07 Mar

Jack in the Fox!

Little Jack is one month old today. It’s been an amazing month, so full to the brim with love and joy. There’s been some dark spots to be sure but any sadness is overwhelmed by the sweetness of my baby boy. 

In the beginning, there were significant rough patches. I won’t go into too much detail but I’m not ashamed to admit that postpartum anxiety and depression paid me a visit. Things are improving slowly and steadily. I’m getting between four and six hours of sleep a night and snagging a nap during the day. The biggest frustration right now seems to be my milk supply. It’s so finicky!! I’m engorged in the morning and drained in the evening. I can’t wait for it to even out!

There are some significant things I want to remember:

All of the baby smells. I love every scent associated with Jack. I seriously love the otherwise repulsive smells. His diapers don’t smell bad at all!! 

His hands. They are so tiny and yet so big. I love how he moves them in his sleep. I love how he holds my breast when nursing. I love his grip on my finger. I love to kiss his fingers. 

Waking up and seeing his face. We are bed sharing right now because it’s the only thing that works. I love waking up and looking down and seeing him. He is so sweet and peaceful when he’s sleeping. 

Speaking of sleep… I love his sleepy expressions! He moves through a whole range of emotions while he sleeps usually starting with a gummy grin. I’ve seen smirks, sly smiles, huge grins, anger, pouting, consternation, surprise, and fear. All while his eyes are closed! Sometimes a laugh will sneak out. Other times, he will cry out in fear or pain. It’s all sweetly precious. 

Oh. Yes. Also, he is so cute when he cries!! He goes “ooo-WAAH!” and I can’t stand it. 

I’m sure I’m missing things but Jack just fell asleep so I’m going to try and snag a wink. Here are some photos I took of him at three weeks old and one on his one month birthday. 

09 Feb

First off, a few disclaimers: this is my birth story and it will likely be very different from yours. 

And that’s great! We all have unique situations so respecting the differences is normal. Next, I would NOT have had such a positive outcome if I didn’t have an amazing support team. Nick was an awesome birth coach. My nurses we stellar. The doctor who did the delivery was perfect. Jack was awesome. Thanks to them, I can look back with fondness on February 7, 2017. But now, without further ado, Jack’s birth!

On the 2nd, I saw one of my OBs and she stretched and stripped me a bit. I had cramps and bloody show that night but didn’t think anything was serious enough to warrant concern. In truth, I went into labor that evening, I just didn’t know it because I’d never done any of this before. 

From Thursday to Monday, I suffered through pre-labor symptoms that I kept brushing aside as too weak to be anything significant. Oh, how wrong I was!! 
Sunday to Monday I got about 5 hours of sleep and spent the day putzing around. I felt physically great (other than the sciatica) and debated going to work. 

Ultimately I decided against it and made Nick a super tasty dinner of mini meatloaf and vowed to go to bed early to catch up on lost sleep. Nick and I also wanted to try some sexy business but it failed and we just snuggled down for and early night. Nick was asleep for just about 5 minutes when I sneezed. I felt an ache under my boobs and a moment later I heard and felt a POP! My water had broken from a sneeze at exactly 12:57AM!! I woke Nicky up and called L&D. The on-call doc suggested I rest up and wait 8 hours or so to come in. 

I tried. I really, really did! But the contractions were strong. My whole body was shaking so hard. I actually gave up on a natural birth at this point, believing I was so weak that I couldn’t even stand pre-labor. The contractions were about 30-50 seconds long and coming reliably every 5 minutes. After calling my mom and talking to her for a bit, I broke down around 2:30 and we headed to the hospital. 

When we arrived, the on-call doc was there and condescendingly suggested that I was weak and came in too soon. A quick check showed I was at 4cm and 90% effaced. I was strapped in to monitors and shown to a room. I spent the next couple of hours laboring as quietly as possible on my left side while Nicky slept. My blood pressure was moderately high but my labs came back clear for preeclampsia. 

At around 7AM the doc came in and said she was going to start me on pitocin to “jump start” my labor. I felt SO DEFEATED!! I had thought I was in labor! That’s when my angel of a nurse came to my defense. She told doc I was experiencing some intense contractions and they must not be showing on the monitor due to being on my side. I flopped onto my back and suddenly the monitor flared to life, registering some big, strong, regular contractions. The doc left in a huff, saying under her breath how she’d already put the order in for pitocin. 

Shift change at 8AM saw my first L&D angel nurse leave and a new one take over. The first was named Jamie. The second was Kelly and if these two hadn’t been a part of my team, I wouldn’t have done it. The same goes for my husband, son, the doctor who actually did the delivery, and a high school senior who wants to be an obstetrician who asked to witness my labor and birth. 

Kelly stood by me as I labored and suggested I get in the shower and use a birth ball. I wanted both of these things so I leapt at the chance. At this point everyone thought that I, as a first time mom who was only at 4 cm about 5 hours ago, had many, many hours to go. I had convinced myself that what I felt wasn’t that bad. When Kelly asked my pain level, I’d moan back “Four. Maybe. It’s tolerable. I can do this.” I still thought there was so much time left! 

Oh, yeah. By the way. You can totally talk through contractions if you think they aren’t real. It’s tough and you growl, grunt, moan, and gasp your words but totally doable. 

At 8:57AM Kelly came in and got me hooked back up to monitors to check baby and my progress. She witnessed me riding wave after wave of contractions. She and Nick just kept talking to me, encouraging me and praising me. This positive reinforcement was key. I hopped in the shower for a few minutes before I realized that the urge to poop I was feeling was actually maybe an urge to push my baby out. I called for Kelly and she checked me and OOPS!! I was 9 centimeters, totally thinned out, with a baby on the way.

A flurry of activity occurred and all I remember is the darling high school student, Tyler, and Nick helping me hold my legs. I was so FREAKING TIRED at this point because I had been up nonstop for around 30 hours. The delivery doctor swooped in and he was one I had actually seen during some of my prenatal visits. I was worried at first that I got him because he was my least favorite but he did a stellar job and I’m grateful I got him. 

It took me a lot of tries to figure out pushing. I was just so damn tired. I almost fell asleep between contractions and actually missed pushing during at least two of them. But my team was cheering me on!! Kelly called me a “rock star” and Tyler was in awe. Nick never ever stopped talking even when I screamed in his ear, clawed his back, and pulled his hair. 

What gave me the final burst I needed was reaching down and feeling a full head of wavy hair. My god that was awesome!!! I pushed and pushed. Doc was going to do an episiotomy but held back, not wanting to intervene at all in my natural delivery. Instead he guided a tear and let my body do what it needed to do.

At 10:03AM on February 7th, my son Jack was born. He weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. He was placed on my stomach and opened his eyes. He stared at me so intently and was so alert. I was stitched up, handling the pain very well thanks to my son’s gorgeous face and deep, earnest stare. I spoke softly to him and it was so obvious he knew my voice. 

Tyler, the student, felt very faint after everything and had to leave for a bit but was back and had a new, deep appreciation for life. Nick had tears in his eyes and was beside himself with love. My normally unenthusiastic doctor was thrilled with me. Kelly could hardly contain her joy at my success. She asked me my pain level. I told her four.

Jack and I enjoyed our golden two hours and he took to breastfeeding like a champ. He has passed every exam with flying colors. That thick, full head of hair made him a staff favorite. I kept my rock star status, recovering beautifully. We left the hospital on February 8th, approximately 36 hours after arriving. 

08 Oct

22 Weeks, 1 Day!

It’s been a while but a lot has happened! Perhaps the biggest news is that the little Nugget that was only a couple weeks old in a previous post has grown! The Nugget is now a 22-week old fetus and is VERY active! I love this little baby so much it’s a bit ridiculous. 

During the first trimester, I had some rough times. I lost around 13 pounds and hemorrhage my esophagus. I was vomiting three to five time daily during the worst of it. I ended up dropping one of my summer courses but it all turned out okay. More on that later, though…

With the exception of the very first OB visit, Nick had been with me for every tummy check and ultrasound. He is unbelievably supportive. I literally have no clue how I would have made it through some of the rough parts without him. Nick learned the baby’s gender during our 20 week ultrasound but I have opted to remain ignorant. I kind of love not knowing while he knows… 

As for a symptom update, well… it’s all pretty normal pregnancy stuff! I’ve got a healthy, somewhat large, active baby and a body that is changing to accommodate said baby. I’ve got sciatica like a BEAST in my left hip. I pee all the time. My breasts are absolutely ginormous. My round ligament is protesting so much stretching. Fatigue and hunger hound me constantly. AND I AM SO HAPPY! 

The baby is due in February and I just can’t wait! 

Now I mentioned something about school earlier. I’ll keep this short and sweet…

I GRADUATED! 

I am also no longer taking classes this semester because the college made a huge mistake with regards to my degree requirements. I didn’t need to take classes so I dropped and requested refunds. I am getting my refunds and my degree and yay! Not having class is awesome. I can work lots and focus on baby when I need to. The refunded tuition is a nice little boost to our future fund, too!

OH! I also got a new car. It’s a shiny, red 2016 Prius because I’m a tree-hugger. Sometimes I drive my Prius to mommy yoga. Sometimes I drive it to the recycling center. Whenever I drive it, though, one thing is for sure! I’m a hypermiler and damn proud of it!

Lastly, as a bonus, have some photos from random times throughout the summer. 

07 Jun

3 weeks, 3 days

I’ve had 2 positive tests and, as of today, I have officially missed my period in its entirety. 

But that isn’t really what I want to document here. I want you to know how I feel in this very early and still uncertain stage.

There have been close-calls in the past but none as sure as this one. I’ve never had a positive test before! Just a sketchy feeling, an intense hope, a deep desire. That feeling is still present but there’s also a totally missed period and tests backing it up. 

I am elated. I am seriously beyond excited. I cannot fathom my future and for once, that uncertainty is a nice feeling. It’s not dreadful… Just expectant. Which is to be expected when you’re expecting. I am so focused on what’s going on inside of me that the bad things going on around me don’t matter so much. The negativity no longer matters. 

I can’t wait to meet this person! I hope this little buddy sticks around. 3 weeks isn’t very far along and I’m fully aware that many things can go wrong but I’m also aware that more often than not, those things don’t happen! I’m planning for a full term, healthy baby to be born in February. 

Due date calculators put baby due in the first week of February. I haven’t yet seen a doctor (but I have an appointment scheduled next week) but I feel the date is a little later than that. A second or third week of February date seems more accurate but we’ll see. 

In the meantime, I have a few symptoms to report: Breast tenderness has been rampant for the last week. They aren’t just sore – they also feel like there’s scalding, twitchy fibers running through them from the nipple inwards. I’m also sooooo fatigued. Though I did have a wonky sleep schedule over the weekend so that could do it. Lastly, as of today, nausea. I’m munching some saltines and water and burping. Ugh. It’s not bad enough to vomit though I did dry heave once but it is causing some righteous vertigo. I guess the vertigo can be its own symptom. 
Official reveals will come in July. I’m planning a little get-together for my mom and will make the official announcement for her then. Sue and Shelly will get their announcements when we are all together for Pierogi Fest at the end of July. It is unbelievably difficult to not tell Shelly and my mom. I kind of tell them everything and turn to them for support and advice. Not having access to them as resources has left me scrambling. I can make it a few more weeks then I can give them the news. … I hope!

That’s pretty much it for now. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure this little mote of life has the best shot I can give it. Wish me luck!

08 Aug

The 1st Gallery

Galleries! Or maybe just gallery right now. 

I decided to juice up the way I’m going to put photos here and went and got Juicebox. It’s kind of awesome! It allows me to do clean and simple galleries that work on pretty much every device. PCs, Macs, iPhones, Android, and various tablets. 

My first gallery is of those fancy snowflakes because they’re pretty and all ready to go. 

Check it out! 
Gallery – Snowflakes
On a not photo-related note oh lord hormones make me sick sometimes. Ugh. 

04 Aug

Dinner is good!

Tasty Gnocchi with Veggies. I would have totally gotten a picture but I ate it all first. :[ Maybe next time!  

Ingredients 

Make/buy gnocchi – we used a baggy of homemade spinach and sweet potato gnocchi that Nicky and I made 

1 zucchini, chopped into rounds or spears – your choice!

1 summer squash, chopped into rounds or spears!

1 good-sized shallot chopped up

1 glove garlic, minced 

Olive oil

Sherry

Italian seasoning

White pepper

Shredded asiago cheese

Directions 

Prepare ingredients as directed. Put shallot and garlic in pan with olive oil and sauté on low/medium heat until the shallots are starting to turn clear. Turn heat up and add zucchini and squash. Add Italian seasoning and white pepper. Sauté – allow the veggies to brown to bring out the flavor. 

While sautéing the shallots and garlic, put water on to boil for the gnocchi. Once boiling, put gnocchi in water and boil until they float then drain. If store-bought, cook gnocchi per the directions. 

Put cooked gnocchi in the pan with the vegetables and sauté. Once gnocchi are lightly browned reduce heat and add sherry and reduce a few minutes. 

Serve with shredded Asiago cheese and a light wine. I prefer Leelanau Cellars’ Summer Sunset. Fresh fruit makes the perfect dessert!

Try it out! Mix up the veggies. This dish would go great with carrots, asparagus, and eggplant. Enjoy!

04 Aug

Practice Page 1!

So I’m going to try and learn Japanese (again?) because of reasons. Okay, I should say my reason. My reason is because I’d like to help my kid(s) be bilingual without relying on a romance language. So I’ve picked Japanese because I have more background in it than any other non-Spanish second language.

And for the record, I took Japanese in elementary school! I also took two semesters of it some years ago. I remember a little but not nearly enough.

I’m going to be using textfugu.com, the Genki texts, and lots and lots of podcasts. I’ll try to keep my progress updated here because this type of thing will help reinforce good habits.

kk here’s my practice:

1. Should I bother to learn romaji?

NO!

2. Which “alphabet” is used to write all the “vocabulary words.

Kanji

3. Where did kanji come from?

The Chinese. Again and again and again.

4. Which “alphabet” do you use to write foreign words?

Katakana

5. Which “alphabet” tends to be more “boxy shaped” and “rigid.”

Katakana

6. Do Hiragana and Katakana consist of the same sounds?

Yes

7. Which “alphabets” are you going to learn on TextFugu?

Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji

8. Which “alphabet” would you use to write the “Roma” in Romaji (Roma = Rome).

Katakana

I guess I need to get a Japanese kana thing for this.

WISH ME LUCK!