Friday, December 19, 2014

Back to the Woods

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
: July 13, 2010 by Scholastic Press
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2
Back when I read Linger I enjoyed it, but I didn't quite get what all the fuss was about. This time though, while I may not have fallen in love, I am starting to get why people love these books so much.

I feel like a lot more happened in this one than the last. Yes, there were a few plot points that you could see coming, yet there was still a need to keep reading to see how it would unfold. Even expecting it, the ending was still shocking and has me dying to read the third of this series.

This book was told from the perspective of four different characters, Grace, Sam, Isabel, and Cole. In general, I actually liked this arrangement since we were able to see what so many were thinking. But even so, it did get a bit confusing at times, and there were several occasions where I had to double check to see which character I was on.

I had heard that this series gets better, which I'm definitely finding to be true. My hope now is that the third book is even better than this. Considering that overall this series has been a bit of a letdown for me, although still very much enjoyable, I'm trying not to build the hype too much, but I can't wait to see how everything will resolve itself.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Baby Story

I know not everyone is a fan of reading birth stories. But there are also crazy people out there like me who loved reading them long before I was even ready to be pregnant. Although honestly is doesn't really matter, because I want to make sure I get this all written down, especially because a week later it's already starting to get fuzzy. So read on if you're up for it, especially since this is likely to be the longest post I've ever written!

Last Wednesday was my due date and it didn't feel like the baby was coming anytime soon. With my gestational diabetes they didn't want me going to far past my date and I already had an induction scheduled the following Tuesday, December 16th, as well as one final appointment the morning of the 11th, which would likely tell me that I was still just a centimeter dialated. All day at work (since I was planning on working through Friday) people kept asking me how I was feeling, and I felt great, so the verdict was the baby possibly couldn't be coming anytime soon... except we all know how that turned out.

I got home from work, stepped into the house, and almost immediately after felt my muscus plug come out. Not a really a big deal since it can happen weeks before the baby comes, but definitely a step in the right direction. I did my normal work-out of squats and pelvic thrusts, and halfway through realized I had my bloody show. Another great step in the right direction. After a bath and dinner (which I can't even remember what I ate at this point... I guess it got a bit overshadowed), I went to the bedroom to watch Survivor.

Towards the end of episode, around 7:40, I started feeling contractions, starting off about 5 minutes apart. I'd been thinking I had maybe been feeling contractions beforehand, but once the real thing started, there was a noticeable difference. During one of the commercial breaks I went out to the living room to tell the boy that if he wanted to shave before going to the hospital, he'd better do it sooner rather than later.

After my show ended I spend some time getting the last few items into my hospital bag, then some time on my computer looking at my daily blog stats and goodreads. I even thought about writing a book review, but writing one while in labor was a little too crazy even for me. Nashville started at 9, so at that point I was back in the bedroom watching tv.
Last Pregnant Photo
One last pregnant photo, just before calling the doctor
My doctor said to call once my contractions were 5 minutes apart for two hours lasting for 1 minutes. At this point I met the two hours and 5 minutes, but hadn't really been timing them. I had the boy time a few and they were really only 30 to 45 seconds long, but I figured at that point I should at least call the doctor. I talked to the doctor on call who told me that I could come in now if I wanted. But if I did want to go naturally, and wasn't looking for an epidural or pitocin, I was probably better staying at home till they got closer to a minute in length.

Over the next two hours the boy and I tried to nap on the couch timing each contraction. I remember laying there thinking that maybe I couldn't actually do a natural birth and that maybe an epidural wouldn't actually be that bad. I actually asked the boy at one point if he thought I would be a failure if I wound up having an epidural. As I had my inner monologue the contractions kept getting longer, but never quite made it to a full 60 seconds. The closest we got was 56, but at that point, at 12:30 I was a ready to go.

I went to the bathroom first, and while there I thought my water might have broken. Although didn't have it confirmed to we made it to the hospital and I realized my pants were soaked. And yes, we were of course driving my new car.

We checked into the hospital around 1 am to find that I was still only 2 cms dilated. But being very clearly in labor and with my water broken, I was definitely staying. I was asked by two different nurses about my labor plan, except while I had hoped for a natural birth, never actually wrote anything out, which definitely seem to surprise people. They wheeled me to my room and my nurse started my iv. Or at least she attempted to start my iv, but after not getting the first two called a second nurse to help her with a third. I'm pretty sure this was the first iv I've ever had so while it wasn't the biggest deal to me, the boy was less than pleased.

She did start taking to me about pain meds, and at this point I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I remember telling her my pain was around a 5.5, but asked how much worse it would get. She told me that was well as an epidural there was also a different painkiller they could give me through my iv, and I figured I'd at least start with that. She said most peoples complaints with it were that it made them tired and loopy, but not that big of a deal considering it was already the middle of the night. The normal dose was about 2 portions, but considering my size we started with one. Then when it started to go away, or maybe the pain just got to be greater, I asked for the second half of it.

Honestly this part of the whole night is really pretty fuzy, I'm sure in combination to the fact that it was in the middle of the night, that they had just given me some type of painkiller, and of course the actual pain I was in. There were times where I'd have a contraction and look up to see what time it was and find an hour had gone by from the last time I checked it. Or there were others where it felt like it had been forever since I had one, but the clock said it had only been 10 minutes or so. She also checked me several times throughout, and while I could be wrong, I remember her telling me I was 4, then 5, then 7, and finally 9 cms along.

Just before 7am the nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push. But to be honest for hours now every single contraction made me feel like that. She did tell me that the sign was that I felt like that even between contractions, to which I responded, "Now that you mention it, it is starting to feel like that."

Except 7am was shift change, and when my actual doctor would be getting to the hospital, so I don't think my nurse knew quite what to do. But the new nurse arrived and checked me to see that I was actually fully dilated. They found out my doctor was still about 30 minutes away but the on-call doctor was heading over.

The nurse we had all night was actually really cute and didn't want to leave. She said something along the lines of if "I stay it'll probably be hours still, but if I leave it'll probably come immediately." She even mentioned clocking out and then coming back to check on me, but the new nurse did finally convince her that she should probably head home especially since she was working again at 7 that night.

Anyways the doctor arrived, along with 4 or 5 more nurses and they starting getting everything set up and ready to start pushing. The doctor and nurses kept telling me how impressed they were with me, and how there are women who even with an epidural seem to be in more pain than I was. They also found it hilarious when while pushing through a contraction I started complaining, not about the labor pain, but about a leg cramp. As I started to get close they brought out a mirror so I could see what was going on, which was crazy to see!

The doctor did ask me my thoughts about an episiotomy, which I had really been hoping to avoid. I asked her if she thought I tear anyway and when her response was yes, I figured it made sense to have one. She did tell me that considering the pain I was already in, I wouldn't even notice the cut, but that definitely wasn't the case at all! So they did wind up giving me a shot of novacane first before the actual cut.

At this point my doctor actually arrived. So while the on-call doctor was the one with me the most of the time pushing, my actual doctor was the one who caught our doctor at 7:42, almost exactly 12 hours after I noticed my first contractions and about 8 hours after arriving at the hospital. They showed her to me first so I could tell the room, "It's a girl!" and then took her over the be checked out.

I did pass a bit of meconium so they wanted to check her to make sure she hadn't breathed any in. I asked the boy to get the camera and take photos, except he couldn't figure out how to turn the camera on and neither could one of the nurses, so they handed it to me to get it working. The boy of course took only 4 photos, and decided that was enough. Fortunately one of the nurses kept taking photos at that point.
Born 7:42 AM
One of the Boy's 4 photos
Thankfully while I may have passed meconium, Elley didn't breath any, so less than 10 minutes after she was born a nurse brought her to me to hold for the first time.
About to Hold Her
We did have skin to skin, and then one of the nurses came over to help me breastfeed. Since I didn't have an epidural, she was more awake than most babies are, which meant in theory she would crawl up my chest to eat. Both the nurses said they had only seen it done in video, never in real life, so they were quite excited when Elley started moving on her own just like they'd always heard would happen. Definitely a pretty miraculous sight to see!
First Family Photo
Our first family photo
I've read my fair amount of birth stories, and so often you read that it didn't quite go as expected but it still something they're incredibly happy with because its their story. Except with me, I feel like everything went even better than I could have expected. Almost too good to be true even. I feel so lucky and blessed to not only have brought our daughter into this world, but to have had such a practically perfect experience doing so.

If you're still hear reading, I have to say I'm impressed, and as a final reward here's a few final photos from our hospital stay.
photo 1 (1)With her Cousin
With Her Cousin
With her Cousins
Ready to Head Home
Ready to Head Home

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's a Girl!

Last Thursday, the boy and I welcomed our daughter into the world. At 6 lbs 12.6 oz and 20.5 inches long, she's a tiny thing but also incredibly long.
It's a girl! Yesterday we welcomed our daughter into the world. 6 lbs 12.6 oz 20 inches tall
Just like the boy wants to be blog-onymous, she will be as well. So please welcome Baby L.A., or spelled phonetically Baby Elley, to the blogosphere! More to come soon!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Place for Babies

The Birth House by Ami McKay
: October 9, 2007 by Harper Perennial
First Published: February 14, 2006
Normally I do pretty good at reviewing books while they're fresh in my mind, but I feel like I failed a bit with this one. While as I'm writing this, it has been less than a week since I read it and I do still remember the story, I can't quite recall what it is I wanted to say about this one. But maybe that in itself says something about the book?

This is the second book I've read by Ami McKay, although this one is the first she's published. I absolutely loved The Virgin Cure and knowing The Birth House was supposed to be even better I went into this with high expectations. But yet, while I did overall enjoy it, it's clearly not one that left a huge impression, nor did I find it better than The Virgin Cure.

One of my biggest complaints was the numbers of minor characters and how difficult it was to keep them straight. It actually got to a point where I just stopped trying, since it didn't really seem to matter. I think the idea behind it was that Dora, our main character, had a close knit group of friends, yet their individual personalities didn't really matter, and while I understand it, I don't quite agree with it.

I do think reading this book while pregnant and after several birthing books did help me enjoy this more. It was really interesting recognizing some of the principles I've read about and seeing them in action, even if from a fictional viewpoint. I still do think this book is worth reading, and would definitely read more from McKay, but yet I'm not quite in agreement with all the hype.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Show Us Your... Holiday Decorations {2014}

I know there's a ton of different blogs that holiday decoration link-ups, but I can't help and stick with my favorite (and one of the first blogs I ever really linked up with) Kelly's Korner.
I tend not to go to crazy with holiday decorations, partly because we really don't own very many, and also partly because while my husband is Catholic I'm Jewish so a feel a little conflicted about the whole thing. But it's important for him to have a Christmas tree so if we going to have one, I at least want to it be pretty. Seems, reasonable, right?
Each year we talk about upgrading to a bigger tree. But for now, with just the two of us our little tree works. Plus I'm not quite sure there's room in our house for a huge tree at this point.
Both mine and the boy's stocking are up, and while the baby does have a stocking holder ready, their stocking isn't quite. Not too big of a deal since the baby hasn't yet made their appearance, but by Christmas Eve I can promise you both the baby and the stocking will be hanging out.
I do have the majority of presents wrapped at this point, except for the boy's since he was in the room with me while I was wrapping. Maybe a bit of an overachiever, but really more that I wanted to make sure as much as possible was done before we have a new baby in our house. You can pretty clearly see which presents are for Christmas and which are for Hanukkah by the whole color divide. And yes, I do have a present for each day of Hanukkah for a baby who won't even be a week old. Obviously, they won't remember, but I will. Plus as an October baby I used to give my mom a hard time for not dressing me up for my first Halloween, so I want to make sure I don't fail our child in a similar way!
Speaking of Hanukkah, here's our bit of holiday fun on the dinning room table. It'll definitely need to be rearranged a bit to light the candles, but I think for now it works. Although I'd love to find more cute Hanukkah decorations to put our next year, as impossible as they may be to locate.
Here's one final look at what our living room looks like for our baby's first Christmas. Crazy to think both the holiday and the baby are really only days away from arriving, right?

Curious about our decorations from years past? You can see them here!

If you're stopping by from Kelly's Korner be sure to say hi! And what are your thoughts on celebrating holidays with newborn babies?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

40 Weeks Bumpdate

I've officially made it to my due date, and no baby yet. Although I can pretty much guarantee this will be the last weekly bumpdate I'll be posting!
40 Weeks
How Far Along: 40 Weeks

Size of the Baby: A small pumpkin

Maternity Clothes: Still rocking the same few items.

Nursery: It's been revealed!

Stretch Marks: Still none, hopefully that stays the same for the last few days.

Sleep: Most nights this past week I've gotten up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. But besides those few minutes I'm still able to get comfortable and have a good night sleep. Definitely a positive of this whole pregnancy.

Movement: Surprisingly the baby still has room to move around. It's leg still loves kicking my left side at all times of the day, and I just push it back in, till it comes out and pokes me again.

Cravings: All of the holiday flavors sound so delicious! Gingerbread, peppermint.... I'm already planning the desserts I want to be making for Christmas.

Symptoms: I've started getting a bit of lower back pain when I walk around, which is supposed to mean labor is near. I'm also pretty sure I've had a few Braxton Hicks contractions, although they really haven't been that bad.

What I Miss: Honestly I'm just ready for life to get back to normal. There's so much unknown at this point, and I don't do very well with ambiguity. So I'm definitely ready for days to start getting a little more structured again.

Looking Forward To: Having a baby maybe? :) Crazy to think that we're finally at the end game here!
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