Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dusting off my lap band

Ahoy there! Well, since my last depressing post not much has changed!

I'm still fatter than I want to be. I'm still struggling with motivation. My baby is 6 months now and more adorable every day. He is sitting up almost unassisted, giggling, mumbling, screeching, rolling over and over, and is really just the light in my life right now. Life is hectic and busy to say the least. Oh, and we are looking to buy a new house. Yay for stress!

I stopped breastfeeding about a month ago because Xander didn't have the patience anymore. He had gotten to used to bottles and my supply had stalled terribly after pulling a muscle in my back. So...that means I'm cleared (by me) to get a fill! I have a couple small doctor bills to pay off still (well, and a big one but I'm making payments on that mother), but I figured by the time I actually GET a bill for this appointment, I should have those other ones paid off. I also really wanted to get in before the beginning of the year and everyone makes their New Years resolutions to get weight loss surgery. 

So, I called Dr. Diaz's office today and shockingly got scheduled for 2 weeks from today! December 4th is my fill date and I couldn't be more thrilled. I'm stalking the Lap Band Talk message boards again (which have since been renamed to refresh my mind and get back into the small bites/small portions mindset. I don't think my first fill will do much in terms of restriction, but I'm hoping to get 1-2 cc's put back in. Before, we were going slowly due to swelling, but I'm hoping to speed that process a bit for billing purposes. I'm going to try to not get my hopes up though.

So here I am, starting all over again. I did it once, I can do it again. I'm just going to keep reminding myself that when I get frustrated, stuck, or really pissed that I can't eat french fries. I don't need you in my life french fries! Bugger off!

Just wanted to give you all a quick, more positive update. I will post baby pictures and new 'before' pics after my fill in December. I'm also going to try to get back to posting at least monthly here to keep myself on track! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where's the follow-through, Erin?

Maybe I need to go back and read the beginning of my blog. Maybe somewhere in my words I can find where my motivation came from (as if I don’t know).  Maybe I can remember what it was like to have self-control and was able to say, “No thanks” on desserts, sweets, extra food, or anything at all.

I feeling a bit defeated today (ok, probably more like for the past month). My mind keeps going back to an article I read a long time ago on It’s called “Are YouCollecting a Pile of Underpants? It has a funny analogy to go along with an episode from South Park, but the gist of it talks about gathering all of your information, getting totally prepared to do something life-changing and exciting, and then not following through with it. This is the story of my life right now (and has been in the past as well). As previously mentioned, I have a thing for doing research. What I haven’t really mentioned (nor had a problem with until recently) was that sometimes all that research leads to a giant pile of useless information.   

I’m just over 4 months postpartum. I’ve gone down just one clothing size, and I’ve lost (on a good day) only 20 pounds. I’m sure regular people see 20 pounds and say “But that’s great!” and it is, but when you gained 60 from being pregnant and lost almost 100 before that, it’s nothing. I’ve been researching workouts I can do in my office, clean-eating, the paleo diet, reading motivational articles on Nerd Fitness… I even signed up for a new program they are creating just for women to be notified when it comes out to test it. (If I can afford it.) But here I am… not walking stairs, buying mini candy bars at CVS on a whim, wanting and getting ice cream whenever and wherever I can. Failing at life is what I would call that. I’m failing (and flailing). I brought this on myself. I knew when I got pregnant (hell, I knew this when I was thinking about getting pregnant) that I would lose all self-control, go a little nuts, and struggle to find that center I had at one point. I saw this coming and yet I still did nothing. If I could kick my own ass, I probably would right now.

I feel very stuck and conflicted. I want to get a fill and get back into my groove of losing weight, but I’m afraid that getting a fill and reducing my calories will dwindle my already lack-luster milk supply. I’ve been half-assed trying to just control myself, but I’m quickly realizing that I got the lap-band for a reason. I have no self-control. I think this is also known as a food addiction. I have a food addiction. No, I don’t eat entire pizzas in the dark crying to myself about how fat and out of control I am. I just… can’t seem to control myself anymore. I can’t say “no”. Maybe deep down, I don’t want to…but then why do I feel so awful that I can’t find that place I was at before I got pregnant when I was losing weight and being awesome? (Don’t get me wrong – I’m still awesome.) Oh wait, I think that’s what addiction is (and guilt, let’s not forget guilt).

I want to breastfeed for at least 6 months, but I would prefer a year (even though really only breastfeed part-time, in the evenings/overnights/early mornings). What does that mean for my body? I’m not breastfeeding enough for the calories to ‘melt off’ at the rate I’m eating them, but I get hungry constantly. My weight has been steady for about 2 months. I make some good decisions, but I also make some bad ones. I don’t work out or do any real calorie-burning activities. The cravings I gave into during pregnancy have not left and have only increased...Chocolate, ice cream, carbs in general… stupid, stupid cravings. I almost had those under control at one point...almost. Now I have to start completely over and it’s been so long, I’ve forgotten how. Yeah, I know how to say no. I have all the tools and information you could ever freaking need to get started, but my motivation is hiding behind the what-ifs of my baby’s milk-supply.   

Don’t even get me started on the fear I have that my child will grow up with the same food/eating problems that I have. That’s a whole other guilt-ridden post.

So what do I do? Get a fill at 6 months and hope for the best? Wait until Xander self-weans and hope I don’t continue to get fatter? Cross my fingers? Shut my eyes and hope for the best? How do you choose who to put first when it comes to this sort of thing? How long do you put yourself second? Is it considered selfish to put yourself first too soon? Do I even care what other people think? (No, but I have enough mommy guilt already. I am my own worst enemy.)

Ugh. Wake up Erin. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you are starting from the VERY beginning. Do not. Just. Don’t. I don't even want to think about that possible situation.

Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm too fat for all these hurdles!

The first week with Chris home was a nice change. Now we both slept in the living room for the most part. Chris kept me fed and hydrated. He got me anything I needed. He propped my swollen feet up. He consoled the baby when I was too overwhelmed to do anything but cry. Xander seemed to always be hungry or grumpy or fussy. We got okayed to try gas drops but they didn't seem to help. We tried gripe water...still no real difference. I was scared to death that he had colic (I saw it as karma for being a difficult child). A couple days after our doctor visit, we met our home health nurse. She was a nice lady. She was very passionate about babies and breastfeeding. She checked me and Xander out. (I was super puffy in the feet and ankles...worse than when I was at the end of my pregnancy.) After filling out a bunch of paperwork and talking about the same stuff we talked to everyone about, she said she would see us next week.

The next week was the same. Feedings, fussiness, hardly no sleep, fussiness, feeding, swollen ankles, eating with one hand. The nurse noted that Xander had lost an ounce since she weighed him last. She got concerned. I told her I was breastfeeding every 2-3 hours and for 30 minutes plus on each side. She warned us that if he lost more next week, we may have to go to the doctor...or worse, the hospital. I got worried again. Please, please, not now! I just got my baby out of the hospital! What could be wrong now?

In the middle of all this, my best friend from California was coming to visit with her new husband. I tried to be as hospitable as I could. I geared up for leaving the house with my baby for the first time. All while Chris had to work (naturally). We went to restaurants. The first time didn't go so smoothly. We went to Steak N Shake and Xander was sleeping peacefully...once I was almost done eating, he woke up and was hungry. And he wanted to eat RIGHT NOW. So, I got to finagle a crying newborn baby onto my boob while hiding behind a blanket being held up by my husband (thankfully, Chris got to come to that meal). I'm sure it was amusing to anyone with a kid that understood and I'm sure it was annoying to everyone else. Chris and I took it in stride though. First time parent experiences are always the most stressful. The next day, we went to the Indiana State Museum. I got to use my Moby wrap for the first time ever and it was awesome! Xander was close to me and slept almost the entire time we were there. He didn't start to cry until we were leaving. Then he was hungry and wanted to eat RIGHT NOW, yet again...but alas we were driving. So he got to suck on my finger until we got home. Another new mommy stressful moment brought to you by hunger.

One of the few times he was swaddled

Milk coma

Moby wrap momma!

One night while eating dinner with Kelly and her husband and my mother-in-law, we got seated on the main walkway at one of our favorite family restaurants (a local diner ran by an awesome Greek family). This was a terrible idea as we were eating around the same time every old person in the planet eats dinner. For those of you that didn't know it, the senior community LOVES BABIES. Every single person that walked by went "Aww! LOOK AT THE BABY!" Which is fine. I will let you look at my newborn baby in passing and ask me how old he is, but a couple of these older ladies got a little creepy. One of them got a little too close in his face and I almost had a heart attack. Then, there was another lady who got so close I was afraid she was going to try to take him out of his car seat that he was sleeping in comfortably... She lingered so long (while I had my sandwich in my hand inches from my mouth - mind you) that her poor husband had to literally drag her away from us. Lesson learned...old ladies love babies.

After Kelly and her husband went back home to California, we got another visit from our home nurse. She brought a lactation consultant with her to make sure I was doing everything I could to help Xander gain weight. The lactation consultant watched me feed him and was very impressed with my breastfeeding skills (yay for nerdy research!) Unfortunately, Xander had lost yet another ounce. Then, the lactation consultant and the nurse said the words I was dreading for the last 2 weeks. Formula supplementation. They decided that I wasn't producing enough milk and that is why my baby was losing weight. Best guess, he was a sleepy eater and would fall asleep so soon after starting to feed that he wasn't taking in enough milk and was mostly just using me as a pacifier.

Conveniently, I had a package from Similac with a bottle and a can of sample formula. I cried as the lactation consultant helped me get it ready. Formula was the last thing I wanted my baby to have. I knew he had a rough start and I knew breast milk was the best thing for him and his little body right now...but it wasn't enough for my little guy. Looking back at pictures of this time, you can really tell how thin he got. At first, I thought it was just the IV fluids getting out of his system, but he did get very thin.

My hungry guy.

I, once again, felt defeated as a mother because I couldn't provide enough food for my baby. I cried as I gave him his first bottle, telling myself it was for the best and my baby needed it. Xander sucked that 2 oz bottle down so fast. My poor baby was starving. He threw half of it back up because he ate it so fast and I freaked out and cried more. Seeing your baby throw up is terrifying and stressful (and I still hate it, although it doesn't happen very often anymore). I cleaned him up and he went right to sleep. He was finally full and content and I was at a total loss. My mind was spinning. I fought the sadness I felt of not being able to provide my child the nutrition he needed.

This was another moment where the universe just kicked me in the ass and told me to stop trying to control every thing. Apparently, I wasn't listening before. I HEAR YOU NOW UNIVERSE. Xander had to go to the doctor that afternoon to verify the home nurse's decision. Our doctor agreed. Breastfeeding then formula feeding. I was scared to death the bottle would ruin his latch and I would fail completely at breastfeeding. I just remembered everything I had read about how formula was awful compared to breast milk and how much happier breast fed babies were. Now, I was one of those people I said I would never be*...but it wasn't by choice.

Xander's new feeding schedule changed him completely. He was suddenly a happy baby. When he was awake, he wasn't screaming. When he fell asleep, he would sleep in his bassinet until he was hungry again. When he was hungry, he did not scream bloody murder. We finally had a baby that really did just eat, sleep, and poop...and it was glorious. His latch, I'm happy to report, is still good. He had a bit of nipple confusion in the beginning and gets a little lazy from time to time, but it's nothing that I can't handle.

* I have nothing against people who feed their babies with formula! I know formula-fed babies are just as healthy, smart, happy as breastfed babies...I just saw it as a personal failure because I was so determined to exclusively breastfeed.


So, here we are, almost 3 months in. I'm back to work. (That day sucked! But I'm doing better!) I've learned a lot about myself and about life, I've been humbled by kindness, and I've had some realizations. I've learned that my nerdy research can be really bad for your sanity. Ultimately, all of these hurdles that Xander faced turned me into The Girl Who Knew Too Much. My over-abundance of education on all of these little things, while seeming like a good idea at the time to be prepared, ended up causing me a lot of anxiety. I learned all of these possible scenarios, then picked the one I wanted and the one I absolutely did not want...then I got the one I absolutely did not want and ended up feeling like a failure. Thankfully, I don't really have time to do a ton of research on the little things anymore. Don't get me wrong, I will still look something up if I question something, but I take it all with a a grain of salt. I remind myself that just because something is thought to be the best way, does not mean doing it differently is the end of the world or wrong by any means. It's just different. As long as my baby is happy and healthy in the long-run, then I'm okay with that.

I've also learned how little sleep I can function on. Where I used to NEED 8-9 hours a night, I am THRILLED to get 4-5 now. I've learned a smile from my little guy melts my heart and makes me forget how exhausted I am. His coos and giggles mesmerize me. Every time he does something new I am amazed. It blows my mind when I realize he is experiencing things and doing things for the first time ever. He is the first thing I think about when I wake up (aside from "What time is it?") and the last thing I think about when I go to bed (aside from "Please sleep until 5:30!"). I have never felt so many emotions at once before I had him. I am so thankful for everything and everyone in my life right now. My husband is an amazing dad. He watches him while I'm at work. He is hands on, and Xander smiles at the mere sound of his voice. It melts my heart (and makes me a little jealous). I am truly happy. Broke and fat (only down 20 of the 60 lbs I gained during pregnancy), but happy. Once Xander hits 3 months on August 13th, I will be getting back on the bandwagon. I haven't decided how all that is going to go yet (in terms of when to get a fill and whatnot), but I will let you all know when I figure it out.

And that ladies and gents, the final installment of "life with a far"

Enjoying fresh air!

Smiling for Daddy

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The last thing a new mom wants to hear...

So we arrived at our postpartum room, happy to get settled and finally sleep. We had to get a cot for Chris because the chair-bed was broken horribly. That took about an hour or more. I don't really remember because I was way out of it and holding our new baby.

Once Chris was settled, Xander was asleep at my breast, and we thought it would be a good time to try to sleep (since I kept falling asleep anyway). But of course, as soon as I would put baby Xander into his bassinet he would wake up and cry. So I would pick him up and he would cry and cry until he was back on my breast. Then he would fall asleep either using me as a pacifier or just lying next to me, still in a breastfeeding "football" position (off to my side with his feet towards my back). This went on all night. Chris and I were terrified to fall asleep with him in bed with me. My nipples were getting really raw and sore. Chris would try to take him and soothe him. We were determined to not use a pacifier. All 3 of us cried at one point or another in pure frustration. I knew my baby was tired, but he wouldn't sleep anywhere but on my boob. This of course made me think a million things at once. Can we handle this? Will it always be like this? Does he have colic? Is it gas? What am I doing wrong?! You know, typical first time parent freak-outs.

Around 8 am the next morning, a doctor came in to check on Xander. The nurse that checked on us the night before noticed he was still breathing a bit fast when she took his stats.The doctor said he seemed okay, he was just breathing a little fast. He didn't seem super concerned, so neither were we. I ordered breakfast after that - ready for visitors and a full day of no sleep again. My mother-in-law came and kept Xander company for a while and let me sleep for an hour or 2 and Chris went home for the first time in 3 days to shower and change his clothes. We had more visitors that day. My dad and step-mom and my sister all came to see us. The woman who was encapsulating my placenta also came.

Baby: Day 1
I think they might have taken Xander at some point to do a test or two. I really can't remember. What I do remember, is that night. It was another awful night of no sleep and a crying baby unless he was on my boob. Chris and I were both just at a loss. The lovely nurse working that night even tried to calm him so I could sleep. He did not want to be anywhere but next to me. The nurse took him to do his hearing test overnight and she said as soon as he left the room, he was a sleep. You have got to be kidding me! I was at a loss. By 5 or 6 am, I was a hot mess, crying, and utterly exhausted. The nurse offered to take him to the nursery to sleep and so we could sleep. I cried again, I wanted to sleep but I didn't want leave my baby alone. I finally, tearfully, agreed to let her take him for a couple hours so I could sleep a little. I have never felt so guilty in my life as I did when they rolled him out of there.

A couple hours later, the doctor that checked him out the previous morning came in. I can't remember if he woke me up or not. He told Chris and I that Xander's breathing had still not improved and he was growing concerned that he had swallowed some of the meconium in his fluid when he came out. He also speculated that it might have been because of my only 20 minutes of pushing, he may not have had sufficient compression of his lungs to push all the fluid out. Either way, he told me he sent my baby to the NICU for some tests. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces. The doctor said he was okay, but he wanted to be safe. He said a nurse would tell us when we could go see him and my heart broke into a million more tiny pieces.

As soon as he left, I started to bawl. The guilt I felt this morning for letting him to go the nursery to sleep had just quadrupled because now my baby was in the NICU and I wasn't there to comfort him, to say goodbye, to say I loved him...nothing. I felt utterly lost and helpless. I cannot imagine what other people who have babies in the NICU for more serious reasons go through because I was dying inside. The nurse on the shift change came in to talk to us and comfort us. She was very sweet and helpful. Every hour, we called the nurse to ask her what was going on and when we could see Xander. They got me a breast pump because they knew I did not want him on formula. We had to wait 3-4 agonizing hours before we could go see our baby. I was still shaky on my feet, so Chris wheeled me into the NICU. I cried the entire way there.

Then, I saw my little baby. Under a warming...thing, in only a diaper, with oxygen on and an IV in his little arm, sleeping. (I found out later that his IV fluids had some type of nutritional value in it that made him not hungry.) Chris and I were both a mess. I didn't know how much more I could handle at this point. We met the NICU doctor, a nice man from Africa, who's name I still cannot spell or pronounce. He said Xander's x-rays did show a bit of fluid still in his lungs. They had to start antibiotics immediately. The NICU team was truly amazing. They were very sympathetic and reassuring. They said we could come and go whenever we wanted. We could have 3 visitors at a time. Honestly, this entire day is a bit of blur still. It all seemed to happen so fast and not seem real. My baby was fine just yesterday and now I am a NICU parent. How does that happen?

We went back to our room because I needed to eat and learn how to use my breast pump. Even though Xander didn't need to eat right now, they wanted me to get my milk to come in so I could feed him. I told my family and friends what was going on. I asked my mom to come because I needed her terribly. I asked other people to not come until we knew more of what was going on. I also found out that even though I would be discharged on Wednesday, they got a complimentary NICU parent room for me so I could say in the hospital for as long as Xander was there (unless someone with a more serious problem came). This was a true blessing! I didn't have to go home and worry about my baby. If i wanted to see him, I could just walk down the hall. I will be forever grateful for Methodist Hospital for the amazing hospitality during the entire time I was there.

Later that day, they agreed to let me do skin to skin and breastfeed. They turned down Xander's IV fluids so he would be awake and hungry enough to eat. Seeing him in his little incubator with an IV line in his arm and oxygen on his face was the most upsetting thing I have ever experienced in my life. It breaks my heart over and over again every time I think about it. I tried my best to keep it together, but I still cried constantly. Guilt, sadness, fear, pain, emptiness - I felt it all...all at once. But when they put him on my chest and buttoned my shirt around him, I cried again - this time out of happiness. I finally felt complete again. I had my baby in my arms. I ignored the stupid cords and wires and tried to be okay with the oxygen smushed on his little face and I just enjoyed my baby.

This is the best feeling ever.

So. NICU plan. Since they were letting me breastfeed, I would come ever 2-4 hours to feed him or the nurses would call me if he was hungry and I wasn't there. They all knew I did not want him to have a pacifier except for when doing things that hurt him (needle sticks, etc.). By the next day, his breathing was already improved and he got the okay to take off his oxygen. He still had to get another 24 hours of his antibiotics though. Now that he was a NICU baby, he had to reach certain milestones before he could go home. Steady oxygen levels, all of his medicine, eating so much a day, peeing and pooing so much a day. I was now a mother on a mission.

My little Cabbage Patch Kid, all puffy from IV fluids

My mom and I spent most of our time in the NICU. I only left to eat and sleep. All of the parents and nurses in the NICU were always commenting how big Xander was compared to the other babies there. It was true. My baby didn't look like a normal NICU baby. Most of those babies were a lot sicker than mine. I felt very fortunate for that reason. It could be a lot worse, and I constantly reminded myself of that. No one treated us differently though. Chris spent his time going back and forth. He doesn't like hospitals in the first place. He came and went, having a hard time seeing Xander like he was. So instead, Chris focused on super cleaning our house and getting it ready for Xander's homecoming...whenever that might be.

Every morning, my mom and I were in the NICU by 9 am for the doctor's rounds. We were always present when they would talk about Xander's progress, his goals for the day, and the treatment plan. I took notes on my phone to share with everyone else and so I knew what we needed to achieve. The doctor was very impressed the morning after letting him eat when the nurse said "breast fed for 30 minutes each side every 3 hours. 9 pee diapers, and 6 poos". This guy knew I meant business and I wanted my baby the heck out of the NICU. I don't mess around or do stuff half-assed!

Finally, on Thursday, they let me take Xander back to my hospitality room (aka an unused, older, labor and delivery room) so he could spend the night on no machines and see how he did. I had to note every feed, every diaper, and take his temperature regularly. I was totally cool with that. Anything to have my baby next to me. I put Xander in a sleep shirt we brought from home with a cow on it...because I have a slight thing for cows. He looked adorable in real baby clothes and finally no cords! I was thrilled. We were one step closer to going home! As evening got closer, Xander got more agitated, unfortunately. He went right back to only wanting to be at my breast. That's the only place he was happy. I was so upset I couldn't eat anything. What is wrong? What am I doing wrong?! That night, after crying in the shower as my mom consoled my crying baby; after singing him songs I was playing on my phone (Backstreet Boys if you're curious!), and after leaving the room to cry alone int he hallway, a nurse saw me and reassured me again this was all normal and babies do this. I finally broke down and asked for a stupid pacifier*.

The nurse wrapped Xander up tightly in his blanket and stuck that little green pacifier in his mouth...and he finally fell asleep. I was relieved, but I felt totally defeated. I slept as good as a new mom can sleep (what with waking up at every sound he made, or waking up when he didn't make a sound to make sure he was still breathing). The next day, we waited anxiously for the NICU doctor to do a final assessment of Xander. We got many hospital visitors (amazing lactation consultants, discharge people, nurses). After what seemed like forever (3 hours) Xander was cleared to go home around 11 am on Friday morning. After 6 long days in the hospital, Xander and I were finally going home! 

The Ref, happy to get cleared to go home!

Going home in his too-big outfit

Since we had a NICU baby, we got a lot of extra care. They helped us set up his first doctor appointment, which had to be the following Monday to get his oxygen levels checked. We also were going to get weekly home visits from a nurse from the Health Department. This actually made me feel a lot better. We were thrilled to go home, but nervous too. Chris had to leave after we took Xander home for the entire weekend. It was just going to be me and Xander for his first 3 days home. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was there to help me! If not for her, I probably would not have eaten at all.

That first weekend was such a blur. It was mostly feedings and fighting sleep, and falling asleep sitting up, and waking up every few minutes when he did sleep in his bassinet (without a pacifier, I should add) to make sure he was okay, or waking up every time he made a peep, or moved at all. (He was a really noisy sleeper!) I didn't leave my living room except to use the bathroom. I'm fairly certain I didn't shower at all that weekend. I sent Chris pictures constantly. I missed him terribly. I was glad to have 3 days to bond with my baby, but I wanted his daddy to be there too. I barely saw Chris at all while I was at the hospital and now he was gone for another 3 days. It was very hard on my heart, that's for sure.

Chris got home on Monday morning around 7 am. Xander's first doctor's appointment was at 9 am. I was super nervous about leaving the house with him. I sat in the back of the car with Xander and held his little head up...because wobbly baby heads are scary! We got to the office and had to check in for the first time. It took, what seemed like, forever. Everyone who walked by Xander would comment on the little baby and ask how old. All I wanted to do was say "STAY AWAY FROM MY BABY!" But I held my tongue! This was a new anxiety like no other. Sick people seemed to be every where and I had a newborn fresh out of the NICU. Thankfully, the rest of the appointment was fine. We met our young, fresh out of med school pediatrician, and they took his stats and everything was good. We breathed a big sigh of relief and went home as soon as possible to get our baby away from all of these contagious people!

We were finally in the clear! Or so we thought....TO BE CONTINUED.

*I know some people think I'm crazy for not wanting to use a pacifier right away, but it can really mess with breastfeeding, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs! The one thing I was really determined to do well, was breastfeed...or so I hoped. 


This NICU experience was, by far, the hardest thing I have ever endured. The labor and delivery was nothing compared to the pain I felt seeing my baby hooked up to machines and wires and having to be apart from him. I am thankful every day for the staff at my hospital. This was just the universe showing me, yet again, that I was not in control and I needed to just let go and go with the flow. It also helped me see how strong and determined I could be. And, in hindsight, I think staying in the hospital for an entire week was very helping in teaching me how to take care of my baby...I probably would have lost it trying to care for a baby 2 days after pushing him out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Birth plan? You're funny.

Hello friends! Did you think I forgot all about you? Obviously, I had my little one and suddenly I don't have much free time! I'll be posting pictures and everything that's been going on since then in parts as I can. Let's start where we left off, shall we?

Actually, nothing special happened the rest of my pregnancy. It was full of swollen feet, doctor's appointments, people constantly asking me if I was in labor, and being so ready to push out this baby already. Let's just skip to the good stuff!

Around 10 pm on a Friday (May 10), I woke up to pee and felt quite a bit of back pain. It didn't phase me until I woke up again 2 hours later and felt that same back pain. I quickly realized the pain was waking me up. I didn't think much of it yet because it was just tightening in my back and not my front. Chris woke up at 3:30 that morning to go to his 5a-1p shift at work. I told him that there was a slight possibility I was in labor and he should warn his boss. I told him to go ahead and go to work though because the pains weren't super painful and they were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart lasting 30-60 seconds.

By at 8 am (Saturday), my contractions were the same but Chris was too antsy to stay at work any longer and he came home. I was glad of course because I had stuff to do before the big show! He came home and I got dressed and we ran some last minute errands. (It's always fun to tell people you're in labor and see the look on their face.) By the time we were done with errands, I was having to stop what I was doing and concentrate through the contractions which were now around 2 minutes apart, lasting around 1 minute each. Since they were so close, and everyone said once they are 3 minutes apart lasting one minute long you should go to the hospital, we decided it would be best to just do that. My MIL came home from work and started getting stuff around the house ready and we went to triage to get me checked out.

I think it was around noon when we got into triage. I filled out paperwork, answered some questions, changed and got on that stupid uncomfortable "bed". After hooking me up to monitors, Chris came back to be with me. We told my parents and sister what was going on and told them we could keep them informed of the progress but not to come yet since we didn't know how long it would be. My mom, like most moms, didn't listen and said she was on her way to Indy (an hour away from where she lives). Laying in that bed during my back contractions was simply awful. Laying and sitting were terribly painful. They checked me and I was only 3.5 cm and 60% effaced. Basically, I could have been walking around this far along for a month since I never got checked at any of my previous doctor's appointments. I had to be 5 cm to be admitted to L&D. So, they had Chris and I walk the hallways to try to get this baby down farther. We would walk for an hour, stopping so I could have contractions and he could do counter-pressure on my back, and then go back to my triage cubical to get monitored. I did this for probably about 3 hours or so with no progress. I was discharged and told to go home and try to get some sleep and relax and that I could come back when my contractions got worse.

We went home for a while and my mom came back to the house with us. I was glad to have her there. Not only did if give Chris a chance to rest, but I had my mommy with me. A couple hours later, my contractions got obviously more intense and I was starting to vocalize through them.I don't remember who decided, but we went back to the hospital...surely I was farther along now! It hurt so bad! Once we go there, and did the entire check-in process again, they checked me. 3.5 cm and 60% effaced. Are you effing serious? No change. Now I was starting to worry. The midwife offered to give me something to try to help me relax and sleep. (I think it was a small dose of morphine or something like it.) I struggled a lot with this offer. I didn't want drugs but I wasn't progressing and it was making me nervous about being able to keep this up long enough to have the energy to push. After talking about it with Chris, I decided I would take the stupid drugs and try to rest. I told them only the lowest dose possible and once I got it, the contractions dulled enough for me to try to rest a little. I have no idea how long we stayed there. It was probably until around 8 or 9 pm. I got checked finally and the midwife on call gave me 3.5-4 cm and 60% effaced...basically NO CHANGE AGAIN. Now I was getting annoyed!

We went home pretty deflated and I was exhausted and annoyed that my body was not cooperating. I thought I was handling the contractions pretty well though. In the beginning, I would breathe through them, then I started to moan (vocalize) through them, and by the end I was practically yelling through them (we'll get to that later). So, we went home and my mom and sister showed up to help out with counter pressure and whatnot. At some point that night, I took a shower. We ordered a pizza and I hunkered down backwards on my knees in a big comfy chair. (Again, sitting was impossible.) Every 2 minutes someone would run over to me and push on my back to try to relieve some of the pain. Also in between contractions, I was trying to eat to keep my energy up and drink water. Chris tried to go get some sleep eventually, as did my MIL, and my sister went back home. My mom stayed up with me while I also tried to sleep. I laid on the couch and my mom would jump up and do counter pressure when I needed it. Sleeping was almost impossible. As soon as I would doze off, another contraction would hit. They never got closer together, but they did get more painful. I tried a heat pad as well... I don't remember it doing much though.

I lasted until about 3 am (Sunday) when I was finally in so much pain I thought surely it was bad enough now that I was making some progress! I was breathing through my contractions and moaning loudly, but in hindsight, I never truly relaxed through them. Back contractions are no joke! It was impossible for me to do anything but tense up and make noise. We did the drill and the ladies in triage welcomed me back. I was checked at 4 cm (same AGAIN) and had to start walking the halls again. My mom and husband rotated in and out of the room with me and through the hallways while walking. By this time, my back was so bruised from having counter pressure for over 12 hours, I couldn't have anyone touch my back. I was on my own now. Walking the halls, hunching over the rails on the wall, swaying, and trying to not wake these poor girls that were trying to have babies. I was in triage this time for 4 hours alternating between walking the halls, getting monitored, and trying to rest (HA). By 7 am, I was checked and they deemed me a stretchy 5 cm (basically, they could open me up to 5 cm). I was so relieved and happy to finally get a room!

I got discharged from triage with a good luck from those girls and I got wheeled into our birthing room with a tub in the corner. My dad was informed I was finally getting a room and he could come whenever they wanted. The first thing I wanted to do was to get in that shower and see if the water would help. To my dismay, the shower would not get hot! The nurse offered to take me across the floor to the other room but I didn't want to go anywhere by that point. They let me use the shower hose on the tub instead. Unfortunately, I couldn't fill up the tub yet. I had to be at least 7 cm before getting in the tub because once you get it in you can relax so much it stalls your labor (funny how that works). So I got in the tub with no water and Chris ran water over my back. It didn't seem to help much, but I think it was because my knees were hurting from the tub floor. I gave up on that pretty quickly.

The rest of my day was full of hanging out with my husband, mom, mother-in-law, dad, step-mom, and my sister. There could only be 4 people in my room at a time, so they would rotate whenever they needed to leave or whatnot. My MIL brought brownie bites, and my sister brought an Edible Arrangement (she works for them) in for the nursing staff and the triage staff. (Yes, I literally got brownie points from the staff!) I tried to do different positions on the bed, but I ended up just leaning over stuff most of the time. Anything that was remotely close to sitting was near-impossible. I think I got checked 2-3 times throughout the day. I think I only made it to 6 cm by 6 pm. By this time, I was in labor for 36 hours. It was all in my back and I was barely progressing and unable to fully relax through my contractions. We used the Bradley method to a degree (counter pressure, some positions, water, etc) but I've found when you have back labor and you are as tense as I am anyway, letting your body relax is just about impossible. By the evening I was basically yelling through contractions. I wasn't screaming though! It was a low, guttural moan...yell...sound. (At least, that's how I remember it and I'm sticking to that!)

By 7 pm or so, my midwife at the time (not the one I saw throughout my entire pregnancy - I never saw her) sat me down to have "the talk". By this time I was laying on my side in bed because I was so tired of standing. Her, and the rest of the staff that I worked with, knew how badly I wanted to go natural and have a water birth, but they also saw how much I was working and getting nothing in return in terms of progression. The midwife sat on the couch with my mom, Chris was by my side, and my step mom was in there as well. She talked to me about the side effects of the epidural, how it could help, her concerns, etc. The baby was fine this whole time, it was me who was no longer handling things very well. After a small  breakdown and some conversations with my family and husband, I broke down and got the epidural. I figured if this is what I needed to do to progress and NOT get a c-section, then so be it. Thankfully, they said they wouldn't put a catheter in me. (I really didn't want this!) I had to wait a little (agonizing) while for the anesthesiologist to arrive. Once she got there, they kicked everyone out and started the creepiest process ever. Knowing that someone is sticking a giant needle and a catheter in your SPINE is pretty much the creepiest feeling ever. It felt WEIRD. I struggled to stay still because it felt so strange and made my back want to spasm. Once they got it in (it was COLD, I felt it go through my body - creepy), I had to lay flat for a certain amount of time to allow the medication to spread evenly throughout my lower half. This sucked. Once the medicine kicked in, I got the shakes really badly. My teeth were chattering, and my entire body was shaking uncontrollably. It freaked my Dad out pretty good. For me, I knew it was a possibility. The 2 times I had surgery and was put under, I woke up with the same crazy shakes. These shakes lasted for a good hour or 2. I couldn't feel my legs and found it pretty amusing (this is me on drugs, all shaking and giggles). I couldn't feel my contractions any more. I could FINALLY (kind of) much as I could knowing there was a freaking tube coming out of my spine. (I REALLY didn't want an epidural, that's how desperate I was.) After a couple hours of relaxing and trying to sleep, they came in to check me. NO CHANGE. Now I was pissed. What is wrong with my body?! They decided to break my water to see if that would help. Then they said it. Meconium in the fluid. My baby had pooped in utero and now we were on a time frame. Meconium is not good if it's inhaled by the baby. It causes pneumonia and other scary breathing problems. They reassured me that there wasn't much to worry about just yet. They put the NICU team on call for my delivery. I got a little nervous. I asked if I could still have him put on my chest after he was born, if they could do the exam on me still.

They were a bit hesitant but said if he didn't come out crying, they would do the exam on my chest instead of taking him to the incubator...thingy. I asked if I could still let the cord pulse and they said that really just depended on the situation. I was totally okay with that. After another hour or so I was still not progressing. Now came the pitocin talk. I had read so many negative things about epidurals and pitocin. This was going against everything I ever wanted for the birth of my baby. I didn't want him (or myself) to be drugged up. I didn't want him to be forced out by medication, but the meconium put us on a time crunch, and I knew it. I figured since I had the stupid epidural, I had no reason to not get pitocin too since I wasn't progressing on my own. By now it was 10 or 11 pm. Once I got the pitocin, I realized my contractions were on top of each other, I started to feel it after about an hour. I frantically told my nurse. "I feel the contractions!" They started to hurt enough for me to go back to vocalizing. I had to wait another good bit before the anesthesiologist could make in my room. They were super busy that night, as I was the 8th or 9th birth in a 12-hour time period. Once I got a bump in my epidural, I started to feel a tiny bit of pressure. I told the nurse. Then I told her again, and again. She decided it was time to get checked and I was finally complete (!!) but the baby was still high up. They waited another 30 minutes or so for the midwife on call (a man, go figure. Chris wasn't too thrilled about that at first) to show up for me to do some practice pushes....this was it! I kicked everyone out except for Chris and I mentally tried to prepare myself for a long overnight of pushing. (So much for my Mother's Day baby!) I did a few practice pushes to try to coax him down and felt like I wasn't doing anything. (Except pooping on the table - yep that happened and I knew it. Thankfully, I didn't really care and Chris pretended to be oblivious...bless him.) The midwife left for 30 minutes or so but once he came back it was game on!

My nurse was holding one leg and Chris had my other leg. I was so completely numb from the waist down. I literally could not feel a thing! I no longer felt pressure. I didn't feel my baby moving down. Nothing. I didn't want to use the mirror. I decided I wanted to remember my junk how it was before. The first few pushes seemed like nothing was happening. I would break for a minute or so, and then push with all my might. If felt like I was taking the biggest, most painless dump of my life. I had no idea how it was going down there except for Chris's reaction to it all. The more I pushed, the more the midwife coaxed me on and the more frantic and excited Chris sounded. "You're doing great! He's so close! I see his head! You're doing so good!" I remember Chris's excited voice more than anything from that night. It still makes me want to cry thinking of it. He said he didn't want to see the business end of the birth, but he was right up front for the entire thing! After only 20 minutes of pushing, Xander Leon entered the world at 1:17 am on Monday, May 13. He was 8 lbs 3 oz and 20 and 3/4 inches long. Chris cried and after I realized I was already done pushing I said "Holy crap, I just had a baby." Then I cried too.

Xander came out crying, but they still put him on my chest and did all their exams and checks there. Chris got to cut the cord, but we didn't get to let it pulse like I wanted. At that point, I really didn't care. My baby was here, he was okay, and I was no longer pregnant! His eyes were wide open and after he stopped crying he just looked around intently. I felt like I was in a dream world. Is this really happening? Did I seriously just have a baby? While they were checking Xander on my chest, my placenta apparently just fell out because I remember hearing "...and here's the placenta!" Then the midwife asked me, "Do you know my favorite number if tears after a birth?" And I winced, "One?"  "None!!!!" Now, I was thrilled. No tears even though I only pushed for 20 minutes. This was one of my biggest fears - tearing and needing stitches because one wants their junk to be ripped open and stitched back in place!(I was told later, that the staff told my family how impressed they were with my knowledge of L&D and mad pushing skillz...nerdy research and lots of practicing pooping for the win!)

Daddy and Xander hanging out. Note the clock says 3am

Xander's first picture! Fresh out of the womb

After I held him for a while, they wiped him down and let me breastfeed. Xander fed for a good hour and latched on beautifully on the first try. After he was done, my family came in to see Xander for the first time. Everyone was thrilled and thoroughly exhausted, as they had all been hanging out in the hospital since the day before. Our guests didn't stay long. After seeing Xander, they all went home to sleep finally. The nurse finally took him to the little heated bed and gave him his first shots, his first bath, recorded his measurements, and got his footprints. It was over there with Chris and the nurse that he peed and pooped for the first time! Thankfully, most of it was in a blanket but he did pee on some paperwork...whoops! We couldn't take our eyes off of him for a long least until we were so tired we couldn't keep our eyes open. Finally, Chris had to sleep. He slept on the couch and I drifted in and out of sleep, constantly waking up to see Xander across the room still under this warmer bed.

A couple hours later we were taken to our postpartum room across the unit. They played Brahm's lullaby and the nurse said that was for us and I pretty much lost it. I never knew they played that music as the family was going to the postpartum unit. It still makes me want to cry right now. We settled in to our room, my baby in my arms for what was going to be another long night...and week...but this post is long enough already, so that will be my next post!

This entire labor process really paved the way for life showing me how NOT in control of life I am. My birth plan was pretty pointless in the long run. Yes, it helped the nurses know what I wanted, but that's not what Xander wanted. Those 2 days, and the 5 days following truly changed me in more ways than I can even explain. More importantly, they taught me that I will never be in control of my life and what happens, but I think I've taken all the chaos pretty well so far and proven that I am more than capable of handling anything that comes my way. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Full term and feeling...pregnant!

Hello friends!

Well, as of today I am 37 weeks 4 days pregnant. I am officially 'full-term' which basically means, if I go into labor now, my baby is considered able to survive outside the womb and the doctors will not try to stop it! It's exciting to think I'm finally in the final leg my pregnancy, but I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much since I very well may go over my due date by up to 2 weeks! The baby is growing normally, moving what feels like constantly, and is head-down and seems to be staying that way! (This is a good thing. It means he's ready to come out...eventually!)

I talked my midwife about this (going over my due date) already. She said they will start doing NST (fetal non-stress tests) on the baby about 10 days after my due date just to make sure he is doing okay in there and to make sure I am not losing any fluid. They don't induce until 2 weeks after the due date unless issues arise. I'm very glad of this since I want as natural of a birth of possible and being induced is NO JOKE. I won't get on my soapbox here about all that, but needless to say, I'd like to avoid it at all costs.

Just last week started my every week midwife appointments. They are pretty standard now-a-days. Weight, blood pressure, ask me how I'm feeling/if anything weird is going on, measure stomach (I'm currently measuring 39 weeks - 2 weeks ahead! They don't seem to be concerned though.), check baby's heart rate, and answer any of my questions. This week, I will be taking in my birth plan for my midwife to review. Thankfully, I have a midwife/doctor's office that is pro-natural birth and pro-birth plans. So far, everything is going great in terms of these appointments! We did make one trip to labor and delivery for a scary moment a couple months ago... long story short, it was really bad gas. Don't judge me! That stuff hurts. Constipation is totally different when you are pregnant compared to not pregnant! We got to see the Labor and Delivery floor a whole 2 days before our planned hospital tour though! (The hospital tour was alright. Nothing we didn't already know about, but good to attend, nonetheless.)

Let's move onto what I'm going to call "complainers corner"... Cons to being 37 weeks pregnant: My groin is still messed up and probably will not heal until after I have the baby. I've also been told it could be a muscle pull of another kind or possibly the baby is on a nerve. Also, my body is preparing for labor and delivery by loosening up all of my joints. ALL OF MY JOINTS. Not only are my hips spreading and sore and making me waddle, but my wrists and knuckles are also sore feel puffy with fluid. This is normal in pregnancy, as is pregnancy carpal tunnel. I already had the beginnings of it anyway, so really it just makes my wrists hurt a little more. I take Tylenol when it gets really annoying. Speaking of puffy, now that it's flip-flop weather and I can wear them to work, my feet and ankles have gotten the opportunity to puff up to hobbit-sized. I. Hate. Puffy. Feet. I have a thing about feet anyway and when mine are all freakishly fat/puffy looking - it makes me very self-conscious! The left side usually swells up worse than the right and sometimes swells up enough to hurt. Not. Fun. Some nights I have to sleep with my feet elevated. All. Night. Oh and let's talk about sleep shall we? Or lack of, I should say. I sleep sitting up every night now. I have pillows under my thighs to support my legs and hips and I basically sleep at a 45 degree angle. Once that gets uncomfortable, I lay on my left side for a couple hours - but only a couple! Because laying on my side, with a pillow under my stomach and 2 between my legs, still makes my groin just ache. Then, when I get up to pee, I'm all stiff and wobbly. Needless to say, sleep isn't so fun for me right now. I also get winded when I talk too much and can only go out and about in terms of walking around a store for about an hour or 2 before I'm so exhausted I can't even think. Am I ready to have this baby? TOTALLY. But I'm trying to just assume I'm going to go over my due date, so I'm not super mad when I do actually go over.

On the weight front, I have gained 55 lbs total since becoming pregnant. I'm not really thrilled about this, but I am accepting it for what it is. I'm going to gain 1-2 lbs every week, at least, for the rest of this pregnancy. Thankfully, most people are telling me it's 'all baby'. (aka, wow you don't look that fat in the face!) Here's hoping he weighs about 45 pounds! I am very ready to have my body back. Before, I was having those skin crawling feelings, and then they let up for a while. I still get them from time to time, but really, I'm just ready to feel normal again. I'm ready for people to not immediately look at my stomach when I walk into a room. Thankfully, I haven't had any crazy people try to touch my stomach or ask any inappropriate questions. The attention I have gotten has all been positive and Chris has done a great job of casually mentioning it where ever we go so people KNOW I am pregnant and not just fat (although, at this point in my pregnancy it's pretty obvious), but I am still just very ready to feel normal again. I want to wear my jeans and t-shirts again! I haven't worn jeans since probably January. If you know me, you will realize how weird that is because I ALWAYS wear jeans. I feel weird when I'm NOT in jeans. I've been wearing black sweat pants or black leggings basically all year. Since I'm wearing sweat pants in public (something I swore I would never do), I refuse to wear them with t-shirts... I have no desire to look like I left the house in my pajamas. Another pet peeve of mine.

Like most pregnant women, I'm a little concerned about what my body is going to look like post-baby. I know it will not be pretty for a while. I know I will have to work at it again and give it time for my skin to go back to where it was - even though it wasn't even where it needed to be before I got pregnant. I'm going to try my best to just be accepting of whatever my body does and try my best to help it get to a place I am comfortable with. Not happy (because that will probably never happen), but comfortable. I was VERY close to being comfortable with my body before getting pregnant. Now, I will have to get used to an entirely new body...all over again. Blech! Such a daunting task... But again, I am going to try my best to stay positive and not let my body image issues get in the way of enjoying my new life with my new baby. I also intend to continue seeing my counselor for as long as they will let me! I really like her, we get along great, and she has a lot of good incite.

Oh! Total subject change - I've had 2 of my 3 baby showers! My first one (on April 7), put on by my mother-in-law, was great! It was nice and small (about 6 people but they brought gifts from some other people as well) and a great first baby shower! I helped set up the decorations and I fit into my $6 spring dress from Goodwill that I bought last winter! The weather was gorgeous (which, if you know anything about Indiana, you will know that April is pretty much a toss up EVERY DAY). We got a TON of clothes and some other awesome goodies that will come in handy! Oh, and there was some pretty good food. But it's hard for me to find something I DON'T like right now...hence the part of the gaining 55 lbs thing. I thought I night be a little uncomfortable being the center of attention, but it wasn't so bad! I knew everyone there already, so that helped. My second baby shower - aka THE BIG ONE - was just last Saturday. We invited almost 70 people and about 40 showed up. It was a good-sized party, to say the least! I didn't help set this one up since I get tired just from talking now, but my sister, my mom, my aunt, a couple of my friends, and my mother-in-law pitched in and got it set up great in no-time! This party was as exhausting as I thought it would be. Opening presents took about an hour just in itself! We got a TON of great gifts, which we are very thankful for! Sadly, Chris had to work and only go to attend the last half of the shower (the gifts part), but I'm really glad he go to at least be there and see all of our friends and my family. It was a success and I'm looking forward to my 3rd and final baby shower, put on my by ex-step-mother-in-law (that's not confusing!), this coming Saturday...assuming I make it that long!

So, that's my last month and half in a nutshell. How are you? Pic update below! My 37 week picture is me in my PJs, so you don't get that one. Not much has changed since then anyway!

36 weeks

8 weeks 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

31 weeks and exhausted...

Hello there friends! My, February went by fast didn't it? Let's recap it, shall we?

In the beginning of February, my Dad and Step-Mom came up from Bloomington. We had breakfast together and they took me (Chris had to work) to buy us a baby bed! It's a pretty awesome most new cribs these days, it is made to convert from a crib, to a toddler bed, and then to a twin bed over the years! So glad they came up with this...what a great idea! We had a lovely time and my Dad set the bed up like a pro. I just found out my mom is getting us our travel system too! These are our 2 biggest ticket items and they have been taken care of and I'm sooo thankful! I love my parents! All 3 of them :)

The following week, I had a midwife appointment. It was my 3rd trimester appointment (28 weeks)! That appointment started my 'appointments every 2 weeks' schedule. Once I get to 36 weeks, I will be going once a week until I have the baby. The appointment went well...I got weighed, had my blood pressure taken, and had my last glucose test! They had me drink that nasty, super sweet, flat sprite-like drink and took my blood before we left (which I passed, like a boss. Take that people who assume all fat girls have health problems while they are pregnant!). She also measured my belly, which is growing right on schedule, and we listened to the heartbeat! That's always fun of course...and Chris still giggles when he hears it. (Adorable!) My midwife also answered all my questions and was not in any hurry whatsoever. That is one of the reasons I chose a midwife! They have time to listen and care. My next midwife appointment 2 weeks later was pretty much the same as this one. Check vitals, check baby, measure stomach, ask questions, see ya next time! (Just the way I like it.)

Also last month, we had our final research study appointment! I gave blood and did swabs and answered questions as usual. Then we got a 4D ultrasound! We were in there with the tech for a good 30 minutes. Laying in the ultrasound chair thingy that long was horrible! It got surprisingly uncomfortable. We did get to see our baby though and that was pretty awesome. She kept trying to get a good profile and shot of his face but the ENTIRE time we were in there, he had his foot up by face and mouth! He was literally bent in half the whole time...silly guy! Pics are below! After the appointment we got our free car seat and went on our way!

The rest of February was pretty normal. I've been working what seems like constantly but unintentionally slacking off my typing from home work. I can't seem to get enough sleep after hitting 29 weeks. I am constantly exhausted! Chris has been busy with school and working overnights on the weekends. I cannot tell you how much I hate him working on the weekends! We barely see each other any more and it's pretty sad, especially for me right now (pregnancy hormones!). Once the baby is here and I go back to work, Chris will probably quit his part time job and stay home with the baby. Hopefully, he will be able to take night classes so we don't have to pay for childcare....ugh paying for childcare. I'm going to try my best to NOT have to do this!

Aside from working and Chris going to school, we are still doing our baby classes as well. Next week will be our last class! We are both feeling much more prepared for our planned natural water birth but we will be going to a couple of classes again on our teacher's next go-round. We missed week 3 and Chris missed week 5 due to a migraine, so we are going to go to those once her new set of classes comes around. She said we can go to all of them again up until we have the baby if we want to! We will be packing our hospital bag this week too....It's pretty crazy to even think we are close enough that we can do that! My list is a bit longer than I was hoping, but I figure I will weed stuff out as I pack if I need to...or if I can. Oh, also this coming week I'm going to make some appointments to meet some pediatricians...Don't get me started on that mess! This month is going to be a lot busier than will the rest of my life, I imagine.

Lap Band wise and weight-wise things are going good. I'm up about 43 lbs total since getting pregnant. It has slowed quite a bit and I've been around this weight give or take 2-4 lbs for a while. Since my last 2 week appointment I've only gained 1.5 lbs. My appetite has noticeably increased, however. It's getting a little nuts! I am generally hungry every 2 hours unless I have a really big meal and then I'm stuffed and miserable for about 2-3 hours and then I'm hungry about an hour later. Super fun, I know. I'm also still counting my calories even though they are pretty much always over my goal of 1800. It's the thought that counts right? I've been logging in to My Fitness Pal for over 485 days in a row and I don't intend to stop any time soon!

Mentally, I still have my crazy moments. My counselor is helping a lot when I get to see her. I try to go every other week but right now it's working out as every 3-4 weeks due to both of our schedules. It does make me a bit concerned from time to time, what random or insignificant things can bug me or upset me. I don't want to be medicated while I'm pregnant...or at all really, but my crazy isn't getting any better and it hasn't throughout my whole pregnancy. Because of this, I plan on getting my placenta freeze dried and encapsulated and taking it like a vitamin after birth. This is a method that has been thought to help treat post-partem depression, help with milk supply, and a few other really good things. Lots of people think it's really gross, but I've done the research and I am willing to do anything I can to not get depressed after I have this baby! I really don't want my mental instability (or whatever you want to call it) to get in the way of enjoying my baby.

Speaking of baby, he is moving CONSTANTLY! Every 2 hours, at least, he reminds me he is in there and is getting stronger than ever! I have a little alien inside of me that loves to kick me in all my organs. Sometimes he moves so fast/strong it makes me jump! I'm getting some typical pregnancy aches and pains - sore hips, my stupid groin, tired, moody, etc. Oh and sleeping is getting more and more annoying. Sleeping on my sides makes my hips hurt, sleeping on my right side especially and I have to sleep sitting up if I want to be on my back, which I end up doing more often than not...yay for crappy sleep!

In other news....Things are coming along with the nursery! We bed is set up. We have car seats and strollers. Walls are starting to get decorated. Rocker is in there. We have some clothes already. Unfortunately, we can't do a ton of stuff because we have to wait until the baby showers just in case some of our decorations that we registered for get bought! Speaking of the baby shower..invitations are being made today and my sister will be sending them out this week! I'm having 3 baby showers for this child. Crazy, I know. The first one will be April 7 (a day before my birthday!) and it will be with Chris's mom's side of the family. This will probably be the smallest of my baby showers and will be at our house. I think it will be a great first baby shower! A good start to a busy month. My mother-in-law is doing it all and I'm letting her do whatever her heart desires! This is her first grandchild and her house and she is thrilled and since I'm having 3, I figured she can have this one! My second and biggest baby shower will be April 20 in Muncie. This will be all of my family (mom's and dad's side) and all of my friends in Muncie and surrounding areas. We have invited over 70 people... Funny how large baby showers get when you make them co-ed! Yikes!!! We will see how many people RSVP! My third and final baby shower will be the following weekend (cutting it close, I know! I occasionally wonder if my big one is pushing it as well, but the space has already been rented!). My last baby shower, scheduled for the week after my big one, will be for Chris's dad's side of the family, put on by his lovely ex-step mom. I have no idea how big this one will be or anything about it and I'm totally okay with that. I think my favorite kind of baby shower is one I don't have to plan or worry about. Can you blame me? I will be so pregnant by late April I'll be lucky to physically LAST through all 3 baby showers!

Alright, I think I'm done for pics and I will see you all next month!

8 weeks

31 weeks (today!)


Front face

His foot is up by his face...can you tell?

Foot! He loves his feet for some reason.