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6 posts from February 2011

02/25/2011

I Never Thought I'd Love The Flowers And Bows

When we found out we were having a girl I kept saying that I hated hair bows on baby girls. I'd see pictures of other peoples daughter's and these poor kids would be wearing a ginormous flower that is as big as their head. It just looked uncomfortable and well, ugly.

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But then Anna Banana came along and we put a hair bow on her given to us as a gift, snapped some pictures, and I thought she just looked adorable.

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I'm just loving now putting the flowers and bows on her and taking pictures.

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She looks so cute.

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Yes, I'm going back on what I said.

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Yes, she'll probably kill me when she's 16.

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Yes, I'm sorta kinda playing dress-up with my own flesh and blood.

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I never thought I'd say it, but I do love the flowers and bows.

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At least on Anna . . .

02/24/2011

From Mountain Man to Pencil Thin In One Night

With three weeks off for paternity leave Cody wanted to not shave the entire time he was off. Only once before had he gone that long without shaving, and it was when I had gone home from college for the Christmas holiday waaaaayyyy back when we were dating.

(I had, coincidently, gotten Cody a new razor for Christmas so when he picked me up at the airport after the month apart, he ended up shaving his out-of-control facial hair off in the car!)

The growth really started to bug him but he stayed in-it-to-win-it up until the week he headed back to work.

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But he wasn't going to just shave it off. That would be no fun . . .

He started with a plain goatee.

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Little bit by little bit, he changed it up.

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With the two above probably being the worst.

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Well, I take that back. The picture above borders on scary. Not a fan of the pecil thin, but it was one step closer to normal.

02/22/2011

Month One

Anna,

I can’t believe that you’ve been here for a month already. It really has flown by, as it seems just like yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital.

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It was a quiet Sunday morning when we made the short drive home; you were in your newborn-size sweater onesie that just completely swallowed you since you were so tiny! You’d lost 10% of your weight since birth and only weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

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Sage greeted you immediately and Spangler was super-hyper since we’d been gone for three days. We snapped some pictures of your beautiful face and said over and over again how absolutely perfect you looked.

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We took you to the pediatrician’s office Monday morning and your bilirubin levels (high levels indicate a common newborn condition called jaundice) were a bit high, so we took you back Tuesday morning and luckily it had gone down, so we didn’t have to do any special treatments for jaundice.

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Your Grandma came and stayed the night with us the first week we had you home. You had your days and nights mixed up and she stayed awake with you all night long so Mommy could get some sleep (if you can call feeding you every two hours sleep!). It was the first night staying in your crib in your room (the first couple nights we tried having you stay in our room in your pack-and-play) and you’ve stayed there ever since. You just make way too many noises to be in our room, although the video monitor has become our nighttime best friend. We can hear you and watch you AND make the most out of our sleep time!

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We had Daddy home with us for the first three weeks and he was able to get a lot of things done around the house that we were putting off, like installing a new back door since the old one would hardly open. Daddy was hammering off cement from the door jam and you slept right through it, even though it was SO loud!

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We had some pretty crazy snow/ice storms during your second and third week, so we spent a lot of time bundled up at home. I was *forced* to keep you warm so you took a lot of naps on my chest. If you decide to have your own children one day, you’ll understand how wonderful it is. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way you would snuggle so close to me, the little sighs that you’d let out, or even the way you’d smell—a mix of milk-breath and baby lotion.

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Your personality is already coming out in full force. You only cry when you are trying to go to the bathroom or if you’re hungry. You get very mad when can’t eat as fast as you’d like, which is usually during a growth spurt. You’ll pull away and get so angry that you have a hard time starting to eat again.

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Speaking of growth spurts . . . You’ve had two very noticeable growth spurts since you were born. They are two to three days of constant eating, to the point where I think that no amount of food would suffice you! You’ll cluster feed in the evenings, anywhere from two to three hours; you want to eat nonstop. Thank the Lord that you only do that when you’re in a growth spurt, because it’s definitely hard on me to try to feed you for that long.

Mommy has had a couple “bad Mom” moments already. During your first growth spurt at 10 days old I was trying to feed you. It was two o’clock in the morning and you ate at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:00 and 1:40 and you were still acting like you were starving. I felt so helpless. You were crying. I was crying. I was so frustrated with you, and then I felt horrible for feeling so frustrated with a helpless baby. It was a hard night.

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On the lighter side, another “bad Mom” moment was the first time I had you in the car by myself. We were headed to church for the morning ladies Bible study and when I got to church, I realized that I totally messed up the straps of your car carrier. I had your leg through the loop that is supposed to have your arm. Geez. I’m glad you’re so flexible!

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Overall, you are such a good baby. I know I don’t have anything to compare you to but at two weeks you were sleeping for four hours straight at night. Then you’ll eat for 30-45 minutes and go back to sleep for another two to three hours. We’re just hoping that this is not a short-term thing; that you’ll always be such a good sleeper.

You are staying awake longer and longer during the day, even as much as two and a half hours at a time. Your eyes are fully open and we can see your eyelashes.

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When you were first born you were this little person that had been inside me for ten months, but I still didn’t know who you were. This past month we’ve both gotten to know you and now we’ve been blessed with this love for you that is indescribable.

Love,

Mommy

02/17/2011

Just A Little Bit of Fresh Air Is All She Needs

I thought it was just little boys who'd hit fresh air and then potty on everything.

Anna proved me wrong.

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(Cody and I were laughing so hard . . . We had to get a picture.)

I was changing Anna on my lap (mostly out of laziness) and in the 2.6765 seconds that there wasn't a diaper underneath her she decided to potty (and push out a little bit of mustard-yellow-breastfeeding poop) all over my lap.

It was SO much urine that it completely soaked my underwear!

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Was it gross? Sort of.

I was covered in urine, but it was my own daughter's urine. And she went to the bathroom inside my body for almost 10 months. So, I guess it's not so gross after all? Ha!

02/16/2011

What No One Told Me About Post-Delivery

As you’ve been able to tell, I was very much worried and anxious about the delivery of Anna that I really didn't think about preparing myself for what happened after delivery . . . No one tells you that:

You can't get rest in the hospital. Too many people coming in and out. Anna had her own nurse and doctor. I had my own nurse and doctor. There was the seemingly hourly visit from a tech who'd check my blood pressure, temperature, etc. Housekeeping to change sheets and towels. Lactation Consultants. Hospital photographer . . . It was a constant stream of people that had different things to do, regardless of the time of day. We just wanted to be left alone.

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You still look six/seven months pregnant; it's just that now it's not "cute" since there isn't a baby in there anymore. And on the drive home from the hospital Cody hit a bump in the road. My stomach jiggled. Not something I thought about happening.

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You're sweating out what seems to be gallons of liquid, as well as going to the bathroom every hour, as your body gets rid of the excess fluid you've been carrying around. I would wake up to feed Anna and I’d be burning up, sweating up a storm. Cody would be covered in a blanket. It’s usually the opposite around our house, with me covered and blankets and Cody burning up.

The baby doesn't know how to breastfeed, just like you don't know how to breastfeed. It's such a learning process for both people. I didn’t think about or anticipate the different holds, or that there was a possibility of having latching problems, which is what Anna had.

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New babies poop a black/dark-green sticky substance called meconium. I didn't know how to really change a diaper, but quickly got the hang of it since Anna had over 10 dirty diapers her first day.

How much work newborns are. There is no end in sight where if you “just make it through the week you can sleep in on Saturday.” It’s 24/7 . . . all the time. I knew it was like that, but until you experience it, you don’t really *know* it.

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Having any kind of a tear from delivery sucks (and I was just a “stage 1 tear,” my heart goes out to the women with stage 4 tears). Not being able to control your bladder sucks. Really, everything healing just sucks.

How much pure exhaustion can make you feel like crap. Irritability, snapping at the people that love you and are around to help you out. They call it the "baby blues" if you are moody after having a baby. I just call it being tired.

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(See the blue chair on the left side? That converts to a "bed" that Cody slept on for two nights. Yeah, I'm sure it was really comfortable . . .)

How many people show love to you an your child. So much generosity in gifts, time and thoughtful words. It completely took me by surprise how much people gave and it was much needed and appreciated.

I’ve been so fortunate since immediately after Anna's delivery I felt awesome. With an unmedicated birth my side effects from the delivery were very small, but it’s such a life-changing moment that there was just no way we could have prepared for what was going to come.

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I’ll definitely say she’s 100% worth it though.

02/12/2011

Anna Corine Has Arrived!

We were not prepared. I was convinced that she was going to be late, but Anna Corine made her appearance on Friday, January 21st at 4:51am--38 weeks and 2 days along into my pregnancy.

Here is the story of her arrival . . .

On Monday the 17th (Martin Luther King Day) both Cody and I were off of work and I had some very light cramping--it was more annoying than anything. The cramps would come and go throughout the day and I knew that the process of Anna being born was starting, but I also knew that for first-time moms, that process could take weeks.

Tuesday morning I had my standard weekly doctor’s appointment and Dr. U wanted to monitor Anna’s heartbeat for a half hour just to make sure everything was okay. It was nice and strong and we even got to see on the monitor that I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions every eight minutes, although I couldn’t feel them. I was 0% effaced (the cervix will go from about 2-4cm thick during pregnancy to paper thin right before delivery) and 0cm dilated, which means that my body hadn’t started the labor process yet.

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(Passing the time . . . taking pictures of each other while checking email. Fun stuff.)

Dr. U said I was right on target for 38 weeks along and she felt that she’d see me the following Tuesday at my next appointment.

I woke up on Wednesday and started to have cramping that would come either every ten minutes or ever hour—very irregular. I remember describing the pain being similar to someone pinching my leg, more annoying than painful. We even went out to dinner with our friends Randy and Jace. I’d just pause every once in a while when I got a contraction and would go on eating my dinner.

This may sound crazy, but I was totally convinced that these were more Braxton-Hicks contractions, or practice contractions. Everything I had read talked about “real” labor contractions being regular in duration, and these weren’t.

Into Thursday my contractions remained irregular, although they were a little bit more intense than Wednesday’s contractions. I had a three-hour work call at 8am Thursday morning and knew I couldn’t sit through the meeting pretending that everything was okay. I thought I’d work on stuff that needed to get done and just avoid client calls. After lying down mid-morning, I never was able to get myself back to work.

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(Writing down my contractions . . . A self-portrait. I looked in the mirror after using the bathroom and realized how horrible I looked! I had to snap a picture . . . And Spangler illegally keeping me company on the couch to make me feel better!)

Cody got home from work and found me on the couch, which is where I’d been hanging out all day. He made dinner and we continued to time each contraction, 55 seconds long and 7 to 13+ minutes apart. From a pain standpoint, they were to the point where Cody would talk me through each contraction, reminding me to try to stay relaxed and to breathe.

I know it sounds crazy, but we still didn’t think they were “real” labor contractions.

As we got ready for bed I threw the last few items I needed into my hospital “go” bag I had packed the week before and Cody went and got the camera. We joked a bit about how we probably didn’t need to do it as we were going to “really” get ready for the baby that coming Saturday (put the car seat in the car, finish packing, charge cameras, etc.).

The contractions kept coming but were mild enough for me to doze in and out of sleep. I’d be in a half conscience state at each one and then fall back asleep with no problem.

At 1:10am I had a contraction and was jolted awake by the sensation that I was wetting the bed. I woke Cody up with, “Cody. Cody! I think my water just broke.” I ran into the bathroom and sure enough, every minute or so, amniotic fluid would leak out. (Sorry for any man reading this, but in full disclosure, my mucus plug then came out.) I also started shivering pretty bad.

To say that we really didn’t know what to do was a total understatement! We knew that I needed to get to the hospital as my water breaking meant that she would be born that day. But, it was 22 degrees outside and I somehow needed to get myself dressed and in the car, while leaking fluid. (Spangler slept through the entire ordeal.)

A pair of old pants and an old towel later, we were in the car and made the drive to the hospital. Cody pulled up at the drop off point and walked me to the check-in counter.

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It was a bit anticlimactic at this point as they needed some paperwork filled out. (Yes, I know . . . I guess they have to do it . . . Luckily, Cody was there to fill it out for me.). I then had to go pee in a cup and change into a hospital gown. They were able to then verify that my water did indeed break and they then checked to see my progress.

Holy. Cow. I was 100% effaced and 4cm dilated. I was for sure in labor.

They put in an IV (I did much better than in the ER back when I found out I was pregnant, but it took three attempts because I kept pulling it out—after attempt two Cody told the nurse to stop telling me when she was putting it in) and did a blood draw to figure out my platelet counts. I was then moved upstairs to a Labor & Delivery room. They also called Dr. U.

It was 3am by this point and I was contracting much more regularly and they became much more intense. Cody called our families and our Doula, Caressa. Caressa showed up fairly quickly since she lives pretty close to the hospital and started to help Cody in talking me through the contractions.

Looking back, the next hour seems like a bit of a blur.

Dr. U showed up and checked in on me, but was waiting for my platelet counts to see what we were working with. She went to consult the anesthesiologist in case of an emergency c-section. My sister, Steph, was the next person to get to the hospital and joined us in the room, although by that time I really couldn’t talk to her as it took so much focus to get through each contraction and to try to relax during the short breaks between each one. The pain was starting to become too much and the idea of an epidural was sounding like heaven.

I don’t know if my platelets would have allowed me to qualify for an epidural or not as the nurse checked me and it was announced that I was already dilated to 9cm. Anna was coming quick and fast and I was past the point of getting any pain medication. Steph was sent to the waiting room, as delivery was eminent. The contractions were almost constant and suddenly I had this huge urge to push. I was checked again and although I was at the full 10cm, I had a lip in my cervix, which needed to go down before she’d fit through. I had Cody, Caressa, Dr. U and the nurses all telling me (well, more like yelling at me since I wasn’t listening) to stop pushing and it took everything I had to not push and I still ended up pushing a few times with each contraction. Caressa was trying to get me to grunt through the urges but she told me later that I would have none of it!

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Caressa wanted to change my position (I was on my back) to get me on all fours in the hopes that gravity would do its thing and push the lip open. I was being a bit difficult (again) because the idea of moving AT ALL was not appealing to me, but with Cody telling me that I really needed to do it I flipped around and after three or four contractions Dr. U checked me again and the lip was gone! I heard the most WONDERFUL words come out of her mouth, which were that I could finally push.

I was put on my back again and with the next contraction Anna’s head crowned. Dr. U warned me that I was about to tear and gave me a shot of local anesthesia in anticipation of the tear. The next contraction came and I pushed her head out. Then, with the next contraction, I heard, “She’s out!” and she was placed on my stomach.

The contractions stopped immediately and Cody and I were left staring at our little girl.

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I couldn’t have written Anna’s birth out to go any better than it did. All of that anxiety, stress and worry was for nothing. So many people to thank.

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It was as if God was showing me that He was in control the entire time. I felt His presence with me, especially when I would call out to Him in the middle of a painful contraction. It was a huge moment for me as I learned that I am not in control of my life, and I need to stop trying to be.

Cody was amazing. He was next to me the entire time and was full of encouraging words. It’s indescribable, but to be able to create life with your best friend is such an amazing experience. It was something we did together. He was with me through everything . . . the scary trip to the ER when I was just weeks pregnant, the doctor’s appointments, the blood draws, and now the birth. I love him so much and going through Anna’s birth together brought us closer than I could have ever imagined.

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Dr. U, who put up with my anxiety and craziness during my pregnancy, and made it just in time to deliver Anna. I am fortunate to have a doctor that I trusted and who made sure she did everything to keep Anna and me safe during the pregnancy.

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Caressa, who, early on in my pregnancy I’d talk or meet with her and we’d talk through my fears and anxieties and she’d pray for me. I firmly believe that if she wasn’t in the room with me during delivery that I could have easily wound up with an emergency c-section because of the lip in my cervix. The nurses, although very good at what they do, are not used to dealing with an unmedicated birth. It was Caressa that thought out-of-the-box and flipped me over, using gravity to open my cervix to where Anna could be born. I know that God placed her in that room for that very reason, and I will always be thankful for her. (Especially since I have nothing to hide from her now that she’s seen me give birth—Ha!)

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My family, who not only showed up at the hospital super early, but who were excited about Anna’s arrival.

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To have the people I love show love for my daughter is just priceless. (My little sister, Lizzie, and Cody's family showed up at the hospital later that day!)

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And finally, Anna Corine, who has already changed our lives for the better.