5.31.2013

Trial & Error

Hello fabulous people! I hope everyone's Memorial Day was wonderful and you all caught up on some sleep like I did! God Bless my in-laws and Saint of a husband for letting me sleep in two days in a row and taking care of the little miss.

I figured since I have a quick minute while the princess sleeps, I would post about some of my absolute LIFE-SAVING products I have come to find over these past five [eventful] weeks. :D

1. Fisher-Price Rock and Play sleeper {buy it here}
This thing has given me the luxury of being able to take a shower and sleep a bit easier at nap time thanks to its easy maneuverability and light-weight design. It's super cozy for Ellie, too. We even brought this to Wisconsin last week and it worked very well at Dinner time and nap time, too.

2. Fisher-Price Snugabunny Swing or "Cradle 'N Swing" {buy it here}

Thanks to my Facebook Mommies - this one is a dead tie for first place in all things we've bought for Ellie. I needed something to soothe Ellie and help her sleep through her gas in her tummy and this has done the trick. She now sleeps regularly in it during the day [be sure to rotate baby's head when they're in any swing to negate the opportunity of flat-spots developing on baby's head] and we have used it to calm her as well. I am so happy with this purchase!!!

3. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump {buy it here}

At the hospital I made the decision to give my baby the best I could give her so I decided to breastfeed exclusively. This breast pump has made my life a lot easier and given me more time to have some me time here and there. Especially when little miss is eating every hour and a half for the past four weeks. I would be one [even more] sore, exhausted mama without it. I would recommend using the Pump & Save storage bags, too! They take up less space and are easy to freeze.

4. Aden & Anais swaddling blankets & "Just One You" by Carters swaddling blankets {buy it here /buy it here}

Love both of these. We use the Carters blankets daily to wrap Ellie up and cover her for walks, etc but on warmer days [if there is such a thing in Minnesota right now] the Aden and Anais blankets have been fabulous simply because they breathe much better and still give her that snuggled feeling.

5. Seventh Generation & Naty Diapers {diapers.com}

We've been using both on Ellie and I tend to like the Seventh Generation diapers best. Both are natural and have no chlorine or unnecessary chemicals or toxins which I love. We used the Pampers swaddlers for about four days after leaving the hospital and realized that sure enough, Ellie developed a wicked diaper rash from the inner-mesh lining. Poor baby. Since then we have been using Seventh Generation and Naty diapers exclusively. The Seventh Generation diapers tend to leak much less. I have since ordered a trial of the Honest Company's diapers - so we shall see how those go, too!

6. Triple Paste Diaper Cream {buy it here}

Since the aforementioned diaper rash, I went out and purchased five different rash creams to find that the Triple Paste cream works by FAR the best! We now use it at every diaper change!

7. Playtex Nurser bottles & drop-ins {buy it here}

Ellie gets gassy easily and these bottles have saved us [and my lady lumps] in a big way. The drop-ins are super efficient and safe and her gas seems to have gotten much better! YAY!

8. Dr. Sears' "The Baby Book" {buy it here}

This is a fabulous read. Dr. Sears combines medical advice and alternative ways of parenting into one, easy to understand book that discusses everything from breastfeeding to co-sleeping to vaccination side-effects. I would highly recommend to every parent who wants to be well informed on their babies development and parenting options.

9. Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash {buy it here}

If you're looking for a natural, toxin-free product - I'd highly recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby products in general but the Shampoo & Body Wash for sure. It smells amazing and I feel good about bathing our little girl in the natural products.

10. Old Navy onesies {buy them here}


These are the softest onesies I have found for a good price. They also hold their shape well through washes and are adorable! I also find that they are much easier to get over Ellie's head when changing her which is a big bonus! Check out the outlet malls for a bunch at even better prices, too!

A few additional suggestions that we've loved - 
  • Opt to get a diaper caddy. Makes changes easy!
  • Organic diaper pre-folds are AMAZING to use as changing pads for diaper changes as they are absorbent, versatile and soft for baby. We use them for baths to guard ourselves from blow-outs, diaper changes and other things. Thanks to Anne for the suggestion! [p.s. Under the Nile makes the ones we use].
  • Carter's wrap shirts are fabulous when baby is tiny! Much less nerve-racking to change their clothes!
  • BUY SEPARATES - avoid lots of snaps or buttons. Yes, they're cute, but such a pain when you have a screaming baby that is cold. 
  • I love our little hoodies and sweats for Ellie on days when its a bit chillier outside - then you can forgo the blankets when applicable.
  • Walgreens prints your iPhone photos for CHEAP! I've printed over a hundred and started her album easily this way. Download their app and buy!
  • My Brest Friend > Boppy pillow - FOR SURE get the My Brest Friend. It'll save your back!
I could go on and on... but this is a good start! Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I always love reading them. Here is Ellie's one month photo - I can't believe how time is flying... feeling very blessed. 


Cheers!

5.12.2013

A letter to my Daughter

Dear Ellie,

On this Mother's Day I am filled with overflowing emotions. I am so proud and happy to be your Mommy and feel so blessed to have been given this precious gift to celebrate today. Your Mommy has been raised by strong and wonderful women and I can only hope to be half the Mommy that my Mom was for me.

I promise you that I will be there for you whenever you need me. I will coach your soccer games - cheer you on in dance recitals - make a mess of the kitchen baking with you - teach you how to ride a bike - stay up late working on multiplication tables - spend quality time embraced in warm hugs no matter the circumstance - act as your safe haven for any and all secrets and trials you face - be your #1 fan in every event of your life - be present and do everything I can to give you the very best life possible filled with love.

Motherhood has lasted nearly three weeks for me and has had its fair share of difficulties but has had an equal amount of moments that have touched me and your daddy so deeply. The little smiles, laughs in your sleep, snuggles, ability to fall back asleep when we pick you up and hold you and minutes you spend staring at us make our jobs as your parents the best job in the world.

I cannot wait to watch you grow. I am excited to share many moments with you as your Mommy. You are the best gift I could have ever gotten and I am forever indebted to your Daddy for you.

I love you, baby girl.

love, Mommy


5.04.2013

{introducing, Ellie Anne}

Well, it has been a while since my last post but that's because we HAD A BABY GIRL! She has been taking up our time these days - and we are loving it. Yep, she is a lot of work but really she is a great baby and we have been so blessed. She is perfect.

Introducing, Ellie Anne. Born Wednesday, April 24th at 2:03pm - weighing 7lbs 3oz and measuring 20 inches of perfection.

 
Ellie Anne
Here is our eventful birth story.

On Tuesday the 23rd I woke up at 11:30pm with some more intense Braxton Hicks. So, I got up and walked around - drank some water and took a bath to see if they went away. They didn't really go away but weren't getting stronger so I went back to bed. I was able to sleep for a couple hours but woke up again with more intense cramping at 3am. I did the same thing this time, and googled like crazy. I didn't realize that true labor could feel like intense Braxton Hicks and affected the whole tummy, too. My back started to really hurt at that point, too. So, I stayed up and kept walking around and timing the contractions. They were regularly lasting 1-2 minutes and were about 7 minutes apart at the beginning, but around 4am had already gotten to be 3-5 minutes apart and were getting stronger. So, I called the nurse's line and they advised me that I needed to not be able to talk for them to be true labor and when to come in. I was nervous since they were so close together at this point.
 

The nurse told me to call the on-call doc. I decided to wait a while to see what happened, the contractions still lasting 1-2 minutes and by 5am were 4 minutes apart consistently and definitely stronger. Ben wakes up at 5:30 every day and was planning on going to work but by the time he was up my back pain was unbearable and contractions were very painful. I called the on-call doctor while Ben brought the dog for a walk and had a contraction on the phone - the doctor said, "Yep, time to go in". That was that. I threw on a sweatshirt, brushed my teeth somehow between contractions and loaded up my last minute hospital stuff and made my way downstairs. Ben got home in the nick of time - I was doubled over at the top of the stairs trying to calm my breathing. Of course, my contractions were even closer at this point which freaked me out. They progressed so fast. 

So, Ben grabbed coffee (which I nearly killed him for, lol...) and we were off to the hospital at 6am. Luckily we barely beat traffic and got to the hospital at 6:30am. They wheeled me up to the Maternal Assessment center and got me checked out. My mom was on her way at that point, too.

At that point I was a 4+ dilated and had a bulging bag so they kept me. My back labor was so intense I didn't think I could do it without any relief so I opted for the Epidural - which I was super upset about. I had planned on a natural birth throughout my pregnancy but promised myself to go in with an open mind. 


They brought me to my delivery room - needing to stop a few times for contractions along the way. When we got to the room we tried a few positions to get me more comfortable - my Mom putting pressure on my lower back, me on the birthing ball and Ben holding my hand while I got fluids for the Epidural. 

30 minutes later anesthesia was in the room and getting me ready for my epidural. At this point I had progressed to a 5+, 100% effaced. They inserted the epidural into the epidural space and we waiting the 20 minutes they say it takes to work... nothing. We waited some more until it had been 40 minutes with the Epidural - still nothing. Contractions were stronger than ever and my back was killing me. They put me on oxygen at that point because Ellie's heart rate was dropping a bit. 


The nurse called anesthesia again and we had a different doctor come. He wasn't understanding why it didn't work on me... but it had then been over an hour more and I was progressing really fast so he gave me five injections of Lidocaine into my epidural space (through the IV). This ended up numbing my left leg and left side - but not my right. It worked to get me through some intense contractions but I could still feel quite a bit. 


At that point, I was dilated to a 7+ and they called the doc to let her know my progress - it was 10:30am or so by that time. My doctor came and broke my water at that point and they found that Ellie had had a bowel movement in utero which was of some concern. I of course was very emotional to hear this... 


The anesthesiologist came back again and gave me another injection... still just numbed on the left. My doctor then headed back to her clinic telling us she thought we would "have the baby that day for sure, probably around 6pm-8pm". Our nurse then put me into a "corkscrew" position where I was on my side with opposite leg across my body in a stirrup. Being numb - the nurse and Ben had to pick me up to move me - no fun. The pressure was pretty brutal and getting stronger. The nurse then started having a hard time finding Ellie's heartbeat. She tried for a good 20 minutes and then decided to do the EKG probe that attaches internally just under the thin skin on her head - I was freaked out about this but relieved when I heard her heartbeat again. 


The pressure kept getting closer and I was very uncomfortable - my Mom kept saying, "maybe we should check her again?"... nurse finally did at 12:45pm and I was at a 10. Time to push. She ran out and told the nurses to call my doctor. At this point the lidocaine had nearly worn off. Lovely. lol.
I was a little nervous, but excited. We did some practice pushes and got her to move down quickly. The nurse told us that she may be delivering the baby and ordered another nurse to get ready for baby. I pushed at each contraction for about ten minutes until Ellie's heartbeat was of a bit of concern so I was told not to push. 


Still no doctor. 


When she stabilized I started pushing again. Her head was visible when they asked Ben if he wanted to see - I didn't think he would but he did and the look on his face was so adorable it made me want to see her myself. Nurse told me to try to feel her head and at first I didn't want to because I was so tired but ended up doing it and it propelled me into some super hard pushing. We were doing sets of 3 pushes for 10 seconds each - exhausting! wow. Her head was nearly out when the doctor swooped in and took over. Within just a couple more pushes, she was out and on my chest, Ben cutting the cord.

2:03pm on April 24th was the most amazing moment of my life. Holding her in my arms was so emotional I broke down. They swooped her over to the baby station and cleared out her airway, etc. She wasn't crying until they laid her down. Ben was with her the entire time. 

I ended up having an internal tear which the doctor stitched up before delivering the placenta. Of course, I was so distracted I didn't even notice. 


Ellie was perfect. She had a small soft spot on her skull that doctor wanted to monitor for jaundice, but she scored a 8/9 on the APGAR test. Ben was enamored and didn't let her go. It was amazing.
She was able to latch on fairly quickly so I was a happy Mommy. 

Recovery was fairly normal but both of us had a high fever so we were monitored for a while and put on antibiotics. Some other icky stuff but all was well. :D 

We are so happy we had such a fabulous nurse that nearly delivered Ellie. It was a great birth experience even with some of the complications. At this point we are both doing well. Had a hiccup a couple days ago with some pretty intense bleeding on my part, but all is well and Ellie is gaining weight so well! I can't believe how fast she is changing. So blessed. So happy. 

I may have forgotten some things, but this is the general idea. :D 

Moral of the story - Back Labor is INTENSE and soooo painful and an open mind and faith is what got me through. Proud of myself and feeling very blessed to have the support around me that I have. My Mom was amazing as my counter and Ben as my coach. 

Ellie is amazing and we are loving watching her grow every day - even with the lack of sleep. She has been sleeping well though so we are feeling fortunate. She is so loved by so many. I can't wait to make more memories with our little girl. 

There you have it! Wishing the best of luck to my Mommies-to-be and lots of love to all of you who have supported me through our pregnancy and birth. 

Have a great weekend!

Cheers! 


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