Sunday, February 19, 2012

A few shots from the hospital
(Greg and I are not so great about simply thinking to take photos. That's going to change, obviously; it already has!) So here's a select few from Saturday, starting from when I really started to feel the contractions and couldn't find a comfortable position to be in (I'll post the labor & delivery story soon) Then one of the first photos that Greg took of her little face after they bathed her and handed her to me. Then, Mila & I cuddling on Sunday morning from our room on the maternity floor (she was born Saturday evening). Then, a truly hilarious photo of her in her carseat; Greg brought it up to the room before we were discharged to make sure we fit the straps to her so we wouldn't have to do it in the car (it was raining and freezing outside when we were discharged on Monday at 4pm). And lastly, the classic shot of me carrying her in the wheelchair prior to getting in the car and bringing her home!


the sweetest face

Mila Jolie is here and she could not be more perfect. I have so much to write about, but not a ton of time or energy. For now, I wanted to post some photos, as much in chronological order as I can. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2/11 appointment

Back to Dr. Chou's office this morning at 9:30am. It's nice having morning appointments with all this angst. 
This appointment completely mirrored the last one. She checked my cervix to find that I'm no further dilated. She did an ultrasound to check the fluid level which was still fine. I told her that, though I had only been awake since 8:30am, I hadn't felt a ton of movement. Only a couple little dances, and they were soft and slow. We then went to the other room for the fetal heart rate monitoring. This time, after the 20 minutes were up, the nurse came in and said that I needed to drink some cold water. She gave me a cup and I drank it. More time went by and she checked again and brought me more cold water. This time I asked why. She said the baby wasn't moving enough, so we needed to help wake her up. I started getting nervous. By this time, also, my lower back hurt sooo bad. I wondered if it were from the position I was in; this was the longest I had lay on my back for 9 months. 
Finally, after 50 minutes, the nurse confirmed that she was moving more-so and we didn't have to keep monitoring. I was incredibly relieved to be able to sit up; both she and Greg grabbed an arm and helped me up. During the 50 minutes I counted about 20 movements. 
We met Dr. Chou back in the original room. She said everything seemed good. The concern, and the reason for the cold water, was that if a full-term baby stops moving as much, you can assume that she's pooped inside the womb. This is very risky because she could then inhale it. They would only poop because they're stressed. Babies that have produced this poop (called meconium(sp?)) have a slower heart rate. Yet, since hers went up after cold water, my doctor wasn't concerned.
And so, after another almost two hour appointment, she turned to us and asked us what we wanted to do. Suddenly, despite all of our conversations, I went blank and couldn't answer. Did we want to induce? Or not? I asked her to confirm that everything was fine and there's no sense of urgency. She said yes, we were in good shape and technically have the option. She then gave us two ideas: we either induce over the weekend, or we come back for another appointment on Monday afternoon. 
We decided to make the Monday appt but call her by Friday if we decide we want to be induced over the weekend instead.
This left us with plenty to discuss. I said I didn't want a Valentine's Day baby. We casually said it'd be super cool to have her bday be 2/12/12. We then said we hated the idea of having to pick her bday. We kept going back and forth. How nice to have it planned! (me). Let's leave it up to her! (greg). We went out to lunch (this maternity/paternity leave sans child is costing us so much money) and made a pro/con list for inducing. 
Here it is: 
We get her in 3 days at most
Better prepared (force us to finish packing the bag!)
Dr. Chou on same page (she would agree to being available)
Prevents possible complications (of leaving her cooking for too long)
Peace of mind (know when it's coming)
Greg's mom can plan trip from AZ
Baby won't get too big
Forcing the issue (as opposed to letting her come when she's ready)
Picking her birthday
Losing the element of surprise
Choosing time of day to be admitted (day? night? maybe we won't have a choice)
Little knowledge of any physical, negative effects of petocin (the hormone that they give you to stimulate labor)

To be continued...

week 40

2/9: Two days post-due date. After eating at Green Street Restaurant behind Lake in Pasadena


Due Date Appointment

I decided I'm going to forget about back-tracking and accounting all these days off that I've had, because they've all blurred together now (now that I'm finishing up day 9!). I can summarize: tons & tons of eating out, waking up without an alarm clock, walking around town, cleaning, and eating out some more.
Ok, let's skip to missy's due date, 2/7 (also my mom's bday!)
We were so hoping we wouldn't make it to this appointment! I thought for sure we'd have her before then. No valid reason why~it was just my wishful thinking ;) Alas, we arrived at 8:30am for our appointment with Dr. Chou. 
First, she checked my cervix. Still only a cm dilated, possibly 1.5. Bummer. At least it didn't hurt quite as much as the last exam did. 
Then, she did an ultrasound. We got to see the screen but she didn't spend much time explaining what each white blur was; it was more about checking her fluid levels. I told her my concern about how full-term babies are at risk for low fluid levels, based on what I had been reading. She happily reported that we were in good shape. She asked if the baby is as active as ever. That's the one question she would ask us at every appointment, especially towards the end. I said yes. 
Then she said I'd go to a different room and monitor the fetal heartbeat. Afterwards, we would meet up again and talk about what we wanted to do. She said that we could induce if we wanted to, especially since my cervix was a bit dilated and effaced; meaning it was in good shape for induction. She then asked if we wanted to be induced. My response was 'we want to do what you recommend.' And Greg's response was 'we do want her to come naturally, on her own.....but we also value your opinion' to which I nodded in agreement. Dr. Chou said that she agreed; ideally, she would come on her own. Yet she had the concern that the longer things go, the bigger she will get. This part I didn't really get, because she's probably only about 7 lbs, and really that's no cause for concern. (In recent news, a woman gave birth to a 13 lb baby in Iowa, and another to a 15 lb baby in China(!)). 
Anyway, we went and monitored the heart rate, as seen in the photo below:
haha. I look pretty funny. And my belly looks huge. Those are the same bands they put on you when you're admitted into labor and delivery, so that you're constantly listening to her heartbeat, and there's also a squiggly line that indicates contractions and her movement, like what you see on the news when there's been an earthquake. Here was hers:
What you see above is all good. Steady and strong heartbeat and movements, indicating good activity coming from her. After 20 minutes we got to go back to the other room and Dr. Chou joined us in there. She said everything looks great, there's no cause for concern, but until she arrives we'll need to monitor things closely, so we agreed to return two days later, for the same appointment. She said, depending on that appointment, we would then talk about possibly inducing. She mentioned the weekend, we didn't ask why. We later deduced that the weekend is best for her since she doesn't have appointments that she'd have to cancel. Fair enough. We said goodbye and realized we had been there for almost two hours(!)

So we continued on with our day. By the way, Sunday, 2/5, was Greg's last day at work for three weeks. So he's officially on 'paternity leave' to coincide with my maternity leave. He had to give notice way in advance so we took a risk and decided on the 5th. He returns to work on Monday 2/27, yay!

Amongst more restaurant-dining, we talked about how we felt about inducing labor. It's a tough decision that we didn't necessarily feel ready to, or compelled to make. I think we've remained hopeful that by the Thursday appointment, I'll have dilated more. And/or maybe we wouldn't make it to the Thursday appointment!

To be continued...

Maternity Leave Day 4

Yikes, I should have kept this up daily instead of relying on my pregnant 'memory' (lack thereof is more like it). I think that on Saturday 2/4 I was incredibly lazy. Greg worked 1pm-9pm and I stayed in and I think the only productive thing I did was a load of dishes; otherwise I spent a lot of time on the couch.

Friday, February 3, 2012

maternity leave day 3

Day 3. It's only noon but I feel like I've already gotten a lot done. I stripped the bed and am washing all our linen. I've cleaned everything off the floor of the nursery so that I can vacuum. That explains why the swing is in the center of the room. I'm still writing thank you cards for baby gifts that we continue to receive(!) This little lady is so spoiled already, but really, it's that the three of us are so blessed to have the friends and family that we do. 
I love so many elements of the nursery. I love all the white. I love the Ikea dresser. I love the stuffed animals on the ladder. And I really love the 'library wall' with all the books from Grandma Peggy & others. Maybe we'll extend the wall down, buying more shelves so that some can be at her reach for when she's mobile and wants a puffy book to chew on. 
My mom is headed over to go to lunch and then Target for nursing attire. Then, our friend Chelle will stop by. Greg is working 11am-7pm tonight so we'll get to eat dinner together which is an extreme rarity. 
Plus, it's another beautiful day~75 degrees or so. Aside from the fact that I haven't gone into labor yet but am anxious to do so, I really have nothing to complain about :)

maternity leave day 2

Yesterday was a great day. Greg and I woke up sans alarm, got dressed, and headed out to: Osh, the Goodwill local drop-off truck, the bank, Nordstrom Rack, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Baja Fresh. To prove that she is indeed dropping (despite what some tell me when they look at me; boo to them!) I had to pee in three of those stores. So, the pressure is definitely greater down there, and I can no longer 'hold it' like I used to. 
Anyway, Greg had to work from 4pm-midnight so he took the car and I stayed put. I did two loads of laundry, planted some new houseplants (that was the nicest part of the day) went on a walk, did my yoga dvd, heated up leftover 'stacked' enchiladas, and watched dumb tv.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

maternity leave

My maternity leave has officially commenced. We decided that it's safer to wait things out at home. Not much sense in pushing three more work days out of me (meaning Thurs, Fri, and Sat; as Sun & Mon are already my days off & then Tues is the due date and hopefully by then she'll be here(!)). There's not much going on at work anyway, so I'm not missing anything and I had already prepped my work load so that it would be ready for my colleague to take over. The pain that I felt two nights ago is not something I want to experience while sitting at my desk. So, it's time for me to be a hermit crab. I will hopefully get plenty of things done (wash our linen, find a new home in the kitchen for all the baby stuff & formula, maybe even unzip our couch and wash the cushion covers). I'll then have peace of mind when we end up leaving for the hospital (oh! I still need to pack my hospital bag too) because of my 'control freak' issue, I need to feel more prepared. 
(images from the blog exPress-o, regarding a project titled MAMA: Motherhood Around the World)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

turns out, patience isn't my strong suit

I am a control freak. I've known it all along; I love controlling things at work, and at home. I love having a 'handle' on things, and more than I care to admit, I like routine. That said, I want to talk about how I've been feeling emotionally lately.
I've been having a very hard time with not knowing when this little lady will be here. The anxiety set in about 2 or 3 weeks ago. I've since calmed down a bit. I try and tell myself that for centuries, women never had due dates. Neither did they have ultrasounds, or epidurals. But really, talk about a guessing game. Their calendar was based on full moons. I really have nothing to complain about. I need to keep reminding myself of this....but in these modern times, with (too much) information 'out there,' it's not easy for me. You hear often that first babies are usually late. But I swear, practically everyone I know, or every article I read, talks about early first babies so I gladly set upon myself the expectation that mine would be early as well. For once in my life, I felt compelled towards optimism (meaning, I for some reason want her early, so I'm believing it's going to happen). But it's screwing me over emotionally. I know I need to just let it go. She'll come when she's ready. I don't want to rush anything! But not knowing when to stop working, when to stop making plans, when to stop driving on the freeway by myself just in case....I'm not loving it. Yes, I'm physically uncomfortable and ready to have my mobility back, but more-so, the end of this pregnancy has been harder mentally. At least I have plenty to keep me busy, and a husband to keep me grounded. I'll continue the day-by-day....
(photo seen on sho & tell. Tick-tock, tick-tock... ;)

great advice

Thank you, Milt & Edie's of Toluca Lake. I always love reading your little blurbs, and this one in particular is one that I really really need to remember to always abide by.

Thank you, Grandma Peggy!!

Um, I'm sorry, I don't know how to rotate the photo. At least all those covers are recognizable enough, even sideways. My maternal Grandma Peggy, who lives in the Bay Area, shipped 11 classic children's books to us! They arrived today and I couldn't open the box fast enough, I was so excited. They were all gift-wrapped, even. Some were off our registry, and others were some of her favorites. My grandma is the perfect giver of children's books, as she raised five children of her own, and was the best preschool teacher ever. Receiving these books as gifts is priceless and timeless. The library wall in the nursery is now complete!


It's the first of February. We officially will not have a January baby. The only question is; when exactly will she arrive?
I thought for sure it was going to happen last night. I went to bed around 11pm and as usual, woke up about every hour to move, or pee, or walk around. At 3am or so, I woke up in very intense pain. My entire lower abdomen was aching, like menstrual cramps but spread wide from hip to hip, and up and down. The kind of pain that is crippling; I could hardly walk. Then I sat down to pee, and either the sitting position, or the pushing to pee, wreaked havoc on my back. My entire lower back felt like it was on fire. Not like a pinched nerve but like a backache, and that was worse than the stomach ache. 
I got back in bed and curled up and managed to fall back asleep. I was up and down every hour, trying to figure out what the pain was; early labor? false labor? After googling it in bed (i <3 my iphone) I determined it was false labor. The pain (contractions? I still don't know but I would bet) were too inconsistent to even time, really. Plus I kept falling back asleep. Throughout all this I chose not to wake Greg up. At around 7am he stirred, so I said "Are you awake? I don't think this is it, but I've been in a lot of pain" so we talked it through and I texted my boss and called my parents. Got back into bed, and slept on and off until 9 or so. 
It's now 9pm as I type this and I haven't felt the pain since 8am. I did not go into work. However, I felt normal enough to make myself a bagel and get dressed. Greg had today off luckily, so we stuck to his original plan which was an 11am appointment at the highway patrol, and I went along. They check your carseat installation for free. (During our hospital tour, we learned that 82% of carseats are installed incorrectly, and sure enough, ours was wrong). The officer was super nice and we learned more than I thought there was to know! We then went to Corner Bakery and I ate again; potatoes and eggs. I sure did have a strong appetite today. 
Afterwards, we came back home and got so much done. I feel so much better about our to-do list around the house; though there are still plenty of tasks to tend to, I at least feel so much better about the nursery. 
Overall, today was a great day and I'm glad that I listened to my body. Sure, I could have managed work after all, but I knew I wouldn't miss much as we've been so slow lately, plus what if the pains returned? I'd be screwed. 
So, now I feel like I've caught a glimpse into what contractions feel like. At least, that's what I'm assuming~perhaps I'll find out soon enough that they weren't. Either way, I'm looking forward to trying my best to describe to future pregnant friends of mine what contractions truly feel like, as you don't find descriptions in books.
We'll see how tonight goes.....!

39 weeks

We had our usual Monday appointment, and it was an eventful one. We were treated to an ultrasound! I was so surprised. It's funny how excited I get. She also checked my cervix again. Yes, as much insight as possible, please!
She said that last month when she did the ultrasound and, based on measurements, figured that the baby was only 5lbs, she was concerned. So she wanted to measure again. This time, she was able to figure that the little lady has reached about 6lbs 13oz. She (doctor) was so pleased! The perfect size....not too much for me to deal with, yet healthier than being too petite. 
The cervix-check (which hurt) showed that I was still only 1 cm dilated, yet supposedly more effaced, though she didn't give us a percentage. She then said the magical words 'I doubt you'll go past your due date.' Ahhhhh! I think Greg went pale ;) That hit it home. I mean, who knows, she easily could. She could still be late! But still so fun to hear that from our doctor. 
Our next appt is on the due date, 2/7 (happy bday to my mom) at 8:30am. We'll see if that appt actually takes place!