeks she could be at 9lbs!)

I’m “Big on the Pig!”  Okay, not really.  There’s not even one in Raleigh anymore.  It’s now a cafe and gift shop.  Naturally I went somewhere now yuppie that was formerly hippie.

I tucked Charlotte in her car seat and off we went to Trader Joe’s.  Mom called as I was on the way and I told her where I was going.  She asked if I had brought my Moby Wrap. (That thing has been a godsend in the first few weeks!)  Mom was skeptical when I told her I was just going to keep her in car seat and put her in the front part of the cart.  I smiled as she then re-told me the Piggly Wiggly story.
Mom had reason to be skeptical.  The seat didn’t fit correctly in the front of the cart and she was too small for the carts with the baby seats attached, so I had to put her and the whole car seat in the large part of the cart.  I wheeled her in, an ameteur mom, feeling quite foolish. 
I looked up and saw a mom with a baby a few months older sitting in one of the carts with the baby seats.  I flagged down this total stranger and asked her about how the whole car-seat-in-the-cart thing works.  I explained that it was our first shopping trip.  I think the desperation on my face told her that.  She was very kind and we tried some different manuvers to fit the seat in the front of the cart to no avail.  I thanked her and smiled sheepishly as I laughed about how I would just have to put the groceries around her.  She gave me a knowing smile that said “Don’t worry.  It gets easier.”

Charlotte and I made it work.  I doubled over in laughter when I saw my tiny baby tucked in with the deli meat and bananas.

We got home and toasted many other mother-daughter shopping trips with some milk.  Trader Joe’s didn’t have a produce scale, but she felt about as heavy as the bag of flour for our pies.  

A thankful kind of weekend- November 28, 2010

Monday, November 29th, 2010

My apologies for my absence, and my apologies for writing this obligatory “I’m so thankful” Thanksgiving blog post.  We have been traveling for the holiday.  I’m exhausted after our travels and have been keeping up with Charlotte’s newborn schedule so I’ll keep it short.  I’ll also keep it short so as not to nauseate you too much, but it was truly wonderful.

It was the kind of weekend with bibs and socks that are way too big…

It was the kind of weekend with naps after Black Friday shopping during football games…
It was the kind of weekend with four generations in one picture…
“Thankful” doesn’t even describe the feeling.  Happy Thanksgiving.  

30 day tag- November 22, 2010

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

When I got the “Baby Jeep” in 2005 it was the first new car I had ever owned.  I kept the thing pristine and wouldn’t let anyone eat or drink in it.  (Needless to say things have changed after 5 years, hundreds of latte runs, and thousands of dog hairs.)  I remember being sad when I got my license plate in the mail.  I no longer needed my 30 day tags.  Yeah, it looks weird.  It’s a piece of cardboard.  But, nothing says “I have a brand new car” like rolling with 30 day tags.
I’m thinking of getting this permanent vanity plate.  J/K!
When I was feeding Charlotte Friday morning and I lifted her up to burp her I had the same sad feeling. Well, I had a range of emotions within seconds…

Horror at the sight of blood from my child.
Panic as I yelled for Greyson.
Disgust at the pus on her belly.
Sadness when I saw her little umbilical cord had fallen off.
I called the pediatrician and they had me bring her in to take a look at it because it was still draining and looked icky.  The doctor put some silver nitrate on it to dry it up and keep it from getting infected.  She had a Band-Aid on her belly most of the weekend.  Charlotte was 2 1/2 weeks and the doctor said it was fine for it to fall off then.  She said it was completely normal and it didn’t look infected.  I felt relief at that point. She told me to just keep an eye on it and keep cleaning it.  

I was a little sad.  My mama brain said, “My baby is growing up so fast!”  My logical brain said, “Good, that thing was gross and now we can give her a real bath.  Too bad I didn’t wait until next week for her newborn photo shoot.”  (There are some shots the photographer got last week where she may have to Photoshop out the cord.  I’ll have pics later this week!)  As silly as it is, I was a little sad.  I wake up in the morning and she looks bigger than she did the night before.  Everyday she looks a little different.  It’s amazing and thrilling and I look forward to every phase.  But, I’m just trying to soak up every moment in this newborn phase.

That little stump was kind of her 30 day tag.  Yeah, it looked weird.  It was purple and crusty.  But, nothing says “I have a newborn” like a scabby belly button.

I put the cord stump in a Ziploc baggie to show the doctor just in case.  She asked me if I wanted to keep it.  I said, “For what?”  She proceeded to tell me parents keep it for sentimental value.  Eeeewwww!  What!?  I told her we could just toss it.  Come to think of it, I threw out the 30 day tag too.  I guess it didn’t really mean that much after all.

Our Birth Story- November 17, 2010

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Fall has always been my favorite season.  Maybe because it’s so short, you only have a few weeks in North Carolina after the summer humidity wanes to feel the crispness.  Fall means football.  It means sweaters and boots.  Fall means the holidays are coming.  A new year is on the way.  Fall is full of anticipation.  Especially Fall 2010.

The day had arrived!

Through the hospital window I could see some of our little city.  The sun was shining through the leaves.  Most of them had started turning yellow and red by the morning of November 2.  I had my heart set on October, but now now that it was November it felt right.  No one else in our family had been born in November.  It was going to be her month.

Monday, November 1 the OB agreed to let me be induced.  It was the world’s biggest relief.  I was done.  I didn’t sleep much at all that night.  I had planned to set the alarm for 5:00am.  Rex Hospital was supposed to call between 6:00am and 8:00am to tell us when we could come in.  Greyson said to just try to sleep as long as we could and let them wake us up.  I agreed, and then instantly regretted it when they called us right at 6:00am and asked us to be there at 7:15am.  But, it wasn’t like we needed to pack.  That had been done ten times over.  We quickly showered and I ate my “last meal”.  Just some toast with peanut butter and milk.  They told me to eat light in case I puked.  Surely I would puke.  I was the car sick kid.  I’m the woman who feels sick getting blood drawn.
I had planned this amazing last moment in the house before Greyson and I left for the hospital.  I knew when we returned the whole house would have changed.  I thought we would pray, and cry.  But, frankly we are who we are, and we were running late.  Greyson was practically pushing my round, weepy body out the door as I kissed Ginger goodbye and took a longing look at our two person home for the last time.  I still wanted my moment though.  Crying, I asked Greyson to stop as he pulled out of the driveway.  I sobbed out a little prayer for a safe delivery and successful transition into parenthood.  He was very sweet to listen to my blubbering for a few seconds before stepping on the gas.  We wouldn’t be parents today if we didn’t hurry up.  
He dropped me off and went to park the car.  I went up to the labor and delivery waiting room.  An episode of “Saved By The Bell” was on the TV.  I took a moment to enjoy Zack’s antics waiting for Greyson and the nurse.  I didn’t sit.  I figured I’d be down for awhile.  I wanted to stand up.  Greyson came to find me standing, laughing at Screech.  Then a pleasant middle aged woman introduced herself and said, “Let’s have your baby today!”  Let’s do it.
Let’s labor, baby!
In the labor and delivery room I took my final pregnant pictures and got in the gown.  I was Beta Strep positive so I had to get the IV of antibiotics.  After all the needles the Pitocin started at 10:00am.  We settled in for what the doctor said would be a very long day.  I was “starting at square one” the nurse said.  As you all know, I don’t talk about my cervix on the Internet.  “Square one” is a good way to describe where I was at.  You get the drift.  I hadn’t had any painful Braxton Hicks contractions during my pregnancy so I didn’t know what to expect.  I watched contractions come and go for the next hour as the little ticker tape spit out my progress.  It hurt, but not too bad.  I read the newspaper as Greyson downloaded new games on his iPhone.  He ran and got some lunch.  It was gonna be a long day, or so we thought.  
A couple hours of ice chips and daytime television later, IT HURT!  DEAR GOD!  All women since the dawn of humanity weren’t kidding.  It really did hurt, and it didn’t stop.  There was less and less time between each wave of pain.  Greyson was impressed I continued to correctly answer trivia questions on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” through contractions.  The nurse told me when you induce labor with Pitocin often there is shorter time between contractions than with natural labor.  They aren’t just faster, but also stronger.  I would’ve liked that knowledge beforehand, thank you.  Maybe it will be a question on “Millionaire” soon.  I’ll get it right. 
Uncomfortably numb.  
When I couldn’t take it anymore they offered the epidural.  I didn’t accept it right away.  I mean, I had only been contracting a few hours.  Had I suffered the pains of labor long enough?  Would this slow down progress they already said would be slow?  Was I really paying my dues as I made this womanly right of passage?  The doctor and the nurse looked at me like I was insane.  A little while later I decided I was indeed being insane and all that was really stupid.  I concluded I would be no less a woman for taking quality, medically-safe pain relief when it was offered.  Plus, it FREAKING HURT!
I had never been so happy to see a guy in scrubs as I was when I saw the Anesthesiologist.  I couldn’t even tell you what he looked like really, just a blur in scrubs with a Blackberry.  But, I do remember him talking on his Blackberry.  “I really hate these new catheters.  They are not working as well,” he said.  Wait, what?  The tube you’re going to insert in my spine isn’t the one you’re used to?  Fantastic.  I braced myself anyway.  The nurse held on to me and I felt the sting of the needle in my back.  (Which by-the-way was nothing compared to all the other pain.  Don’t be afraid of that, it was no sweat.)  They waited the proper 10 minutes to see if if worked.  Umm…no.  It still hurt.  They gave me a big ol’ dose of the numbing stuff.  My legs started to tingle.  Tingle…a few minutes…tingle….numb.  My legs were no longer mine.  But, I could still feel contractions in my abdomen.  Fantastic.  This would be great if the baby came out the bottom of my foot, but let me assure you that’s not where it comes out.  The Anesthesiologist came back blaming the new catheters.  They had to take out the epidural and do it again.  He apologized profusely.  I think I said, “Dude, I don’t care, just fix it.”  They did.  Fantastic.  I was comfortable, but had no use of my legs.  Apparently you should have some feeling in your legs.  Not me.  I felt terrible for the nurse having to move me around.   My heart went out to every paraplegic.  
Push it!
Thank God I got the epidural when I did.  Otherwise, it would’ve been too late.  I really wanted it so I could rest.  I just wanted to take a nap.  When I was finally comfortable, the look on Greyson’s face was that of total relief.  I wasn’t aware of it at the time but, he really was very worried and upset when I was in pain.  I was relieved because he was relieved.  The doctor told me to rest up.  She left and I fell asleep.

About 45 minutes later the nurse woke me up to check my progress.  Her eyes got really big and her mouth dropped open.  “Wow!  Good job,” she said.  “You’re ready to go.”  “Excuse me?” I replied.  “You’re ready to have this baby.”  I looked at Greyson.  I looked back at her.  “You mean to push?”  (No Amy, to pull.  Yes to push, genius.)  The doctor came in to tell me she was leaving and the next doctor would probably be delivering my baby.  The nurse stopped her and told her the news.  After a double check and equally surprised look on the doctor’s face, she was gearing up to deliver our child.  I wasn’t sure whether to feel like an overachiever or a cheater.  You hear the term “going from 0 to 10″.  That was pretty much me, and I did it in .75 hours.

They call labor “labor” for a reason.  Even with an epidural, it’s work.  Pushing was tough work.  We started at 4:00pm.  Greyson and I had “Modern Family” on DVD playing in the room.  The volume was low, but I enjoyed a little smile every now and then between pushes when I glanced up at the the screen and saw the antics of the Dunphys.  Dads are a big part of delivery at our hospital.  They help support one of your legs.  The nurse has the other.  In my case, Greyson was a huge help to the nurse because I had absolutely no use of my legs.  When they told me to grab the backs of my knees to push, it felt like someone else’s legs.  That’s how dead they were.

As for my abdomen and pelvis, I wasn’t in pain, but I could feel enough to push.  I could feel what was happening to my body and where her body was.  I could feel my baby differently from how I had felt her during the rest of pregnancy.  It was bizarre and thrilling, and for me…it was so quick.  I didn’t puke.  The doctor joked that I shouldn’t tell my girlfriends I only pushed for 35 minutes.

Our “Somebody” arrives
4:35pm.  In an instant I felt her body leave mine.  The doctor lifted her up.  We heard her let out two or three cries.  We laughed.  Of course our baby would come out with something to say.  I said, “Oh!  Happy Birthday!”  They laid her on my chest on a blanket and she looked at us all wet and wide eyed.  I said, “Hey, I’m Amy.  I’m your Mama.  This is Greyson.  He’s your Daddy.”

I looked at Greyson’s wet eyes.  I was crying too.  It was just so amazing.  She was here.  All my hang ups about afterbirth and umbilical cords faded instantly.  I touched her head, not at all worried about her being cleaned off.  It didn’t matter.  She was ours.  Everyone else disappeared but me and Greyson and her.  For a few precious moments we were just quiet.  There were no doctors and nurses.  No DVD player.  No IV drips.  No epidural catheters.  No Zack.  No Screech.  No peanut butter toast.  Nothing else that had happened that day or the previous nine months mattered.  It was just us for that moment.  Our new family was more than I could have anticipated, more than I can write in a blog post.

Charlotte Eva-
The nurses scooped her up as the doctor attended to me.  The nurses called Greyson over to snap pictures.  I memorized her stats as quick as the nurse announced them.  She was 7 pounds, 13 ounces, and 20 inches long.  Greyson said, “I guess I can call people.”  “Well, let’s name her first,” I said.  “Oh yeah!” He said and dutifully pulled out the little piece of paper he’d been carrying in his wallet for the last week.  I held her.  The list had about five names on it.  He read them out, saving Charlotte Eva for last.  He knew both of us had our hearts set on that one.  It fit.  Charlotte Eva.  The nurses agreed.

Greyson and I joked that our baby was more beautiful than any other baby.  In our eyes she is.

Fall has always my favorite season.  Maybe because this fall, her season as a newborn, is so short I’m appreciating it more.  Now Fall means wrapping up our little one before walking in the crispness.  It means football snuggled on the couch with a baby.  Fall means our holidays will never be the same, but better.  It means new year is on the way. A year we get to watch her grow.  Fall is full of anticipation.  It’s her season.  The season of Charlotte.