Pregnancy 1 versus Pregnancy 2

**I started this post before Monday’s scare, and was just waiting to upload the most recent belly pic. Definitely not feeling quite as light hearted, even though everything turned out quite fine**

Now that I’m in my third trimester (!!!!), I’ve taken a look back on how this pregnancy has compared to my pregnancy with Viv.

The first main difference was morning sickness.  I felt just as sick this time around (moderate nausea, occasional vomiting), but it hit me a lot harder.  First, I had a baby to chase around.  But more significantly was that my “morning” sickness with this pregnancy began around 1pm and continued through the night.  With Viv, I woke up feeling awful, but would gradually feel better throughout the day. It was really hard this time to know the day was just going to get worse, especially when I was cooking (or smelling) dinner at night.

By 12 weeks, my morning sickness was mainly gone.  I had a few occasional nauseated feelings, but was getting my appetite back.  And thus began the belly pictures*.

I absolutely started showing earlier this time.  I attribute that to the fact that my uterus had already been stretched to the max, and not at all having to do with the fact that I hadn’t lost all of my “pregnancy” weight from Viv. Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn’t exercising regularly either….

12 week compare

12 Weeks on Christmas Day 2011 (with no belly whatsoever!) versus 12 Weeks on September 20, 2013

***************

By 16 Weeks, my stomach started to feel more solid, but I still was popping out more than I had with Viv.

16 week compare

16 Weeks on January 22, 2011 versus 16 Weeks on October 18, 2013.

***************

By 20 Weeks, I was feeling and looking Pregnant.  People who I hadn’t told were clearly in the “know” now.  We had our mid-term ultrasound, and all looks fine and dandy. We didn’t find out whether we’re expecting a girl or boy (we didn’t find out with Viv either), so there is a whole other level to this belly comparison.

20 Week Compare

19+ Weeks on February 16, 2011 (and dressed up for a work party) versus 20 weeks+ on November 17, 2013.

***************

I hit the 6 month a few weeks before Christmas.  The belly picture with Viv was the first I shared on social media.  I purposefully wore the same shirt for the 6 month picture with this kiddo.  I don’t see much of a difference in belly size and shape! A little sister for Viv, perhaps? only Time will tell!

2324 Week compare

24 Weeks on March 18, 2012, versus 24 weeks on December 13, 2013.

***************

28 W compare

28 Weeks on April 15, 2012, versus 28 Weeks, 4 Days on January 14, 2014.

***************

At this point, the only “medical” difference in this pregnancy has been the baby’s heart rate: Viv’s was consistently high, in the high 160’s or low 170’s.  This baby’s heart rate runs in the 140’s every time.  So to counter the belly-image deduction that there’s a little girl cooking in there, Old Wives tell me that a low heart rate means a little boy!  It’ll be quite the guessing game until April.

* I’ve been doing the same for ultrasound pictures, because why not start the “lets compare the little sibling to its older sister” now!? But since I’m not keen on showing off pictures of my uterus, despite its adorable contents, those won’t be shared online :)

 

 

Farewell 2013

Last Year, I said farewell to 2012 through my favorite pictures.

Once again, I have chosen one picture from each month, with an explanation about why each is significant. I should note that most are “favorites” for the memories they stir up, not for composition. By far the best part about this project is combing through all of the pictures I’ve taken over the last year.  I lost track of so many of them!  Enjoy!

 

 JANUARY

IMG_5081crop

The Man and I spent a night away in Lake George for our 5th Anniversary. It was sorely needed – one of our first date nights since Viv was born.

FEBRUARY
IMG_3199

What I loved about the 6-9 month stage was the cuddle-nap times. Viv LOVED taking snoozes in our bed, and I was not one to say no.

MARCH

IMG_5699_Edit_

Excuse my barefooted baby outside in the end of March, but it was pretty warm those days.

APRIL

IMG_5890

I had a Court appearance for work in Elmira, where my parents are from, and where my grandparents still live.  So my Dad came with me and Viv, so she could spend some time with her great-grandparents while I worked. This was one of the outtakes of the family pictures we took. I love how my Pop Pop is playing with Viv and how Mema is smiling, looking on.

MAY

IMG_3736

Ok. hear me out.  I went to the bank one day and got this $20 from the ATM.  I laughed. and laughed. and laughed and laughed.  I hadn’t laughed at something so stupid and silly in a long time and it felt amazing.  And no. I didn’t call (though I was tempted…)

JUNE

IMG_6602_print_web

BIRTHDAY PARTY CAKE FACE! what more could be said?  Except the fact that we really weren’t equipped to clean that up….

JULY

IMG_4433_edit

Baby #2 is coming! I had been feeling off, so when I came home from work hopped up on baby fumes from reading all about the new baby Prince George, I figured why not? Good to know I’m in tune with my body! ha

AUGUST

IMG_6673_edit

Another week at Keuka Lake.  Our families didn’t know we were expecting again, though in retrospect, they all wondered why I would take 3 hour naps with Viv in the middle of the day.  Thankfully I hadn’t started to feel sick yet – just tired.

SEPTEMBER

IMG_4823

Around when Viv turned 14 months, she started really playing with Luke and Lacey. before, she was a little unstable crawling and walking, and they didn’t love the sudden movements. and the ear pulling.  This is when she started to get “gentle” and the pups loved it.

OCTOBER

andria rob's wedding

My friends Andria and Rob got married. There was a photobooth. That’s all I have to say about that.

NOVEMBER

photo

I took this with my iPhone while Viv and Lacey were cuddling/playing in her bedroom.  Can you tell that they were not pleased with my requests that they look at me for a picture?

DECEMBER

IMG_7129_web

Christmas morning. I can’t get over that look of utter amazement.  She was either yelling “DOC” or “WOW”. Either way, it’s pretty awesome.

~~~

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a safe and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evening the Score

Viv’s been quite outnumbered these days. The Man and I feel like we’re constantly telling her no and re-directing her to non-death-trap activities.  Sure falling headfirst down the stairs and wraping ribbons around her neck seem fun, but alas, we just cannot allow it. She loves the dogs, but they sometimes get bored with the similar non-death-trap activities.  Luke and Lacey would much prefer going into “attack-play” mode.  For example:

 

So with two adults telling her no, and two dogs trying ever so hard to bait her into their game of attack (with the two parents telling them all no), Viv figured it was time. 

 

Fotor0913132825 Little Brother or Sister coming in April!

Repacking my Hospital Bag – Part 2

Yesterday you heard about how brilliant I was to come up with THE. PERFECT. HOSPITAL. BAG. for my labor and delivery with “Baby Lafe”.  Everyone’s delivery story is different, but here are my thoughts on what I would leave behind if I were to repack the bag(s).

THE LABOR BAG

labor bag all-- edit(1) Comfy nursing bras.  Oh yes. Ooooh yes. I wore this pretty puppy through my whole labor, delivery, and post-partum visits.  Super soft and comfortable, incredibly easy access for first time breastfeeding, and most importantly, I felt like myself while in labor.  

(2) Amazon Kindle yeah. Didn’t touch it during the labor or in the few days in the hospital.

(3) iPhone charger. Obviously.

(4) Hairties and bobby pins! I didn’t love having my hair in a ponytail or bun. I felt like it kept getting in the way when I would lay my hair back.  But my stretchy headband was perfect! Kept the hair out of my face, and made me look halfway presentable for the first pictures after Viv arrived.

(5) Tube Sock and Tennis ball.  Nope. Leave it, unless it’s your support person’s idea and they will remember to use it.  In my case, it never came out of the bag.

(6) Yummy lotions.  No massages for me! No one was going NEAR my feet.  The only part of me I wanted rubbed was my lower back.

(7) Birth Plan.  Never even consulted it. I was with it enough to remember what I wanted, The Man was totally aware, and we had a great nurse who kept us updated.  It was more helpful for me to articulate what I wanted ahead of time.  That being said, I’ve heard some people have horror stories at less baby-friendly hospitals, so if you’re in one of those areas, by all means, bring the birth plan!

(8) iPhone portable speaker.  It was only after the delivery was over

(9) Comfy, non-skid socks.  I didn’t think it was necessary to have them.  Once I got in the room, I started getting paranoid that my water would break all over them.  Pick either slippers OR socks.

(10) Bathrobe.  LOVED my bathrobe. I put it on before family came to visit and it was super comfy.  My only recommendation would be to buy a LONG bathrobe – When I was moved from L&D to postpartum (in a wheelchair), the nurse had to grab a towel to put over my legs—it’s not like I was crossing my legs for modesty!

(11) Binsi Skirt.  Yes. Yes yes yes. I wore it all during my labor, and at one point when thigns were getting serious, I just ripped it off with one hand. Perfect.

(12) Soft Slipper Flip-Flops.  Yes please! Wore them when I was walking around the room, and in the hallway. 

(13) Nursing Tanktop.  Didn’t use it—the bathrobe was fine for visitors.

THE POST-PARTUM BAG my bag all -- edit

(1) Muslin Swaddlers.  Leave it. The hospital has plenty of heavy duty swaddlers.  There is something great about having tons of pictures of Viv in the blue and pink striped blankets at the hospital, versus the muslin swaddlers at home.

(2) Nursing Bra.  Not necessary. In fact, I didn’t wear an underwire nursing bra for a month and a half after Viv was born.  It only came out because I had to go to a wedding.

(3) Yoga Capri Pants.  I’m a skirt kind of girl, which is super helpful in the hospital.  There is a lot of checking going on down there during the post-partum stay.  It was uncomfortable enough to move around in those first few days, I can’t imagine having to get out of bed, take my pants off, get back in bed, have my lady parts examined, get out of bed again, put on the pants, and then whatever.  Having a nightgown or skirt on made things 100% easier. Leave ‘em.

(4) Comfy Nursing Tank Top.  Didn’t’ use this one either.  I really wore my nightgown most of the time, with a comfy nursing bra underneath.

(5) Makeup.  Oh I’d pack it again! I didn’t’ put on any makeup during the stay, but did spruce myself up a little before we left the hospital.

(6) Hair Dryer and Hair Straightener. Eh, I would probably bring it again, but only for peace of mind.  Didn’t use it, even for when I left the hospital.

(7) Nursing Pads.  Leave em at home for when you REALLY start leaking through your shirts.

(8) Lanolin.  I didn’t use it in the hospital.  The nips hurt, but they weren’t cracked or sore.  I probably wouldn’t pack it again, and would just wait until I got home.

(9) Boppy.  Whether to bring the boppy was a tough choice. Friends either insisted that I have it, or insisted that I forget it. I’m in the latter camp this time. you have plenty of pillows, and those are easier to position in the very beginning when you have no idea what you’re doing.

 

They say live and learn, so take what you will from my experience! Although, if I were REALLY to go back and pack my bag, I would probably be too neurotic to listen and would just pack everything and more. The benefit now is that looking at all of the things I would leave out, I bet I could even fit everything into one super bag!

Repacking my Hospital Bag – Part 1

About a million of my BFFs are with child and shall birth those children (respectively) by early next year.  I was discussing the contents of my bag(s) for labor/delivery/postpartum, and actually found the detailed spreadsheet that I had created to keep track of all the VERY IMPORTANT THINGS that I needed to have with me.

Not surprisingly, there are so many items I packed that I didn’t even touch during the hospital stay.   I recall packing and thinking that I could go without a lot, but was not willing to risk being without THE ONE THING that made the differnce between glowing, fantastic super mom and, well, a woman who just pushed an 8lb person out of her hoo-ha.

I had the brillant idea of having a Labor bag and a Post-partum bag. The main problem with that is tha ti tleft me without any intuitive packing skills.  Contacts seperate from toothpaste? Where does the hairbrush go? some clothes here, some clothes there?  After, oh, 8 months of planning,  several facebook posts begging for suggestions, and a few grey hairs, I came to a decent list.

Today, you get to hear about what I packed and why.  Tune back tomorrow to hear how my suggestions work 60% of the time, every time. (double points if you name that movie!)

THE LABOR BAG

labor bag all

(1) Comfy nursing bras.  These aren’t those underwire nursing bras you find in Motherhood maternity.  Oh no, these are the big guns. Super sports bra support, easy boob access, and plenty of coverage. 

(2) Amazon Kindle (or whichever e-reader or tablet you prefer).  I had no idea how long I would be in labor, how painful it would be, or whether I would have pain relief.  And If I was lucky enough to catch some Z’s, The Man could use it.

(3) iPhone charger. Duh.

(4) Hairties and bobby pins! I knew I wouldn’t be one of those women who had glowing, perfect hair after giving birth.  I had a nice, stretchy headband too.

(5) Tube Sock and Tennis ball.  I read somewhere that rubbing a tennis ball on your back during labor can help immensely.  So I went out and bought a tube of tennis balls and hi-jacked one of the Man’s old socks.

(6) Yummy lotions.  Did I ever tell you that The Man was required to give me a foot massage during our all-day, marathon birthing class? it was glorious. I expected that it be replicated during labor.

(7) Birth Plan.  I had a million verions of birth plans. I downloaded some from babycenter, some I just made up, all of them were confusing and contradictory.  I constantly paniced that I would leave a crucial piece of information out.

(8) iPhone portable speaker.  I had labor playlists and I’m not afraid to admit it. Again, this went with the uncertainty of the length of labor, and not knowing whether I’d need some good tunes to pump me up!

(9) Comfy, non-skid socks.  These were to wear while walking around the hospital to keep my feed all warm and toasty.  I had a great pair from Bath and Body Works, but I’m not sure they carry those anymore.

(10) Bathrobe.  A good friend recommended that I bring a bathrobe to cover myself up if I was walking around, and for visitors after the fact.  I picked up a grey one from Target about a week before I went into labor.

(11) Binsi Skirt.  Ok, soooo, I’m not really a hippy, but you wouldn’t know it by my choice of labor attire.  I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t want to wear hospital clothes, but I also didn’t want to ruin my favorite black skirt.  I can’t remember where I heard about the binsi skirt, but I needed to have it.

(12) Soft Slipper Flip-Flops.  These were a bridesmaid gift from my friend Bridget and I LOOOOVE them. I figured I could use them to walk around instead of the socks.

(13) Nursing Tanktop.  This was a back up to the nursing bra, in case I wanted to be a little more modest, or to wear when visitors arrived.

THE POST-PARTUM BAG

my bag all

 

(1) Muslin Swaddlers.  I knew the hospital would supply swaddlers, but I wanted softer ones for pictures and the trip home.

(2) Nursing Bra.  I wore the underwire nursing bras for the latter part of my pregnancy (highly recommend doing that, btw). I wanted this for the trip home.

(3) Yoga Capri Pants.  I wanted a pair of comfy pants for the hospital stay.

(4) Comfy Nursing Tank Top.  I also packed a second nursing tank for hospital visitors.

(5) Makeup.  Ok, fine, I can be a little vain.  But I knew my picture would be taken, and I wanted to feel like a human!

(6) Hair Dryer and Hair Straightener. See #5.

(7) Nursing Pads.  I’d heard that you leak a lot of breastmilk during the first few weeks of nursing and wanted to be prepared.

(8) Lanolin.  Lanolin is super helpful for sore nipples, something I was sure I would have!

(9) Boppy.  Ah the trusty nursing pillow. I wanted to have anything and everything that would help me breastfeed little baby lafe!

yes toiletries

(10) Cotton Swabs and QTips, (11) Face Cleansing Wipes, (12) Body Wash, (13) Deodorant, (14) Hair Brush, (15) Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Mouthwash, (16) Shampoo and Conditioner.

Several friends told me that the first shower post-birth was the best feeling ever, especially if you had labored a long time.  The only disappointment they had was with the hospital soap and shampoo combo.  I figured it would be even more refreshing to have all of my normal shower products.

I also (obviously) packed clothes to come home in (a blue pattern nursing dress from Target) and clothes for baby to come home in (a green frog outfit, size 0-3 months). The Man packed his own bag of clothes, snacks, magazines, etc. Overall, we had a backpack for the labor bag, a duffle bag for my postpartum bag, The Man’s duffle bag, a boppy, and a huge pillow with bright pillow case for me!  I still think my walk into the hospital with contractions was harder than The Man’s task of carrying all of those bags!

Meredith + Garrett

I knew Meredith and I would be friends when I asked her if I looked pregnant yet and she started yelling and burst into tears. Definitely one of the more memorable reactions to my pregnancy announcement!

So when Meredith announced that she and her husband were expecting a baby in September, I squealed and vibrated with excitement.  We talk almost daily about baby planning and pregnancy, and it’s awesome to see the daily changes of a friend’s pregnancy.

Meredith’s baby shower was held on June 29, 2013 at the Schuyler Meadows Country Club in Loudonville.  The clubhouse is absolutely GORGEOUS and the hostesses, Meredith’s mother and sisters, executed the decorations and menu perfectly.

shower

tabledecorations

Baby Nolan received wonderful gifts, especially anything “elephant” to match his nursery.

gifts

 

You may figure that Meredith looks this beautiful and polished because it’s her baby shower, but it’s a LIE! She actually looks like this EVERY SINGLE DAY.

meredith1Meredith2

After the shower, I took a few shots of the parents to be.  These kids are madly in love.  They laugh (with and at each other), and you can easily catch a glimpse of one giving lovey eyes while the other is looking away.

MGS

Both insisted on having a “formal” portrait taken, presumably to hang above their living room mantle.

portrait

 

Of course, I refused to leave before I took a few solo shots of the lovely mom-to-be, even if that meant making her climb a flight of stairs!

 

 

 

Meredithstairsmeredith doorThanks Meredith and Garrett for letting me be a part of your special day! So excited for September so that Viv can meet her new baby friend!!

The Nursing Chronicles: Part One

While writing Breastfeeding by Fire, I got a little side-tracked and started writing about my first impressions of breastfeeding.  So here is my stream of conscious on that.

Even before I was pregnant, I planned to breastfeed.  I was not, however, a militant supporter of breastfeeding. I thought (and still do think) that full baby bellies are the most important thing, whether they are fed with breastmilk or formula. Sure, I was aware of the health benefits, but I was more focused on how breastfeeding was free and convenient.  I was wrong on both counts, at least initially.

As my pregnancy progressed, I became very worried that my milk wouldn’t come in, or I would have a low supply. I even avoided buying a breastpump, so that the money wouldn’t be wasted should I not be able to breastfeed.  I had read so much about skin-to-skin, and how important it is for developing a good breastfeeding relationship, and was terrified of the possibility of not getting that immediate skin to skin contact. I wrote in Vivi’s birth post about how they didn’t bring her right to me, and even that caused a little anxiety.

After only a few minutes, Vivian was brought to me.  A nurse asked me if I planned to breastfeed, and then motioned me to get the girls out. I had a nursing bra on, so that was easy. (don’t buy maternity bras when you’re pregnant. Just get nursing bras. They’re wonderful in the early phases).  I put a naked Vivian (except for her diaper) on my bare stomach and chest and voila.  She rooted around (bobbing her head back and forth) to try to find my nipple. I guided her a little, and she latched on with no problem.  Until that point, I hadn’t read a word about proper latch and all that. I just figured they ate or didn’t.

I expected that first time to hurt, but it really didn’t. At that point, only colostrum was coming out for her (colostrum is what one of the nurses called liquid gold for babies).

The time in the hospital was quite a daze. We had to keep a record of each time she ate, which was about every 3 hours or so. I remember feeling relatively relaxed about feeding her, and felt like things were going ok.

On our first full day in the hospital, I asked to see the lactation consultant on duty.  I figured a few pointers and suggestions could help.  Really, we wanted to be able to identify the signs that she was hungry (other than crying). The lactation consultant came by and asked if I wanted to try feeding her then.

(At that point, she was moving her head back and forth (in her little bassinet thing), and trying to find her hand. Other signs that a baby is hungry is rooting, which is when they bob their head back and forth on your body, looking for the nipple. And crying. Crying also tells you too.)

What a mistake that was.  The lactation consultant was rude, unsupportive, and made me doubt every instinct I had as a mother.  Until that point, Viv and I were doing ok.  Then she goes and tells me that I’m going to have trouble breastfeeding because my daughter is finicky.  Naturally I started getting upset.  She then said that she didn’t think she could help me because I was getting so anxious.  Wow, thanks a lot.  To top it all off, when we were talking generally about our lives and our two big dogs, she went on and on about how she hates dogs.  Way to know your audience.  I know for a fact that not all lactation consultants are like this, but I am so upset to know that she is out there discouraging other new moms.  I think that last part really sparked me to hate her, and dismiss her entirely.  When she stopped by the next day to check on us, I told her things were going fine.  They weren’t, but I didn’t want any more input from her.

Once I got home, I tried to settle into a routine. As with the hospital, the first few weeks were a blur. I was recording every feeding: start and end times, which boob. Over. And over. And over.  I was exhausted. The Man was exhausted. the dogs were exhausted. It was really hard not to get frustrated.

About ten days in, I started to lose it.  My milk had come in, and my boobs were killing me.  My nipples were hard and red and sore, regardless of how much lanolin I rubbed on there, and how often I put the nipples soothers on.  Initially, when Viv was hungry, The Man would hold her up under her arms and say “We want boob! We want boob!”.  Usually I varied between laughing or being annoyed, but on this day I just started sobbing. I don’t want to! I don’t want to do it anymore!

I started to have a horrible pain in the upper right side of my right breast.  After doing some internet research (my iphone was my best friend during those days), DOOM! It could be an infection! I read more about clogged ducts than I ever wish to know.  I called my OBGYN that Friday (12 days in), and never got a phone call back.  After actually sobbing through a feeding that afternoon, Bob and I finally decided to suck it up and go buy a breast pump.  And so, Vivian’s first store was Babies R Us.

That breast pump was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Aside from the humiliation of being hooked up to a milker, my first pump experience was great.  First of all, it didn’t hurt that much; certainly not as much as breastfeeding did.  I figured out that maybe breastfeeding didn’t need to hurt so much.  I had read so many people saying that if it hurts, you’re not doing it right.  But now I knew there was a difference between hurt and discomfort.

As I mentioned in the Breastfeeding by Fire Post, I started looking into different ways to hold Vivian while she ate.  I’ve sworn by the cross cradle hold ever since. For example, if I was feeding Viv form my right breast, I have her rest across my abdomen, with her body on my left arm.  My left hand is holding on to the back of her head.  I would then use my right hand to guide my breast to her mouth. My right elbow is sticking all out and weird, but it was perfect for us.  I had control over where her head was going, and where my breast was going. And after that, it just clicked.  http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html

That was two weeks in. Two weeks. When I was living it, it seemed like an indefinite, undending period of time.  But here I am, with an eight month old, who breastfeeds like a champ (ahem. have you seen the chunky thighs?). 

My next challenge was breastfeeding in public. or at least not hiding in the other room at my parent’s house.  Tune in for more details tomorrow whenever I feel like writing about it!