Baby #2 Bumpdate: 31/32 Weeks

How far along? 31.5 weeks or 32.5 weeks, depending on which due date my doctor feels like using!
Baby’s Size: A large head of Romaine lettuce or a small otter. Her estimated weight at this point is 4.5 pounds.
Weight Gain: 27 pounds, and trying to slow that down now with less gratuitous junk food eating!
Maternity clothes? All day every day or stretchy dresses.
Best moment this week:  Probably seeing IT with Matt and my dad (Fantastically creepy!), or how Holly’s face lit up when I came home from a cooking class. She ran up to me with a huge smile, shouted MAMA! and gave me a big hug. Warms my heart!

Miss anything? 

  • I really miss bending over freely this week. My mobility is definitely limited with a big old bump, and I just move slower in general. Looking forward to being able to get back to my usual movement.
  • I have to take Prilosec daily now, in addition to Tums, even though I’m not eating anything particularly heartburn-ish.

Movement: Future soccer star for sure!
Food cravings:  Pickles over the weekend, chicken soup today, carnitas tacos last week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Sadly, yes. Over the weekend I started feeling nauseous again, and I went to bed at eight last night because of the smell of the roast I made was making me green. I didn’t even eat any! 🙁 Hoping that goes away soon. I also took a cooking class and we had to handle a lot of raw chicken, and the smell of the chicken was definitely making me wish I had smelling salts nearby. Holly has had a cold the past few days and I feel like I’m getting it as of today, so I took a nap on my lunch break and am drinking a ton of water.
Gender:  Girl!

Symptoms: Sore hips, waddling, massive belly, heartburn, some nausea, tired.
Happy or moody most of the time: Mostly happy, though losing my dear friend has been a challenge.

Labor signs: I’m starting to feel like there’s no way this kid is waiting to come out until 11/11, my “latest” due date. I’ve been adjusted to 11/4 with no promises, but at my last detailed scan, they could tell my body is already contracting and she’s in position ready to go. So I personally don’t feel like I’ll make it much past Halloween, but it all depends how these last few weeks go. The doctor has asked me to eat less sugar because my amniotic fluid is high, and apparently sugar contributes to that. The risk of high amniotic fluid could mean early/pre-term labor, which I’m not quite ready for (I want her at 37 weeks at the earliest), so I’m trying to lessen simple starches and sugar I take in.
Looking forward to: sleep. I always look forward to sleep. And, ticking off these last few weeks so I can cuddle a sweet newborn and bend over freely to retrieve things that fall on the floor 🙂 I also want to start putting together her nursery now that we have the room painted. We ordered her changing table and since she’ll be in a bassinet the first few months, we won’t have a crib in that room, but I can get lots of other things together like with her dresser, hanging the pictures, etc.

Things I’m grateful for.

On Thanksgiving (well, everyday, really), I try to think about what I have in my life that I’m grateful for. They’re not all deep, profound heartwarming things, for example, I’m grateful for my body pillow, the longer battery life on the iPhone 7, and It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Hair Conditioner. Here’s a list of things that make me super grateful.

What things can you think about that you’re grateful for, too?

(Side note: I’ve been focusing on gratitude a lot the past few years. It’s an excellent way to move past feelings of anxiety or stress. Try it sometime — when you’re freaking out about say, your car having to go to the shop for another crazy fix (yes, it sucks – my AC is out), be glad you have a (usually) running car and access to a good mechanic. It can feel a little bit Pollyanna, but gratitude and the reminder that someone is ALWAYS unfortunately struggling more than you are can really help you turn around a sour mood.)

  • Holly and Matt. These two are my sun and stars and my biggest fan club. Baby giggles can turn me from Grinch to shiny sunflower, and my hubby is pretty much the kindest (and smartest) person I know. It’s been awesome turning into a parent with him as a partner. Plus, he has a great butt.
  • My parents (Lynn, Bill, Mike, and Angel Shirley). Seeing these three become grandparents has been a great source of joy. (And I know my MIL Shirley is around somewhere, watching over us.) Our parents are always hooking it up with babysitting and baby clothes and gifts, advice, and love. It takes a village to raise a baby and thank goodness we have supportive, loving parents.
  • My siblings April and Tommy. April would give you the shirt off her back with no questions asked in freezing weather, and Tommy is always the first to tell you he loves you and why. My parents did good… they have some amazing kids.
  • My bestie Katelyn. We’ve been pals since the sixth grade. She’s the funniest person I know! Even though I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like, we never struggle with reconnecting when we finally get together on the phone.
  • My dear friends. I am blessed to have several close friends (and I’m not calling them out by name because knowing me I’ll forget someone). These people have made our transplanted home in Los Angeles truly feel like HOME and for that I am so grateful.
  • My mommy tribe. I couldn’t have gotten through pregnancy and year one without the help of my girlfriends. There’s nothing in life like someone saying “Oh yeah? Me too!”. Plus, it’s nice to have people to text in the wee morning hours when your kid won’t go back to sleep and you’re four minutes away from losing your sanity.
  • My job. I’m approaching three years at Event 360, and being out on our 3-Day event in San Diego this past weekend was a heartwarming reminder that the work I get to do is not only super fun, it MATTERS. I work with a group of kind, talented individuals, and for that, I am grateful. I’m also grateful that I found a career path I love. Social media and copywriting are the bee’s frickin’ knees.
  • My blog. Blogging and social media has opened up so many doors for me, in terms of opportunities, endeavors, and padding my bank account. I never dreamed these little blogs would be a small source of income, and that’s awesome. THANK YOU for reading. You guys clicking links and reading just helped me pay for a root canal. (Nothing like a good cause, eh? Haha.)
  • My health. I’m always a work in progress, but despite some annoying small things like a heel spur, needing a root canal, and the persistent weight problem, I’m healthy. Working with a group of people afflected by a devastating disease is a sad reminder that health is usually taken for granted until it’s gone. This body of mine though imperfect, works, walks, moves, and celebrates life.
  • The Internet. From Reddit to cat memes to safety pins to mannequin challenges to Lightning deals, I frickin’ love the Internet. Yes, deep, dark harbored secrets and horrible things happen on the Internet but… for the most part, this is an incredible communication and information tool that has changed the way we live.

So those are the big things. I have A LOT to be grateful for.

Here are some of the smaller, sillier things I’m grateful for, too.

  1. PG Tips Tea. I fell in love with this tea on a trip to London in 2000, and I’ve had a cup every morning since. It’s strong. Super strong. And it’s awesome.
  2. The smell of orange blossoms on a summer day.
  3. When you get in a tunnel with a bunch of other cars in traffic and all the cars start honking just because.
  4. Slippers.
  5. Purring cats.
  6. The Pantsuit Nation Facebook group.
  7. My blogging mastermind group.
  8. A good yoga class.
  9. Writing.
  10. When your jeans feel a little bit looser.
  11. Freshly washed sheets with freshly shaved legs.
  12. When people you don’t know start liking your comment on a friend’s Facebook post.
  13. Plums.
  14. Allergy medication.
  15. Busting the mental health stigma.
  16. Gel manicures
  17. Sunshine
  18. Sarcasm
  19. Back Up Cameras in newer cars. (I’ve been driving a lot of rental cars lately, and man, this is nice. Makes me want a new car… but not a car payment.)
  20. Browsing real estate apps for my future house. (Yep — hopefully this is happening in 2017!)
  21. Getting real mail.
  22. Extra percent off clearance sales
  23. Baby hats
  24. Tubing Mascara (You literally just pull the mascara off your lashes in the shower. Perfect for sensitive, runny eyes like mine, and no mess to have to rub off with soap or anything. This one is only $8.)
  25. My personal trainers who were mean yet simultaneously awesome because they demoted me from mayor of Excuses Village and got me into shape.
  26. Sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar and marshmallows.
  27. Silicon Valley (the show.)
  28. My neighbors
  29. The beach
  30. Baby babbling
  31. Clementines
  32. State Parks
  33. Doing a good parallel parking job
  34. That feeling of reading a book so good you can’t put it down.
  35. Dark chocolate chips with a cold glass of milk.
  36. The person reading this blog post right now.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friend. Thank you so much for being you, for putting out into the world who YOU ARE and your own individual contributions. You rock.

 

Holly’s Birth Story

Hi y’all! I wrote this a week after I gave birth and while it’s deeply personal, I’ve shared it with close friends. They have encouraged me to blog it and after some deliberation I decided I wanted to share it here with you. As a warning, if descriptions of pain, female bodily functions, or the F word offend you, move along, pardner. Enjoy!

On Sunday, November 8, I was in a rotten mood. People kept calling me and texting me and Facebook messaging me to check in, and while I know intentions are always good, when you’re 39+3 days pregnant, you just want to be like “LEAVE ME ALONE, NO, THE BABY IS NOT HERE YET, YOU WILL KNOW WHEN SHE IS.” Also not helpful? People’s “advice” on how to get the baby to come. Guess what? She’ll arrive when she wants to. I slept in until 11 am that day, and then after I had breakfast, I was so exhausted I napped from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Matt and I putzed around the house, and then because I was feeling stir-crazy, I asked if he’d take me to Nordstrom Rack because there was an additional 25% off clearance sale and we had gift cards from Christmas last year. We went to Nordstrom Rack where I bought some random stuff I didn’t really need; a headband, some hair ties, and some new Haviana flip flops. We got home and I was feeling crummy so I headed to bed around 10:30 p.m.  I woke up at 12 a.m. and felt worse, so I wondered if I was hungry and ate three pineapple spears. Pineapple induces labor, you know! I guess in my case I can say it worked.

I was up more than usual to pee that night because the pressure on my bladder was insane. I think I woke up like four times to pee, and I felt restless, unable to sleep well because I was antsy. Little did I know my time was quickly approaching! At 6:00 a.m. I was awakened by strong cramping. I lazily stayed in bed another 15 minutes until I had another painful cramp. I decided to get up to use the bathroom and once I sat up I immediately felt a gush, then another one, then another one. I cautiously debated – was this pee or did my water break? Pregnant women don’t always have the best bladder control. I shifted in bed a bit and decided this was not pee, and softly said to my sleeping husband, “Guess what Matthew? We’re having a baby.”

I headed into the bathroom where I confirmed it was definitely not pee, and then I got into the shower. I shaved my legs (and noted that one of my legs was shaking uncontrollably), took a nice time exfoliating my face, and let the hot water massage my back. When I got out of the shower I decided on wearing my hair in pigtail braids, and I remember asking Matt if I had time to remove my nail polish (I wasn’t happy with the manicure I had given myself a few days earlier. Ha!). He said probably not and I went to get dressed. I had my “last meal” of Special K Red Berries (my fav cereal!)and a protein drink (you can’t eat during labor just in case you need an emergency C-Section). About an hour after my water started to break, we got into the car and headed to the hospital. We had a garbage bag and old towel set down in the seat. Matt dropped me off in front and I stood and waited at the check in desk, feeling remarkably calm and excited. Even the volunteers were like “You’re so calm!”  Matt brought in the suitcases and we headed up to Labor and Delivery.

I got into my ugly green gown and got into bed. The nurse, Michelle, was a lovely woman from Pittsburgh. They took my blood pressures and no big surprise, they were running high (148/90). Because I was Group B Strep Positive, I knew I would need two four hour sets of antibiotics intravenously before delivery, so my IV was set up and the fluids started going. I don’t really mind needles, so getting the IV placed was honestly no big deal. The worst part was having to shepherd the damn IV stand to the bathroom each time I needed to pee. I asked the nurse when I’d get checked for progress, and she said because my water had broken, they try and refrain from checking because bacteria can be introduced to the womb. My doctor instructed that they start me on Pitocin to help me dilate.  Matt made the calls to the family to let them know to be on their way because hook or by crook, Holly was coming!

The first four hours of Pitocin were a breeze. I was having contractions about 10 minutes apart, and while they weren’t comfortable, I could breathe through them. Michelle told me that I’d know when true labor begun because the contractions would become much more uncomfortable. All of a sudden my contractions felt like they went from bearable to “Holy fuck what the fuck is that pain in my body?!”, and I was asking Matt to squeeze my hand to help me count through them.  I remember our nurse coming in, seeing Matt and I together and saying, “Oh yes, labor has begun.” I swigged one more small cranberry juice (Matt was leery but consented to me doing it), and I asked if he’d let me cheat and eat something (he said no). At this point I asked for the epidural and they turned off the Pitocin until it was placed. My birth plan all along had basically been one word: drugs. I’m an advocate of better living through chemistry, and while I respect those who choose to have an un-medicated birth, that was not my desire at all. The anesthesiologist came in about 20 minutes later and I remember them asking Matt to come sit in front of me, because several husbands had recently passed out from seeing the needle placed in the spine. I sat on the edge of the bed, had numbing agent put in my spine, felt gentle pressure and fiddling, and that was it. I think I was so relieved the Pitocin was turned off that a snake could have sunk its fangs into my cheek and I would have been like, “Ok, cool, that doesn’t hurt.”

The epidural took about 15 minutes to kick in, and while initially I had some anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to feel my legs, I was quite delighted when a warm, toasty sensation spread through my lower body. I could still very much wiggle my toes and feet. They placed a catheter in me, which again, was not enjoyable, but fine, and then they turned the Pitocin back on and left the room so Matt and I could relax. We dimmed the lights and turned on the Smoke Fairies, some very calming folk music. I remember saying several times that an epidural was a joyous thing.  I honestly had the relaxed sensation of sitting by a fireplace loving the cozy feelings in my lower body. I tried to sleep but couldn’t with all of the hospital noises, so I just vegged out in my bed, chatting with Matt and the nurses. I had no desire at all to be on my cell phone or social media and was quite enjoying my little cocoon of solitude.

Cozy and toasty and drugged up in the hospital bed.

Cozy and toasty and drugged up in the hospital bed.

At about 3:00 p.m. they checked my progress (I was shocked how fast the day was going), and my cervix had dilated to a 5.  They pumped up the Pitocin, and I remember pressing my “quick hit” of pain relief on the epidural a few more times as the contractions grew closer and closer together. The weird thing about contractions on the epidural is at this point they were more pressure than pain. I had some nausea, so I was given Zofran, which is an anti-emetic that they give to chemotherapy patients.

Around 7:00 p.m., my parents arrived. I remember asking them to get me a baked potato when they came back later in the night to meet Holly, because at this point after 14 hours of labor with no food or drink, I was damn hungry, and some carbs with butter sounded AMAZING! The good doctor came in, juiced up my epidural again, and five minutes later; I felt intense nausea and threw up three times all over myself and my hospital gown. I remember feeling instant relief and then thinking, wow, this must be some bad nausea since I’m on prescription anti-nausea med and still upchucked! Now I remember that nausea means labor is very close, since that’s the transitional phase of labor. My parents decided to head out at this point and they went back to our house, where my Dad apparently slept on our couch and my mom anxiously tried to watch TV.

At 8:00 I was fully dilated and it was time to push! I got lucky because my night nurse was Jami, an awesome chick I had met at one of my non-stress tests and really liked. Jami showed me how to count through the contractions – one deep breath in, then hold it for a count of 10, and do that three times.  I remember at that point I was feeling really tired and hungry, and pissed that I had to essentially do the most physical thing I’d ever done with no fuel in my body (even harder than walking 60 miles in one weekend!). I begged Matt to sneak me some sips of his Coke in-between pushing and the nurse leaving the room, and he did, bless his heart.  After about an hour of pushing, I was in a lot of pain again, and they asked the anesthesiologist to come back and juice up my epidural again. I had started to feel a sharp sensation in my left butt cheek and lower leg, so I was paranoid it was wearing off – which apparently cannot happen, just labor pain becomes more severe so you need a higher dose of drugs.

I pushed for another hour and at this point the fatigue was really starting to wear me down. According to Matt, I was very calm through out my labor, and only let out a good “Fuck!” once. I remember feeling very lazy and wanting to cut down the number of pushes per contraction to two instead of three, and almost proposed it to the nurse, but I knew that might delay my progress. The nurse brought over a mirror so I could see Holly’s head, and that was really cool to know she was right there!

After two hours of pushing, the doctor was called in, and they started bringing in a table with tools on it. I knew I had to be getting close. At this point it was 11 p.m., and I was starting to get really grumpy and irritated that my 6:00 a.m. start of labor was still not over. The contractions were about every minute now, and while the Doctor chatted with the nurse about Dancing with the Stars, I kept breathing through the contractions and pushing. I remember feeling slightly annoyed that, HELLO, I WAS TRYING TO HAVE A BABY, and you’re talking about normal life stuff?! Of course now this just goes to show how delivering a baby is just another day’s work for doctors, because they’re chillin’ while women are squeezing watermelons out of lemons in their faces. It was around two hours and 30 minutes of pushing that I told the doctor I wanted a C-Section because I couldn’t do it anymore. Her response? “You’re the only one who can do it, because I can’t push the baby back up inside of you!” I accepted this fate and wearily continued pushing.

I knew at this point that it was do or die (no, not literally) and I needed to muster up every ounce of strength I had in my exhausted body to get this baby out. My forehead was covered in sweat, and I could feel my legs trembling with each push. I would bear down and the last three seconds of a push, I tried to imagine my legs pushing the stirrups off the bed as hard as I could. I was groaning pretty heavily at this point and had reached an ultimate focus and concentration. Finally, I felt the baby’s head push through me, lower, and as the doctor, Jami and Matt cheered me on and encouraged me, I heard the doctor say excitedly “That’s it! That’s it! That’s it! KEEP GOING!”

I pushed with all my might, quite sure that I would push off the lower half of my body, and in one beautiful, miraculous instant, I felt Holly slide out. “Look down!”, the doctor excitedly shouted, and then I saw my wrinkled, cheesy, tiny baby being held up towards me – a miracle of an infant that listened to my heart beat for nine long months.

AlyssaHollyBirth

They pulled my gown down, placed her on my chest, and I burst into tears, exclaiming that she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. People had told me there would be no feeling like seeing and meeting your baby for the first time, and they were right. Even though I had never seen her, I felt like I knew her. Holly suckled at my breast for a few moments and then as the nurse listened to her heart, they whisked her away to the warmer. The pediatrician and NICU staff on call rushed in, and all of a sudden, she had an oxygen mask on, and a tube placed down her lungs to clear her throat. I was being stitched internally and suddenly I had no interest in anything going on with me – I only wanted to make sure my baby was ok. After about ten agonizing minutes, Holly’s heartbeat stabilized and she was breathing normally, back to her rosy pink color. The doctors think the long labor, epidural, and three hours of pushing shell-shocked her in the womb, and when she came out to bright lights and noises, she essentially passed out.

I had also requested to see my placenta, and as expected, I was horrified at how big and nasty it was, but also impressed that my body grew that thing that grew my baby. (We have a picture of it for the curious souls. I left it out of here as a courtesy. You’re welcome.)

After all this, Matt and I got to spend a blissful hour with our new baby, holding her, loving her, and being amazed that two people created such an innocent, miraculous, beautiful little being. Happy birthday, Holly!

 

Bun in the Oven Update: Week 15

Howdy! I’m still on the fence about if I’m going to blog my pregnancy, because while part of me likes the idea of documenting it all, the other part of me goes “Eh, does anyone care?” We’ll see! (Pssst… if you do want to read about it, let me know. Remember, I always assume my dad and one person in Alaska reads my blog and that’s pretty much it… so if you’re out there, say hello!) I do have a pregnancy journal I’m using to document week by week, when I remember. (AND, it forces me to put a pen to paper. Handwriting… a miraculous thing!)

But, I figured I’d share today in case anybody is interested.

PROGRESSPANEL

How far along? 15 weeks, 6 days – 16 weeks tomorrow! Now that I’m “out” time is going much faster, thank goodness. Those first few weeks in hiding were agony.
Baby’s Size: A delicious California Avocado
Weight Gain: Zero. Woohoo! (Disclaimer: my OB is totally fine with this! Because of my pre-pregnancy weight, it’s not necessary for me to gain more than 15 pounds during this pregnancy.)
Maternity clothes? I just broke down and bought a bunch of shirts at Motherhood last weekend, and I have a pair of capris and jeans I got from Penney’s. While I still fit in all of my other clothes, I can feel things shifting. Despite not gaining any weight and not really looking like I’ve popped (in my opinion – maybe in the last picture I look like I ate a large burrito), I can feel my body changing, shape-wise.
Best moment this week: Our neighbor is so sweet and dropped off a TON of baby stuff for us to have. Her seven month old has outgrown his bassinet and vibrating chair and things like that, so she wanted us to have all of the stuff she’d donate to Goodwill anyways. That was super helpful! Now we just need to clean out our guest room closet so we can store the stuff. Oliver is currently enjoying sleeping on the changing pad that he thinks is his (boy, is he in for a surprise come November.)
Miss anything? I had a little twinge of lust when I was at Trader Joe’s and passed by the pineapple hard cider, and I do miss guzzling caffeine freely if I’m feeling sleepy (which is pretty much every day as a prego!).
Movement: Nope.
Food cravings: I reaaaaally wanted a pretzel when I walked by Wetzel’s in the mall, but I refrained. I’ve been craving sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper, beef (yay, meat!), and my fruit kick continues with cravings for cherries and nectarines. Last week I was all about potato chips and had a few servings over the week, but now I’m over it.
Anything making you queasy or sick: You know how I bragged about not having morning sickness when I made my announcement? Well, I jinxed myself, because week 14 was nausea city. Thank goodness my barfing episode from last week is over. It was the first time I barfed during my pregnancy, and it was on my 30th birthday on the airplane going to NYC (And I actually barfed three times in the nasty plane bathroom. Gross.). I ended up getting a prego-safe prescription for nausea that week, because I was not enjoying being super queasy as I ran around NYC. I’ve had a few small episodes of nausea this week but am feeling much much better. I still have zero interest in eating chicken.
Gender: We know, and close family and friends know 🙂 I’ll be sharing once we get final confirmation after 20 weeks, just in case early predictions were wrong!
Labor signs: Nope. Let’s keep it that way.
Symptoms: Still more tired than I’d like, some lower back soreness, and still having to make a few bathroom trips in the middle of the night.
Happy or moody most of the time: Mostly happy but I find myself more sensitive than usual. I may have cried this weekend after I tried to make pancakes and screwed up the water/mix ratio, and then dropped a glass in the kitchen that shattered, and then somebody made a rude pregnancy comment. Cue the tears. Whatevz. It’s all part of the journey and I’m trying to remind myself that moments like that are somewhat inevitable during pregnancy.
Looking forward to: Attending Bloggy Boot Camp this weekend in Temecula, and heading up to the Mojave Desert next weekend for a petroglyph tour!