Thursday, May 31, 2012

10 days

7 to 10 days - pretty standard expression. It seems like everything happens in 7-10 days: shipping, billing, etc. And I gave birth 10 days ago (well, 11 now, it was 10 yesterday when I wanted to write this blog...) My son is 10 days old, he'll be starting high school next week and college in a month or so, I swear!

To mark the milestone his umbilical stump fell off. At first I thought "wow, that was quick" but then I did the math and realized it happened right when it was supposed to - 7-10 days after birth. And then I realized he was 10 days old already! So much has happened in that 10 days, it blows my mind.

One one hand, giving birth is sort of commonplace; my body was designed to do it and women do it all the time. In fact, they've been doing it for our entire existence, in far more primitive and dangerous conditions than I can even imagine. Women do it every day, all over the world, at all ages and despite heavier odds than I had to overcome. On the other hand, when you really stop to think about it, giving birth is pretty amazing. I grew a human, inside my body, and then pushed him out! I find this to be pretty miraculous, even if it did happen exactly how it was supposed to. I still can't even believe that I survived 9 months of pregnancy and gave birth to this precious little boy. I swear I just found out I was pregnant and yet here I am, 10 days post delivery already.

Looking back now I can say I had a very easy pregnancy (physically) and probably didn't take it as easy as I should have but I survived it and managed to grow a perfect little boy. And then to think about the process of actually giving birth, I still can't believe I did it. In some ways I still think of myself in the terms of never being able to have children, even though I have this little baby in my arms. When you spend over a decade believing something, it is hard to adjust your thinking. I know I was pregnant, I know I gave birth, I know I have a son, but it still seems like it was all a dream. I have to say it really feels like a dream during those 3am feedings!

I've learned a lot in the last 10 days. I've learned that my body can do incredible things. I've learned that a good chunk of my life and conversations now revolve around poop. I've learned that there really is no point in putting a shirt some days. I've learned that making plans for the day is kind of pointless because it all depends on Ryder. I've learned that I love Mike and Ryder more than I ever thought possible - to the point where I break down in tears when Mike leaves for work because I can't bear to be separated from him (hopefully this is just hormones and doesn't last because the tears are really getting old). I've learned that I adore being a mommy to this little boy.

10 days down, the rest of our lives to go...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Week 1

Well, exactly a week ago yesterday we were still in the hospital, waiting to bring our little man home. I can't believe a whole week has gone by already, and it has been such a blur! I'd like to think we've adjusted nicely but I know it is a little premature to say that since it has only been a week. I've also had a lot of help this week so I'm a little nervous about life moving forward (more about that later). I really wanted to record every single day this week because I want to remember everything but it didn't really work out so I'll try to remember what I can.

Coming home from the hospital was not very organized. My Dr checked on me around 7am and the pediatrician checked on Ryder around 9am and we took the discharge class at 10am so we thought we were good to go. I wanted to feed him one more time with the lactation consultant just to make sure Ryder and I were doing well so we were planning to head home around 3. Well, that didn't work out. We had to get his hearing test and wait for the birth certificate lady and do our discharge paperwork and it was 7pm by the time we were actually leaving. Mike and I hadn't eaten since breakfast because we kept thinking we were going to leave and I didn't want to pay for another crappy hospital meal so we were both tired and hungry and cranky. Right as we got to the car Ryder pooped everywhere and the backseat was full of all of our stuff so I had to sit in the front instead of in back with him and it was a very tense ride home (luckily we only live 10min from the hospital). I was a little nervous about leaving the hospital so soon too, wondering if we should have stayed a day longer. But even though walking into our house was a little crazy - needing to change the baby, the cat freaked out about the baby, Nichole was here waiting, we were starving and tired and Mike's mom was on her way over unexpectedly, I knew instantly that we'd made the right choice to come home. We ordered pizza, got the baby cleaned up (he promptly peed on us when we changed him) and settled in to a relaxing night. Taking a shower and laying in my own bed felt amazing and Ryder let me get almost 5 hours of sleep.

The next day is a blur. We took Ryder to the pediatrician at 9 (clean bill of health for our little guy!) I was really sore and couldn't sit properly or move very well so I was basically confined to the couch. I don't even really remember much about that first day except trying to get Ryder to breastfeed was a bit of a challenge. Wednesday was rough too... again all I did was lay on the couch, feeding and looking at my baby. I kept thinking about all the things I needed/wanted to do but I was so sore and and I was really loving just bonding with my son. It was hard for me to accept that it was okay to lay around and do nothing but tend to Ryder, that that was what I was supposed to be doing. Nichole kept telling me my job was to just get to know my baby and Mike was so supportive, he took care of all the cleaning and organizing around the house, making it baby ready. I just had a hard time with the concept that it was okay to lay around. Being a mom is quite the adjustment! Thursday my grandparents came over and brought us a bunch of food and met their new great grandson. My grandmas are really cute, they are good friends and hang out together all the time and have decided to call themselves the "GGs", for great grandmas. I love it! Ryder was really fussy all day and didn't nurse well and I thought it was from the distraction of everyone at first. Turns out he had tummy trouble thanks to the fiber cereal I was eating (I was still terrified of pooping at this point) and I was up all night with him, poor little guy. He was crying (well, more like screaming) in pain and I was crying because I felt like it was my fault, like I had hurt my baby. We survived the night and Friday I ventured out to the grocery store with Nichole. It was very strange being out in public and away from my baby and I was still pretty sore so it wasn't the most enjoyable outing but it did feel good to be productive in some way. Saturday Mike's mom came over to see the baby and yesterday my parents spent the day with us, cooking us food for the week and bonding with their grandson.  It was the first day I could sit normally and I even did my hair for the first time all week, so I felt somewhat human again. Last night we had Ryder's newborn pictures taken, or at least attempted to. He wasn't a big fan of all the outfit changes and was quite fussy. I think he had some gas as well.  Hopefully we got some cute shots!

Yesterday I actually wore my own underwear (instead of the mesh panties from the hospital) and a bra (which barely fits but what can you do) for the first time since giving birth. I didn't take any pain medicine either (it was pointed out to me that I must be pretty tough since I gave birth and have only been taking alleve for pain). Mike and I ventured out with Ryder to get a new camera and some baby supplies and it was really nice being out as a family. It felt weird pushing his stroller, like we were two kids playing house. But Ryder did really well and we survived a few hours out of the house. I have to say, kudos to Buy Buy Baby for having a changing/feeding room, we ended up taking full advantage of it! I was pretty sore at the end of the day, probably from walking around for a the few hours we were out, sitting straight for the first time all week, and not taking my pain meds but overall I feel pretty good; at least closer to normal than I have felt in months. My feet were even their normal size again and my rings fit, yay!

The days are flying by and I just want them to slow down so I can enjoy my little angel. I don't want him to get bigger yet, I love him so much right now. I love how little he is, I love watching him sleep, I love his little noises and the little faces he makes. I love being home and not on a schedule. I am just totally head over heels in love! He is a really good baby too, he only cries when something is wrong and stops as soon as we fix whatever it is. I'm sure every parent thinks this, but I think I really have a perfect little boy!

There have been some challenges too though. The first few days after giving birth my whole body hurt. even my skin felt tender to the touch, like I was one big bruise from head to toe. I hated how jiggly and gross my body was too, it seemed like everything was loose and flabby and I wondered if I'd ever get my old body back. It is better now, things have tightened up and I know I've lost a lot of weight but I have a ways to go before I'm back to pre-baby form. I did end up with stretch marks, despite using the creams and oils every day, so I'm a little unhappy about that but whatever. There are worse things in life. My boobs are enormous so I'm sure they'll be saggy when I'm done breastfeeding. But I don't feel quite so ugly and tired looking as I was a few days ago.

Breastfeeding was a challenge too. You'd think something so natural and necessary for survival would be a lot easier. That could be a whole blog by itself so I'll save that one for later.

My biggest challenge has been the "baby blues". I'm not sad or depressed, but I'm really really weepy. I cry 2 or 3 times a day. Mostly when I think about how much I love my son and Mike. I've also been really really anxious about Mike going back to work; like panic attack anxious. I'm so terrified that something will happen to him, it is completely irrational but I break down in tears everytime I think about it. It is tough too because I know it is a panic attack/hormones, but I can't take anything because I'm breastfeeding so I get all worked up and it sucks. Mike has been so wonderful and understanding but he ends up laughing at me because it is so ridiculous. I'd have to say I'll take the soreness and exhaustion and everything else if I could just not be so weepy and anxious. I have my dr. apt Monday so if it is still happening I will talk to them about it.

So that is my first week as a mommy in a nutshell. I'd have to say that overall I couldn't be happier with my family or more in love with the men in my life. I'm one lucky girl!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The debut

He's here! Mr Ryder Patrick Martin decided to join us at 6:36am on Sunday, May 20th and he is just perfect! Mike and I are so smitten with our little man and still can't believe he is here.

My original due date was May 26th and we had an induction scheduled for Monday, May 28th. I was originally going to work until Friday, May 25th but I was feeling so crappy and tired and my feet and legs were so swollen that I decided to leave a week early so Friday, May 18th was my last day. On Thursday I was feeling "off", I had woken up at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep so I took the day off of work and just took it easy. We had a dr. apt. that afternoon and she took one look at me and scheduled the induction for as close to our due date as possible. I was only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced and she said he really could come at any time, I was "ripe". She said my tailbone had moved and I had plenty of room to deliver vaginally. All that day I was having a lot of gas pains and my hips were just aching. Mike stayed home from work to be with me and we went out to dinner but I couldn't sit for very long so we came home. I'm thinking now that it was the beginning of labor and I just didn't know.

Friday was my last day of work and I still wasn't feeling great but went in to finish as much as I could, knowing it was my last day. My coworkers really surprised me with all their good wishes and kind words and how many people made an effort to come see me and wish me well. I ended up working until 6:30 and was exhausted when I got home. I was still having gas pains and hip pains and Mike was good at trying to make me comfortable. I took a hot bath and took the night easy. I had a little to-do list for the coming week while waited for our little guy, just some odds and ends I needed to take care of before he came but nothing urgent. One of my best friends was coming out from AZ to spend the week with me leading up to the birth so I had little things for us to do each day. I was really excited for the down time before our big arrival.

Saturday I was up super early again and still not feeling great. I went to see a friend's son's hockey game at 11:30 and went to lunch with them afterwards. After that I wandered around the mall for a few hours, picked up an outfit to come home from the hospital in and just sort of walked around - my pains weren't so bad as long as I was moving; sitting and/or laying down were really uncomfortable. I got home that evening and cuddled with Mike; we took a shower and joked about having sex to induce but ended up not doing it. My hips were really bad and the gas pains were worse so he just massaged me and helped me try to get comfortable. He left for work at 7:30 and by 8pm I realized that my "gas pains" were coming and going and feeling more like menstrual cramps. I had also started spotting and was feeling really nauseous. I wondered if I was having contractions so I gave myself an hour to see if they went away or got worse. I did my hair, ran a load of baby laundry, packed my hospital bag and Ryder's diaper bag (you know, just in case) and then realized that I was definitely having contractions. I couldn't sit or lay down, I had to stay up and moving. I called Mike at work but he didn't answer so I called my mom and said "I think I'm in labor" - it seemed so surreal to be saying those words.  I wasn't really sure but I knew something was happening so I decided to go to the hospital just to get checked out. My mom didn't want me driving so I called Mike again and he rushed home. We got to the hospital at 10pm and my contractions were every 4 minutes at that point. I knew something was going on but still wasn't sure it was labor. They brought us upstairs and the nurse checked us in. I told her I was 1cm on Thurs and she said they'd probably send us home if I still wasn't dilated. I sort of knew it and was totally prepared to head home even though my contractions were getting more and more intense. Well, she checked me and we were 4cm and she told us "you're having a baby!"

So of course there was a flurry of activity, calling parents and letting everyone know I was in labor. The contractions were getting really intense but I was still set on no drugs. The nurses looked at me like I was crazy and were trying to talk me into getting the epidural - not in a pushy way but in a "hey, it's here for you for a reason and no one will care if you get it" kind of way. I was still determined to stick it out but it was getting tougher. The dr. came and checked me around midnight and I was 7cm so he broke my water. It was such a crazy feeling and I looked and felt like I'd instantly lost half my pregnant belly. But the pain just got worse after that. Finally around 1am I couldn't take it anymore and asked for the epidural. I even started throwing up because the pain was so bad. I am SO glad I did, what a miracle drug! I was able to rest and visit with Mike's mom for a bit. I gave Mike his "daddy to be" present - a Bulova watch, and my mom her "grandma to be" present, a pandora bracelet. I even took a short little nap. At 4am I was 10cm dilated and by 4:40 we were pushing. I pushed for 2 hours, it was exhausting! It was hard to because I couldn't really feel what I was doing. My contractions had really slowed down so I couldn't push as frequently or know exactly when I was going to contract so it seemed to take forever. Mike and my mom and dad were in the room and they were so great; Mike helped me with my legs because I couldn't feel them and my parents gave lots of encouragement and helped watch for contractions. Finally around 6am the dr. came in (along with about 12 other people) and within 1/2 hour our little miracle was born. He did have to cut me but Ryder came much quicker after that. I can't even explain what it felt like to finally give birth, I couldn't feel a lot, just pressure, but there was a definite sort of "pop" feeling when he was actually born and I was so aware that he was out. I immediately burst into tears, tears of joy and relief and exhaustion.

Pretty soon everyone was crying, my mom, Mike, me, everyone but Ryder. He had a great apgar score (9.9) but he just didn't want to cry. He was very alert and very calm, he didn't even cry when he got his shot. He had swallowed some fluid so they wanted him to cry to get it up but he just didn't want to. It seemed like forever while the dr. stitched me up and the nurses got him cleaned and measured and weighed and finally put him in my arms. Mike and I were so overwhelmed, we just couldn't stop staring at our beautiful little miracle. He was so perfect - not wrinkled or smushed at all. He had a head full of blond hair and dark dark blue eyes (I think they will be brown) and just the most precious little face. He didn't look anything like I expected but he was so beautiful. It was definitely love at first sight.

We were very lucky to have awesome nurses the entire time (other than 1 that Mike really hated) and we felt like we were the only people in the whole hospital, everyone was so attentive and helpful and it seemed like everyone really fell in love with Ryder. He was such a mellow baby. Breast feeding was a challenge and I worked with the lactation specialist twice. Ryder wanted nothing to do with the left boob, only the right one and he would only eat for about 5 minutes at a time. We had to wake him up to make him eat but everyone kept assuring us he was doing great and it was normal and he'd pick it up in time. My epidural didn't wear off right away and my entire left leg was completely numb so I wasn't very mobile. I wasn't in too much pain but it was hard to move around and the most annoying thing to me was the IV in my hand, they wouldn't take it out and I could barely move that hand so holding Ryder was tough and breastfeeding was harder - I constantly needed extra hands to help. Nothing like having other people trying to smush your boob into an infants mouth. (On that note, nothing like giving birth to kill any sense of modesty. By the end I didn't even care that my dad was there seeing everything. I just wanted that kid out!)

That first day is still a bit of a blur but I vividly remember how much I loved laying in bed with my son in my arms, skin to skin. He had such a beautiful little face and such big alert eyes looking up at me. He makes the cutest little faces and noises, I was totally head over heels in love with him.

I have so much more to say, I want to remember every moment of the experience and his first few days but then this will be a very very long post. Now that we're getting the hang of having him and his schedule I'll be able to hopefully catch up more. I am just so smitten and want to remember everything - I know he won't stay little like this forever.

I still can't believe he is here...

Friday, May 18, 2012

39 weeks

Feeling pretty miserable these days. Yesterday I was up at 2am and only managed a 2 hour nap. My legs and feet are grotesquely swollen and look like they belong on someone else's body. I spend about 1/2 hour to 45 min in the bathroom every morning - thank goodness for stool softener!!! I truly don't understand those shows about women who didn't know they were pregnant - I call bullshit! Your body changes and goes through WAY too much to not know something is up!

Dr apt went well - due to my size and the swelling we started induction paperwork so if he doesn't come on his own then they will induce me on May 25th. I was so happy I could have cried! The end is in sight! My cervix is ripe (though not dialated yet) and my tailbone has moved and dr says I have plenty of room to deliver vaginally. They are doing a 2 part induction which only has a 20% chance of needing a c section so we're pretty happy over all. One more week! Plus, I work better with deadlines so now I have motivation to finish up that To Do list.

Well, time to head in to my last day of work. I'm so ready for this!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Some randomness

There was so much I wanted to write about during this pregnancy and it seemed like I had all the time in the world. Now here we are, ready to go any minute (although I guess technically I have 9 days but am praying it won't take that long...) and I never did touch on the following thoughts that I had floating around in my brain during the last 6 months:

1. Never Say Never - it is so easy to make judgements about other people's parenting skills and choices and there are so many things over the years that I've said I'll never do as a parent or that my child will never do - I'll never use one of those leash things, I'll never let my little boy wear his hair long so he looks like a girl, I'll never let my child go out in public covered in dirt/food/mess, etc. Well, I guess I'm about to find out how idealistic my ideas of parenthood are and what the reality will be...

2. Sacrifice - I have never appreciated my parents and everything they did (or didn't) do for me as much as I do now. Becoming a parent really changes your prospective on things. My mom and I have grown so much closer and I'm seeing a whole new side of her now that I'm about to be a mom myself. My son will have a much easier childhood in some ways because Mike and I are in a much better financial situation then my parents were and we are both about a decade older and wiser. He will have multiple sets of grandparents who are already spoiling him, and will probably not want for anything. Of course as a mother I don't want him to ever struggle or have to go without but I also think part of who Mike and I are comes from how hard we had to work on our own to get where we are today. We didn't have things handed to us and life wasn't always easy. We both learned to appreciate hard work and sacrifice and I hope we can instill some of that in our son.

3. Am I going to be a good mom? This is a big one. My whole life growing up all I wanted was to have a family. A decade ago I would have described myself as very maternal. But once I learned that it probably wasn't in the cards for me I mentally backed away from the idea of having kids of my own. It was a gradual, subconscious effort but I can see how my mind shifted and how I "accepted" that I wouldn't be a mother. Now I see it was more of a self preservation/protection thing than actual acceptance but either way it changed how I looked at children. And I got used to my life without them. Mike and I traveled, went out to fancy, expensive dinners whenever we wanted, and pretty much did and/or bought anything we wanted. In some ways it is good we had that freedom and got it out of our system but sometimes I question whether it is out of my system? I'm pretty selfish by nature and get a little freaked out thinking that every day of my life from now on will be dedicated to someone else's wants and needs, not my own. And this freaks me out. Will I be able to handle it? Will I resent him? Will I be able to be happy and content with my little family vs. my fabulous young and unattached life? I know it is normal for new parents to freak out and in some ways I've had many many years to live how I wanted at my own whims so it should be easy to move forward but it may also be even harder to give it all up. I don't know, I just really really hope I'm the best mother I can be to this little bean.

Well, I'm sure there's even more I want to say and I'll probably never get it all down but thats ok. I'm adapting to have a never ending To Do list these days! Off to the dr for our 39 week checkup, fingers crossed for news of progress and impending birth!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

38 weeks

The Bean is still nestled firmly in my womb and while I'd love to have him out I'm also happy for a little more time to finish up work and get totally (as much as we can anyway) ready for him.

Dr. apt yesterday was another uneventful one: weight staying steady, blood pressure low (100/70) and his heartbeat is staying strong at 140. I was 1cm dialated but 50% effaced so it really could be any day now.

Other than being constipated and having extremely swollen legs & feet, I feel pretty good. I've actually been getting at least one 4 hour stretch of sleep per night, no heartburn, no leg cramps, and the achey joints aren't getting worse. Mike & I both have had some freakout moments but we talk each other through it and are truly happy and excited to meet our little boy.

So this is my last week of work to get through and then it's time to sit back and wait for my newest little love to be born. RPM is almost here!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Full term!

We made it to 37 weeks, woohoo!!! Boring but good dr apt yesterday:
BP: 118/70 (high for me but still low)
Blood count normal
Negative for strep B
Ryder's heart rate 142
Weight gain 30lbs (lots of it fluid, have you seen my calves/ankles/feet?)
Dialated "barely a fingertip"

So baby and mommy are healthy and just plowing along...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So In Love

So I've done a lot of complaining on this blog and could do a whole lot more; I've hit that point where I'm basically miserable - I can't sleep, everything hurts, I weigh a ton so moving is very difficult, and don't forget the lovely hormones! I'm a cranky beast these days. So I'm doing my best to remind myself that I'm very lucky to be able to experience pregnancy and that it isn't all horrible. Here are some things I love about being pregnant:

I love feeling my son move. I love knowing he is in there, growing big and strong and that I'll get to meet him soon. I can share some of it with Mike (who just loves feeling him move and talking to him and kissing my belly, all of which are more things I love) but for now he is all mine. Our relationship is very intimate and as much as I hate being awake all hours of the night, there is some enjoyment in laying in bed in the dark feeling him move and being able to tell him how much he is wanted and loved and know it is just the two of us for now.

I love finally playing the pregnancy card (sort of). One of the things that drives me the most nuts about being pregnant is my loss of independance. I've become reliant on people to help me more than I care for and sometimes I don't have a choice, they just insist on doing things for me that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself, thank you very much! I've avoided playing the pregnancy card as long as possible but I'm finally at that point where I need to use it and I'm not hating it as much as I thought. Coming and going at work as I please (not taking advantage, just not pushing myself to do more than I can), having people move things for me, putting off housework and chores (because my feet are legitimately too swollen to stand on by the time I get home and I'm exhausted) and eating what I want. I'm not happy with my weight gain but it isn't out of control and a lot of it is water retention (did I mention my swollen legs and feet?) but overall it isn't that bad and I'm committed to being as healthy as I can be once he's born so for now I'll just enjoy eating Lucky Charms for dinner and my nightly ice cream sandwhiches, thank you very much.

I love feeling like I'm part of some exclusive club. From good friends to strangers, all of a sudden my relationship with women has changed. Friends who have babies have been an amazing support system and strangers open up to me like we are old friends. There are some coworkers who I've never really had a relationship with who have become very friendly and sympathetic and it has been really nice to have them to talk to. There was even a woman from the Girl Scout Board who has never said two words to me and last weekend at our meeting we had a great long chat about being a mom to little boys. I never even knew I was missing out on these kinds of relationships or this kind of female bonding and I'm really enjoying it. Part of it may have been self-inflicted with my whole jealousy/distance thing (see previous blog) but I'm so happy to have it now and am really enjoying it. It has even brought me closer to my cousin who I love dearly and was one of my best friends growing up but who I haven't been very close to in years. I love that we've been able to reconnect and bond over being mommies.

I love that my mom and I are closer than ever. She's never been big on being a grandma; she had me at 19 and my whole life she has pounded into my head that I shouldn't get married or have kids too young. And of course we both have thought for years I wouldn't be able to have kids so she wasn't ever expecting to be a grandma. But she has been an awesome support person for me throughout the pregnancy and I know she'll be a great grandmother. I love living so close to her so we can share this experience and I love that she isn't pushy or judgemental and is just there when I need her. I love seeing her get all teary eyed when she sees ultrasound pictures and I can't wait to see her hold her grandson for the first time.

I love how much I love Mike. This pregnancy has changed our relationship in ways I never expected but we are strong then ever. I could not have asked for a better partner and I honestly don't know how I would have lasted through this pregnancy without him by my side. He has been so supportive and so eager to be a part of this experience. He is so committed to being a good father and partner to me and I have seen him grow up (not that he really needed it, but he's made some really positive changes in his life and taken some big steps to be the best man he can be) so much in the past few months. I've seen him battle with his demons regarding his relationship with his own father and it breaks my heart to see him in pain over it but it solidifies that he will always do his best to be a great father. He tells me all the time how beautiful I still am to him and he has made sure that I haven't wanted for anything. He has let me cry on his shoulder, even when I'm crying over nothing. He is nesting right now so our bedroom has been rearranged, ceiling fans have been hung, rooms have been organized and cleaned, walls have been touch-up painted, and the garage is somewhat in better shape (still can't park a car, but hey, those millions of diapers are more important, right?). I didn't think I'd ever want to get married again but now I can't imagine not spending my life with Mike by my side and we are starting to talk about wedding plans and making things "official". My son couldn't have a better daddy and I couldn't have a better man to share my life with.

I love that is it is finally May and I will get to meet my son soon. The end is in sight!

36 weeks