July 7, 2014

Lily's First Month

  • 6/7 - My birthday! (Read about my birth here)
  • 6/9 - Came home from the hospital 
  • 6/11 - First follow up appointment - down to 5lbs 9oz
  • 6/12 - 2nd follow up - up to 5lbs 10 oz
  • 6/13 - Met Great-Grandma and Papa
  • 6/14 - Met Uncle Tyler and Cousin Ben
  • 6/16 - I went to Baby Basics at Cornerstone on my due date - my first trip other than to the doctor
  • 6/17 - Lost my cord stump
  • 6/19 - 2 week doctor's appointment - up to 6lbs 6 oz!
  • 6/22 - Church and then newborn pictures with Katharyne
  • 6/25 - Grandma Sherry, Melissa amd Amanda came to visit, go shopping and have lunch
  • 6/26 - World Cup soccer with BASF
  • 7/3 - Fireworks in the van (eating)
  • 7/4 - Parade for the 4th of July
  • 7/7 - Daddy left for a business trip overnight

Size/Percentile: At 2 weeks 
  • Weight - 6 lbs 6 oz (6%)
  • Height - 19.75 inches (33%)
  • Head - 14.06 inches (75%)

Daily Schedule: 
I wake up the first time in the morning about 6:30-7:30, around the same time Daddy leaves for work. Mommy and I usually take a nap until I wake up again at about 9:30. During the day, Mommy wakes me up with a diaper change every 2-3 hours if I don't wake up on my own. After my diaper is changed I get to eat. I usually eat for about 20 minutes, but I like to "comfort nurse" and use Mommy as a pacifier in the evenings. Mom feeds me right before she falls asleep, between 11 and midnight, and then I wake up once in the middle of the night to eat. Sometimes Daddy gives me a bottle that Mommy pumped if she's too tired to hold me to nurse.

Things I Love:
  • Boob. 
  • Snuggling/sleeping on Daddy's chest 
  • Having my arms swaddled (otherwise I punch myself)
  • My duck (Wubanub pacifiers - duck and giraffe)

This Month's Milestones:
  • I've cried real tears since before I left the hospital.
  • I follow Mommy and Daddy's voices by turning my head
  • My eyes rarely cross anymore and I focus on faces pretty well
  • I can hold my head up for about a minute when I'm on my belly
  • I smile at Mommy and Daddy (and after I fart)
  • I don't cry at baths, clothes or diaper changes anymore!
  • Two growth spurts - Mommy was amazed how much I ate!

Highlights of the Month:
  • I eat really efficiently, but only with the shield
  • I have scared multiple people with how loudly I can fart/poop
  • I kept almost all of my hair and the top of my head is finally filling in!
  • I still don't fill out my other newborn sized clothes, but my Carter's brand ones are getting snug now!
  • I slept in the Mei Tai for walks to the farmer's market on Saturdays
  • I stretch out my neck and purse my lips - Aunt Amanda calls it my "turtle face"
Lily's first picture
Drowning in the hospital's clothes
Sleeping on her first afternoon at home
Way too small for the bouncy seat
Apparently Grandma Sherry wasn't very entertaining
Meeting her Great-Grandparents
Family picture!
Dressed up to leave the house for the first time.
2 weeks old
Napping with Daddy
Our little burrito
Fourth of July
Napping through the parade
Dancing with Daddy

July 6, 2014

Lily's Birth Story

Lily's birth story is actually pretty boring typical. After being told that I would be induced on Monday the 9th at 39 weeks (you can read about my pregnancy and the reason for induction here) Mike and I went into hustle mode to have everything ready for Monday. We spent Friday afternoon painting our dining room - yes, I did spend multiple hours on a ladder cutting in the ceiling at 9 months pregnant - and then we went to see a movie for one last date night sans babysitter. We decided later that seeing a really sad (but wonderful) movie like Fault in our Stars is apparently a natural labor inducer. After sobbing my way through the movie, I started having contractions at about 1:30 am (Saturday). I slept off and on for the next couple hours and once I was having contractions every 5-6 minutes, I woke Mike up to head to the hospital. His response to having to wake up at 4:30am on a Saturday? "mmm... are you sure?" "Umm... 90... no, 75 percent... but yes." We couldn't get a hold of First Nurse, so we grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital.
Once we got to the hospital, we got checked in and I got hooked up to the monitors and checked. Turns out I was having minor contractions in between the ones I was counting, so they were actually coming every 3 minutes. I was also 80% effaced and almost 2 cm dilated (I had been 30 and 1 at my appointment 12 hours earlier). The doctor I had seen on Friday (Dr. Downard) was on call over night, so he talked to the doctor on call for the day (Dr. Lines) and they decided that even if labor slowed, they wouldn't send me home without a baby! They got me fully admitted and then recommended we try to sleep for a few hours and see how I progressed naturally. There was too much adrenaline and excitement to really sleep, but we relaxed and watched lots of Property Brothers and Yard Crashers.

At 10:30, Dr Lines came back in to check me. I was 2.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced, so she broke my water to try to keep things moving. That's also when Mike texted family to let them know that Saturday was the day instead of Monday. Labor continued progressing for about an hour, with my contractions getting more intense, but then they started slowing until they were coming every 7-10 minutes. At 1:30, they gave me Pitocin, a synthetic version of the hormone that stimulates contractions. It's an incredibly slow drip, so they only change the dosage every 30 minutes to try to find the "sweet spot" of increasing contractions, but not too far. Because of this, I had been warned that it could take up to 3 hours to get the right dosage. Luckily, it actually only took one minor dosage change, so we didn't have to wait long for labor to start progressing again.

Between 2 and 3, my contractions hit what I would call a 7 on the pain scale, but then again, I really have no idea what a 10 is, so who really knows. Anyway, during that same time Bob and Bev came up to visit, which was great because I was distracted. Mike also helped by reminding me that even though we didn't know how many contractions I would have to deal with, after every one, the number left got smaller. I would never have to have that contraction again. At about 3:15 I hit the point where I wanted something to help with the pain. I felt like if I wasn't hooked to the pitocin (and therefore the monitors) I would have gotten in the whirlpool bath and waited it out to see how bad the pain got, but since I couldn't, I was ready for an epidural. I had been told it could be up to an hour to get the epidural because of the anesthesiologists being in surgery, etc. but it actually only took about 15 minutes. My anesthesiologist was actually pretty funny as he told me about the risks ("1 in 50,000 epidurals lead to severe complications, compared to 1 in 500 births... and this would make the birth part way more fun") and did a great job. I've heard a lot of stories about women who get a little too much in their epidural and can't feel anything, but I didn't have that at all. I didn't have any pain, but did have that Novocain numb feeling from my belly button to my knees. 

My mom and dad arrived as I was getting the epidural, so we got to chat with them for a while before the doctor came back to check me again at 4. The pitocin was definitely working, as I was 4 cm, 90% effaced, and at -1 station with contractions every few minutes and much stronger (according to the monitor - I couldn't feel the pain to tell). After that we all just hung out and relaxed. In the next couple hours Melissa, Amanda, Jenny, Tyler and Ben all came to see us too.

At about 6:30, everyone was going to head to dinner, and I asked Mike to stay at least until the doctor had checked me again. Luckily, when she came to check me at 7:15 I was 8 cm, 95%, and 0 station; so I didn't feel bad for asking Mike to stay. It would have been a bummer if I was still a 4/5! After they had dinner, everyone just hung out in the waiting room so that Mike and I could take a nap. At about 9:30 the nurse came in, thinking I was going to be ready to push based on the intensity of the contractions on the monitors - I was completely asleep! At about 10, the doctor came in and checked me one last time. She said I was ready to go and she could even see baby's head. She was very laid back the whole time, and mentioned that I may have been able to push at 9, but since I was sleeping, it was way better to let my body do the work without me knowing it. They finished setting up the room and at 10:15 it as time to deliver!

Between the epidural and napping on my left side, I had zero function in my left leg. I had some control of my right leg, but when they put my left foot in the stirrup my foot slipped right off. Mike had to reach over and put it back in for me. Mike and Nurse Sarah held my legs for me and we laughed about being distracted by the hockey game on TV behind the doctor in between contractions. Because I had labored so long while sleeping, I really had very little pushing to do. It only took a very minor tear (2 stitches), 4 contractions (12 pushes) and 11 minutes later, at 10:26 pm, we had our baby girl! We looked at her and agreed that she was our Lillian Kay, no reason to pick a different name.

Lily was immediately brought to my chest for all of her initial tests and some cuddles as she got ready to eat for the first time. Unfortunately, she had a lot of liquid in her lungs that she was still working on getting up before she could breathe very well. Not bad enough to need taken for suction, but enough that combined with flat nipples, we couldn't get a good latch to breast feed. Luckily, I had a very good supply of colostrum, so I was able to hand express a half ounce for her to eat from a cup. After she ate, she got to meet all of the family that was waiting to meet her. Grandma Sherry, Grandma Bev, Grandpa Doug, and Aunts Melissa, Amanda and Jenny all got to take turns holding her (Grandpa Bob, Uncle Tyler, and Cousin Ben had gone home for Ben's bedtime).

After family left at about 12:30, Lily still wasn't able to latch, even with help from the lactation consultant, Angie. Because she didn't want to resort to a shield too soon, Lily had another cup feeding. She was then weighed, measured and had her first bath with Daddy and nurse Sarah - I was still waiting for my legs to work again. I was then helped to the bathroom and we all settled down to a much needed few hours of sleep.

The next day, we met with the lactation consultants again and decided to try using the nipple shield to help her latch on and start to figure out breast feeding. It is pretty much a silicone nipple that goes over your own nipple to make it longer and stimulate their sucking reflex. She was able to latch pretty quickly and eat, so it was worth the future difficulty (we'll want to wean off of it later) for her to be able to "figure out" breastfeeding pretty early. She has since been a champ at eating (great latch and efficient eater) but we still have to use the shield. Because she's eating so well, there's no real NEED to wean from it, just that it's one more thing to worry about losing! And now that I'm posting this so late, you'll get another post right away, as Lily is one month old tomorrow! 

June 12, 2014

Our Pregnancy Story

Last May, I graduated from ISU and we moved into our house (on the same day - craziness!) checking the last two boxes on our list of reasons to avoid getting pregnant. We decided that I would finish my prescription of birth control, which lasted through July, and then we would just see what happened. Not "trying", just no longer taking any precautions against it. I assumed that nothing would come of it for the rest of the year at least, but we were prepared either way. Imagine my surprise when only 2 months later I took a very clearly positive home test on October 11, 2014! Mike was still at work for another hour, so I wrote out a note and left the test on the table and waited with the camera. Unfortunately, he didn't look as surprised as he felt, so the pictures are pretty lame. While I was waiting for him to get home, I did lots of research (surprise) and looked up our due date based on my last period- June 16th, 2014.

We found out relatively early, during my 4th week (if you don't know, week 1 starts the same day as your last period), so we had over a month to wait until we would even have our first doctor's appointment, much less tell people. Luckily, I had very little nausea and no actual morning sickness, so it wasn't very difficult to hide for a few weeks. The biggest symptom I had was that I was extremely tired, which my boss did eventually pick up on. I got the flu (complete with fever, etc) the Sunday before I was 9 weeks pregnant. Mike went in to church to do my set up and lead our class for D6 without me. Sarah helped Mike set up tables and flat out asked him if I was pregnant - apparently his deer-in-the-headlights look was priceless! He then completely ignored the question, because he couldn't think of a way to not tell and not lie to her. That week we then began telling select groups of people (D6 staff, connection group, etc.) and preparing to tell our families.

I apparently didn't get a picture of the mugs. This was the inspiration. 

I made personalized mugs for our immediate family members and we gave them to my family before the ISU football game on 11/23 and Mike's family at Thanksgiving on 11/28. The Grunders were super excited, squealing at the opportunity to shop for adorable baby clothes. When we told Bob and Bev they were going to be grandparents again, Bob's response was "oh they told you?" Huh?? Turns out Jenny and Tyler were also pregnant, due in July. Bob and Bev were both very excited as well, once they understood that they were getting TWO new grand-babies the next summer. We then told the Halupnik side on the 30th at family Thanksgiving and called/emailed the rest of the extended families on the 30th and 1st. On December 2nd, we announced to the world that we were expecting via Facebook.

Because I had so few symptoms, the first half of my pregnancy really flew by. 
I had my first appointment with Dr. Malaki in mid-December, at 13 wweks. That was when we got to hear our little one's heartbeat for the first time. It was a great moment, because it is what made the whole thing "real" for me. Life continued as normal through January with no specific cravings, but Chinese food always sounded good and thinking about eating eggs made me nauseous. In the middle of January I finally got to the point where I was sure that the movement I was feeling was actually the baby and not just gas. That was a strange but wonderful feeling. It's a weird process to understand little by little that the thing growing inside you is a living person with a soul; not just knowing it conceptually. It also helped when I finally "popped" in early February and actually had a little bump. Or as Mike said, "I think you may actually be pregnant!"

 October to February (watch that tan disappear!)

Because I knew the date of my last period and was considered low risk, we did not have our first (and planned to be only) ultrasound until 20 weeks. On January 29th, Mike took the morning off work and we went in for our first chance to see Baby Traxel. We hadn't realized the things we were worried about until we started sighing in relief as the good news rolled in - complete spinal cord, full lips, normal brain, no club feet and a functioning four chamber heart! Not to mention, only one baby (we have friends who got that surprise this summer!) Based on head, torso and femur measurements, they estimated Baby to be about 9 oz, which was 9 days below average. They didn't change my due date because that wasn't TOO small, but we started mentally preparing for either a "late" or little baby.

We also discovered that we had a good listener coming - we asked for uncrossed legs and got them, a clear view to know that we were going to have a little girl! I was surprised, because my gut said boy, but Mike had always thought girl. The night before the ultrasound, I dreamed we were told baby was a boy and I was super disappointed, so when I woke up I was confused if I really wanted it to be a girl so badly or if it was just a dream! Mike reassured me that I would have been thrilled either way. However, a little girl meant much more work for us though, as we had a very short list of favorite boy names (like 3-5) and NONE we absolutely loved on the girl list.

In March and April we started doing more baby stuff, like putting together a registry and starting to get the nursery set up. We also started the name search by individually making name lists by copying names from an online name list and mass deleting the horrible ones. When we each had lists of about 30 names, we compared them, keeping the overlapping names. We whittled from there down to six names with one favorite, but decided to not decide officially until we met her. 
Over Mike's birthday we took a "babymoon" trip to Chicago, since we knew we wouldn't be able to do our usual anniversary weekend with an 8 week old baby! We had a great week with lots of walking; time at the zoo, the Field museum, Navy Pier, and Millenium Park; a spa afternoon and of course lots of great food.

We were blessed with lots of baby showers at the end of April and early May. I had a shower with Mike's family and the Halupniks in Johnston, one with the Grunders at a pottery shop in Bettendorf and one with our Connection Group ladies in Ames. Mike's co-workers also surprised him with a shower at work. One of the gals got him a "Daddy Survival Kit" so that he would be prepared for diaper changes. We also took our birthing class at the hospital in May, which included both birth education and our hospital tour.

Up through my 30 week appointment, everything was looking and measuring exactly as expected. My labs, weight gain, BP, and fundal height (bump size) were all right on track. At my 32 week appointment, my fundal height started measuring small, which continued at my 34 week appt. My OB, Dr. Malaki, called for an extra appointment in week 35 with an ultrasound for growth measurement and amniotic fluid level, just in case. During the ultrasound, Baby Girl was estimated at 5 lb, 6 oz which put her in the 30th percentile for size (4 days behind - closer than at 20 weeks and just considered low, not abnormal). My amniotic fluid was an 8.0 when they hope for about 14. Normal ranges from 5-20, with less than 5 considered dangerous. Again, not an immediate problem, but something to keep an eye on, so Dr. Malaki ordered AFI tracking (by ultrasound) at my next two appointments along with AFI and growth measurements in 3 weeks, to be sure the fluid didn't drop too low and to track her growth. The next week (36) nothing had changed with my AFI despite being super hydrated and we had to start thinking about the potential for inducing early if it got much lower, because it could be a sign of placental problems and be dangerous for her during delivery. The only real positive in this was getting to see her every week, and learn that she already had a little mullet worth of hair on the back of her head!

Too big to get her whole face in one picture now!

Tuesday of week 37 I had another ultrasound and my AFI was up to a 10.5! That meant that after the follow up growth ultrasound during week 38, if the AFI stayed around a 10 we wouldn't need any more extra ultrasounds. That fluid level meant that there was less "bumper" for her movement, so her little elbows and knees were extra pokey and my insides felt quite bruised, but otherwise there was no problem with being on the low end of the spectrum so long as it stayed where it was. Because of the sore/bruised feeling (and unfortunate hemorrhoids), I first started to get uncomfortable in my body during week 36, but not to the point of being "over" or upset to still be pregnant. I knew I would still rather be pregnant and uncomfortable than have her come any earlier than she needed to! Plus I was still sleeping through most nights, which is crazy considering the lack of bladder space and the amount of water I was drinking to help my fluid levels!

Of course, life went on in between those nerve-racking weekly appointments. In those weeks in May we finished up the nursery. It is African safari themed, based around the bedding that we found at Target. I had a couple of DIY projects in the origami elephant mobile and the wall art. I'm planning one more project for after she's born (her name on her first initial to hang by the crib) but since we're not setting her name in stone until after she's born, I'm keeping the materials hidden and returnable for the time being. On Memorial Day, we got to spend a fun day with Jenny and Tyler taking 37 week maternity pictures at Saylorville Lake.

During week 38, Mike had to go to Missouri on a business trip. It was a strange thing to make an emergency "I'm in labor, get home asap" plan for week 38 when we knew she could still not come for 3-4 more weeks! Mike got back on Friday, so that's when we scheduled the follow up growth ultrasound - I wanted him close, just in case anything came up! I went in alone (as was usual) for the ultrasound and found out that while fluid was still normal (9.9 plus a full baby bladder), Baby Girl was only weighing in at an estimated 6 lb 5 oz, or the 16th percentile (down from 30% at week 35) and her head was significantly farther along than her torso or legs. After only a short moment of panic followed by picking up Mike early from work, we met with Dr. Downard, as Dr. Malaki was on vacation until the 15th. He said (and we agreed) that while the weight alone wasn't so low as to be problematic, the diagnosis of asymmetrical intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) based on the dramatic drop in size percentile was definitely worrying. There was no clear reason why she wasn't growing properly anymore (like genetic history, smoking, gestational diabetes or high BP/preeclampsia), leaving only placental/nutritional problems as the likely cause. Because of this, and the fact that she was technically full term and above low birth weight, he concluded that she was probably safer out where they can monitor her more closely than continuing in-utero. We did a non-stress test, which she passed with flying colors, during which I had signs of early labor (I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced before the test and started having light contractions during the test), so no immediate emergency induction was needed and the hope was that she would come on her own over the weekend. If not, we were scheduled for induction on Monday, June 9th at 6:30am, when I would be 39 weeks along and the doctor would technically not even need to show medical necessity to allow induction.

Click here for Lily's birth story