February 25, 2013

Now's about the time in new mama hood where the exhaustion starts to set in, the frustrations of breastfeeding not going 100% as smoothly as you had hoped, the cabin fever, and the long days of parenting alone start to wear on you. As much as I am enjoying the sweetness of having a newborn, it's hard.  Hard on my body, hard on mind and hard on my heart.  This little being needs me in every sense of the word. I am essentially sustaining her- without me, there is no her and the magnitude of responsibility that lies in that statement is overwhelming.  Is she spitting up too much? Is her breathing okay? She did something weird with her eyes, is that normal? The constant questioning and worrying at this stage is tiresome.  Each night my prayers seem like a broken record- God, please keep her safe. Over and over and over and over again.  When your heart loves this much, you feel consumed by every breath she makes.  This time is so precious, I do not want it to pass, yet I want the newborn worries and fears to pass as I become more confident in my role as mama.  We're good together, Ruthie and I and it's nice to know we're in this together. 

photo - coffee in bed is essential these days.


February 24, 2013

If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these photos but I swear it's as if baby Ruthie came along and my instagram game has been nonstop.  I'm sure all new parents can relate but my goodness, I can't stop snapping photos of her! We're still mostly just hanging around the house these days but  Nick did take us out to lunch last week. We also went in to the city to check out some art galleries Friday night and I got my hair chopped off yesterday (!!) but other than that, we're trying to keep Ru indoors away from the cold and away from potential sickness.  Gosh, we can't wait for it to warm up and flu season to be over so we can start venturing out more!

On another note I need a little mama advice: About when will baby girl start getting on more of a feeding schedule? As much as I love it, I feel like all I do is nurse this baby.  


February 22, 2013

Ashlee writes the blog Where My Heart Resides which is by far one of my most favorite internet spaces.  She has such an honest, kind heart and it is always so refreshing to read her perspective on motherhood, marriage and faith.  This piece on acceptance hits home as a new mom learning as I go. Also, Ashlee's latest post on her blog, My Journey from an Extrovert to an Introvert is so, so good. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since reading it last night. Thank you, Ashlee!

photo of Ashlee and baby Everett

I’ve been a mom for nine months now, and when I think about all the lessons I’ve learned during this journey so far, one sticks out above all the rest.

There is no “right” way to parent.

I will be the first to admit, I was judgy miss judgerson prior to having Everett. I had all sorts of thoughts and opinions about every topic under the sun: epidurals, pacifiers, breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby food, sleep training, how far apart to have kids, scheduling, toys, TV, discipline… name it, I had an opinion on it.

And while I still have some opinions on some matters, I’m slowly learning that motherhood isn’t all black and white. You don’t have to choose this or that, this method or that method. You don’t have to pick a side, or a single philosophy, or one set of rules to follow. You’re allowed to make it up as you go along, to blend ideas, to change your mind. Just because we love being on a schedule doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you think it’s a good idea to have kids close together doesn’t mean I have to.

We’re all different mothers, raising different babies, using different beliefs to guide our decisions.

At the end of the day, I’m going to do what is best for my family, and you are going to do what’s best for your family. One does not equal the other. It doesn’t mean one of us is right and one of us is wrong; we are both doing what we believe is best. It’s okay for us to both be right.

I’m learning that my friendships with other mothers are stronger, better, more vulnerable and more powerful when we both embrace acceptance.

When we accept each other, we validate each other, and therefore, encourage each other.

And if there is one thing we could all use a little more of as new moms, it’s encouragement.


February 20, 2013

I suppose this is what happens when you blog and become a parent.  My entire world has been shifted and what I think, feel, read, and even daydream about pretty much solely revolves around my daughter and family now. I knew this would happen and  I'm more than okay with it. From even before I became pregnant, I dreamed of being a mother.  I knew I would love this job more than anything else in the world and I knew that when my time came to be a mother, this blog would reflect that.  I want to write about the things I'm going through as a new mom, as a parent raising a little girl, as someone who loves this job but also admits to how hard it is.  Parenting is no joke and I want Little One Love to be a place where other moms and parents can come  and relate to the things I'm sharing.  There is so much I need to learn as I navigate through this new chapter and I'm excited to have a place where I'm able to write exactly what's on my heart. I hope you'll stick around....


February 18, 2013

one last bump shot before heading to the hospital
Throughout the second half of my pregnancy, when we found out I had a two vessel umbilical cord, Nick and I were anxious about the growth and health of our baby girl.  At 33 weeks, I needed to go to twice weekly testing to check the amniotic fluid levels, the stress level of the baby and growth scans.  She always looked good, was growing on track and was never under stress but  the thought of something potentially going "wrong" with our growing baby made Nick and I especially anxious for her arrival.  We were told that if around week 36 the levels were low we'd probably just go ahead and induce labor to get her out where she would be safer.  So, with every visit we thought, okay, this could be it. At my normal 38 week appointment we were in for a growth scan, just to make sure the baby was growing on track and were told she hadn't gained an ounce in 2 weeks- that she measured the exact same (5 lbs 5 ounces) as she had two weeks previous- hence was deemed failure to thrive.  Sitting in that ultrasound room with Nick waiting for the tech to come back from speaking with our doctor I became terrified.  Is the baby okay? Why hasn't she grown in 2 weeks? Are we having the baby today then?  I was sent to triage where my doctor would meet us and talk about what was going to happen.  She was amazing and put so much of my anxiety at ease.  She told us to go home for a few hours, come back after you've gotten everything at home squared away and we'll have this baby.  I was overwhelmed and the tears started coming.  My doctor was so wonderful and reassured us that the baby was fine, it was just time.  The next 4 hours at home were beyond bizarre.  We did some laundry, and straightened up, made sure we had everything in the hospital bag that we'd need and ate some lunch.  We were giddy and scared and happy and excited and a whole other slew of emotions I'm not even sure I know how to articulate.  We were having our baby!
The first step was to start with a dose of cervadil to ripen and try to open up my cervix.  I was not at all excited about being induced, knowing my body and the baby weren't quiet ready but I also knew the health of my baby was at risk so I was willing to do whatever needed to be done.  The cervadil needed to be in place for 12 hours so we knew we had a super long night ahead of us.  We got to the hospital around 3, got settled in our room, was given my IV, I was checked (only 1 centimeter dilated) then was given the cervadil around 5:15pm.  Okay, 12 hours to go until I'm ready.  Around midnight that night I was checked again and so naive to what this medicine was capable of doing.  I was ripe which made the check extremely painful yet still not dilated. The pain and the news made me sob.  Nick was there to hold me and tell me it is all going to be okay and that no matter what, we get our baby at the end of all of this. I tried to relax  and get some sleep knowing the induction was going to start in about 5 hours.  I had contractions on and off through the night, nothing super regular so again I felt a bit discouraged.  5am came, I was checked, still not more than a centimeter.  We had a very long day ahead of us.  I was moved to labor and delivery where i'd spend the rest of my time until baby girl was here and pretty immediately we started the pitocin.  I was super nervous about how intense the contractions would be initially but was handling everything pretty well for the next 6ish hours.  I knew I did not want an epidural until I was at least 4 centimeters and even then I wanted to just see how I was coping with my labor and make a decision then.  I took lots of walks around the halls (thank goodness they have rails for contracting in the hallways!) used a birthing ball, got up on the bed on my hands and knees and Nick massaged and supported me the best he could which ended up being the best anyone could.  He was absolutely amazing.  He never left my side and was attentive to my needs without me ever saying a word.
A different doctor from my practice came in around noon to see how I was doing and to check my cervix.  Still only about 1 centimeter.  What the hell! My labor was progressing yet my body was just not cooperating.  My doctor then broke my water which also turned out to be excruciating causing the contractions to then come full force.  I was contracting HARD every 2 to 2 1/5 minutes, for about 60-90 seconds each for a good hour, unable to talk through them, also almost unable to breathe through them.  I was afraid I was going to hyperventilate and started to loose control a bit of how I was handling.  I started crying through most of the contractions which of course did not help my breathing.  I gained some composure, lasted another 30 minutes or so then asked for the epidural.  During those hard contractions my doctor started noticing the baby's heart rate dip with each contraction. She watched for a solid 10 minutes on the monitors in my room and said we needed to start thinking about the possibility of a c-section if baby's heart rate keeps dipping with each contraction so start thinking of questions we may have.  We'd keep a close eye for the next hour and see how she does but with where I was at with only being 1 centimeter, my doctor was not confident in keeping our girl in there with the possibility of who knows how many more hours of labor.  My contractions at this point were so strong and close together that when it came time for my epidural, leaning forward absolutely still was unlike any pain i'd ever experienced.  My nurse was amazing.  She held my shoulders and told me how strong I was the entire time.  I couldn't have gotten through without her.  The rush of pain from the medicine spread through my lower back and hips like fire and then came relief.  I was actually able to relax and for that I'm so thankful I chose to have the epidural.  My body relaxed which I was hopeful would start opening my cervix up.  Internal monitors were put in place and I was turned from side to side to get the baby in proper position for the next hour or so.  Around this time my doctor came back in and told us we just couldn't keep this up.  She had been watching the monitors and baby girl was just not handling labor well and it was time to get her out.  I didn't want to do it, but I more importantly, wanted my baby to be safe.   I suppose this was my first lesson in mothering.  My needs and wants were no longer the priority- my daughter's safety and well being comes first- I'm sure a parenting "lesson" that will continue to reign true for years to come. Nick agreed that we just needed to do what was best for the baby.  We trusted our doctors and decided to go ahead and do the c-section.  What choice did we have really when we could see clear as day on the monitors that our baby's heart rate kept dropping?  The next 5 minutes were a complete blur.  In the instant it was decided we'd be doing a c-section 6 new nurses and an anesthesiologist were in the room prepping me and rolling me out into the operating room.  I frantically asked if we could tell our families first but by the time everyone from the waiting room came into our room, I was on my way out the door.  This is the part of my labor and delivery I'm unhappy about.  It felt so rushed and I felt panicked, short of breathe and terrified.  I was not told that Nick was not able to come with me until I was on the table ready to go so I was laying on the operating room table, shaking uncontrollably, starting to loose it a bit.  I was telling my doctor I could still feel my belly, my arms were hurting, I couldn't stop shaking and where was my husband!? In hindsight, I really lost my cool and regret that I wasn't more relaxed so I could enjoy the fact that my baby girl would be in this world in no more than 15 minutes.  They poked me with needles and asked if I could feel it to which I absolutely could not yet I was still scared I'd feel the initial cut of incision.  Nick came in, finally, and the c-section started.  Literally 1 minute later my doctor said, okay you're going to feel a little pressure, I'm bringing the baby out- here she comes! she's here! WHAT! already? that was so quick! She was here! I heard one little, adorable, thank God I can hear you cry and was shown her sweet little wrinkled up face. Oh my goodness, that is my daughter! While I was being stitched up Nick bounced back and forth from being with our baby to me. I asked to see the placenta (so cool!) and watched as the nurses weighed and measured our girl. Nick could not hold back his tears either and together we sobbed as he told me how beautiful she was and how much he loved me. I was stitched and back on my hospital bed in less than 5 minutes and had my baby girl in my arms a minute after that.  We stared right in each others eyes for a solid 30 seconds and it was the happiest I've ever felt in all my life.  Sweet baby girl was here, safe and healthy.  From the moment I was wheeled out of my room and into the operating room to the moment baby girl was in my arms was no more than 15 minutes.  How in God's name was this sweet little 5.2 ounce, 18 inch long baby inside my belly 15 minutes ago!? The miracle that is birth absolutely blows my mind.  
Looking back on my experience as a whole, I'm really okay with it.  I look at our sweet girl today and don't care how she came into the world.  The fact that she is here and healthy is all that matters to me.  I'm still processing my feelings towards not having delivered vaginally and am not sure where I'm at with it.  I was so scared in the weeks leading up to delivery about the actual delivery, but towards the end I became excited that I was about to do something so amazing and conquer a fear.  I wanted Nick to see me do it and I wanted to be able to say, I did that!  I don't feel like I failed, but I do in some weird way feel like I lost out on an experience.  It's a strange emotion, what I'm feeling.  I'm not angry or bitter.  Just trying to still process the entire thing.  Again, my baby girl is here, safe and healthy and that's what matters the most by far. 
She has the most amazing head of hair, coos the sweetest coos in her sleep, snuggles all the day long, nurses like a pro, and has brought more joy to our lives in the past 10 days than we ever thought imaginable.  Now on to actually raising this little miracle we've been so blessed by.....


February 11, 2013

I can not believe one week has already passed since our Ruthie girl's arrival - 9 days really. We survived and this whole mothering thing, i'm finding, was meant for me.  Is this what happens when you have a kid though? Time seems to suddenly move at an alarming rate? I'm excited and extremely sad at the thought of her growing so quickly.  I want to keep her this way forever, but I also can't wait to watch her little personality come to life.  It's true what they say - once you become a parent, the love you will feel for your child is so immense it almost hurts.  In the 9 days Ruthie has been with us my heart has grown so big I sometimes feel like it might burst.  

ps. Ru is not sleeping on her tummy in this photo- just a few minutes of tummy time -we know all about "back to sleep" :)


February 8, 2013

Just wanted to pop in and introduce our sweet baby girl. Ruthie Claire was born February 2 at 2:44pm weighing in at a whopping 5.2 ounces, 18 inches long. These past 6 days have been the best of my life and I can't get over her every little part. We've done nothing but snuggle, kiss and stare at her precious face and I can't think of a single thing I'd rather be doing. We're literally on cloud 9 over here and can't believe how blessed we are to have been chosen to be this sweet baby's parents.  ps. underneath that hat is the most amazing head of hair. Can't wait to show you more photos soon! For now, it's back to snuggling and soaking in her every single movement, facial expression, and sweet scent....  


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