Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm learning

In the last few weeks:

  • I have learned to drive a manual transmission car. Out of necessity. I had been avoiding that like the plague for 6 years.
  • I have become a preschool-8th grade teacher. I have never worked with preschool aged children, save babysitting in junior high/high school and hanging out with my own nieces and nephews. Now I teach art to them twice a week. 
  • I have taught myself how to use GIMP (the poor man's Photoshop)
  • I am being trained as a reading tutor. 
  • I am realizing that I can't do it all. Lunches haven't been packed for my husband or myself for over a week. I haven't grocery shopped for almost 2 weeks. Laundry is done on a "as needed" basis. 
I am dead tired most evenings and so confused about the future that my school holds for me. There will be cuts next year, we've already been told. Do I plan on trying to stay? Do I quit no matter what they offer me and look for part-time work in a public school? Do I stay home for a few years? 

I figure all of the new things I am learning are protecting my brain from Alzheimer's (which affects people on my dad's side of the family). 

Thanksgiving break cannot come soon enough, though!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The witch is back.

Possibly TMI...

After almost 4 months of on and off cramps (thanks, endometriosis), she's made her comeback. I shouldn't complain, I haven't had a period since April 2012. I am kind of sad, though, because I have a feeling this came to be due to only having time to pump once a day at work (and likely the babe eating more and more solids). After daycare pick-up we'll be stopping at Target for supplies. I only have those huge, overnight pads left over from the days of bleeding after delivery (so fun to wear that to work today, ha! Although with how heavy it is I feel confident that my limited bathroom breaks won't be an issue...the joys of teaching).

On the positive side, maybe now NFP will be a little easier?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On returning to work....

I've been officially back to work for 3 weeks as of tomorrow, which also happens to be the day Felicia turns 8 months old! I was very lucky to have about 7.5 months to be home with her before returning to my job as a K-8 Visuals Arts teacher. So far, I think it mostly sucks to be back at work. I say 'mostly' because my students are generally pretty sweet kids who make me smile throughout the day and my coworkers are good to work with, but I feel sad about missing time with my daughter. She's been having a hard time with the transition and refuses to eat or nap most days Monday-Friday until I pick her up. Thank goodness she is with my sister and mom who have extra patience for her! And she wakes more frequently during the night than she was before I started teaching again. I'm talking like every 3 hours. Monday night she woke at 3:30am and would not stop crying "Mama mama mamamamamamamama..." until I let her sleep ON me.

Pumping at work? Blech. Two days a week I have 25 minutes to eat lunch AND pump. It. is. ridiculous. Somehow I am making it work for now, but it is not easy. It feels like a lot more to balance than I have ever experienced before. There is never enough time.

That being said, while I loved my short stint as a stay-at-home mom, that wasn't easy, either. Being a mom is just hard.

THAT being said...wanting to be a mom and not having it happen was much, much harder than being a SAHM or working mom (in my opinion anyway). And the hard parts of motherhood are bearable because of all the great parts. The best part of my day? Picking Felicia up after school, hands down.

Some highlights from my first weeks back in the classroom:

* I accidentally called a kid "Farter" in front of a whole class. Have you ever mixed up the first letters of 2 words? I did that to poor Carter. I don't even remember what I was trying to say...something like, "Carter, find your seat," and it came out "Farter." Surprisingly no one said anything about it. And this was one of my 7th grade classes! Either they didn't notice or they are just used to me saying weird things. I may never know.

* I got a compliment from a 5th grader yesterday on the dress I wore. She said it was beautiful and her favorite color, "Tardis blue." Doctor Who reference for you, there.

*Several of my classes cheered and clapped when I told them that Felicia learned to crawl! She was officially on the move the day before school started!

*During a greeting activity in Kindergarten, my Kinders insisted on greeting ME, too. It was just too cute to hear them say, 2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? Mrs. Bird, Mrs. Bird...YEAAAAAAAAH...Mrs. Bird! in their little 5-year-old voices.

*I got to lead a game of Simon Says in front of 85 Kinder-2nd grade students when we had to move recess indoors due to a downpour. 85 kids and no toys at indoor recess? Thankfully I had Super Speedy Simon Says up my sleeve! That could have been chaos.

*I sent my first student ever to the principal's office! It had to be done.

So, for now we are surviving. People tell me it will take about 6 weeks to feel like we have any sort of routine. We are already halfway there!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New endeavor: Own Less, Live More

I started another blog. I'll still be here, but this is another part of our lives. My husband and I both come from families that have trouble getting rid of things (i.e. my dad was the guy with 20 years' worth of National Geographic magazines stowed in cabinets in the garage when my family moved in 2000 and, yes, we boxed those suckers up and moved them to our new residence. Cray cray!) and we are getting really bogged down by our constant state of disarray. Take 2 people with too much stuff living in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom urban apartment and add in a sweet bundle of joy who, now at six months, may start crawling at any moment and what do you get? Chaos. Anxiety. The want and need to simplify our living space so we can live and enjoy our time at home. I am hoping that when the time comes and we move into a house, we won't have any junk! A girl can dream, right?

So, my friends, I present to you Own Less, Live More.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Months!

Felicia at 5 months:

At 5 months, Felicia:
* has 2 teeth!
* is learning to drink from a cup
* has the biggest smiles for her Papa
* likes to feel the grass with her feet
* loves to chew on her toes
* laughs when put in the kangaroo hold in Mom's ring sling
* picks up anything and everything within her reach (notice the block arc looking funny? Silly girl kept reaching up and grabbing them!)
* WILL bite you! We are working on this, but watch out!
* has been asked to be a flower girl next May! (Mom may be more excited about that one!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Family Planning after Infertility and Pregnancy

At my 6 week postpartum check-up, my doctor asked about birth control. She prefaced her question with, "I know birth control can be hard to stomach after all of the trouble you went through to get pregnant..." After a little chat about my endometriosis, my concerns about hormonal birth control (which I have never used), condoms (which we have also never used), and Natural Family Planning (NFP), she suggested condoms until we are open to expanding our family. I continued the discussion with The Bee later that evening and we decided to stick with NFP as we have all along. Unfortunately with breastfeeding, signs have been very hard to read so there hasn't been much romance around here (that, and the fact that my husband is rarely home).  The chance of my fertility (which is subpar to begin with) returning this early is slim to none, given that I am currently ecological breastfeeding and co-sleeping, and of course I have endometriosis, a disease that is the cause of my infertility.

In the days of our infertility before our daughter came along, I thought I would be open to as many babies as close together as they happened to come. I have always wanted 3-4 kids and we got a later start than we planned to. I mean, if we had a baby when we originally thought we would, we'd be trying for #2 right about now. After a couple of years of infertility and currently having a five-month-old babe, I am faced with a reality that I never really considered before. I have lots of questions and concerns swimming in my head almost constantly:
  • How would F handle having a sibling at various ages (specifically before age 2.5 or so)?
  • How would my body handle another pregnancy so soon after F?
  • Does it even make sense to "worry" about getting pregnant again with all of the trouble we had the first time around?
  • What would it mean for my career? I don't have any leave saved anymore and I don't make enough for it to be worth working as many hours as I do while paying for 2 young children to be in daycare. Our plan (as if we have any control/choice in things, we know planning is really a joke in the world of infertility) is for F to be enrolled in the preschool at my school before we'd have another babe to find care for. 
  • If we avoid pregnancy using NFP or other means, is it wasting the only time we may potentially have to become pregnant again?
  • Would a second child, if conceived sooner than expected, have poorer health than our first born because my nutrient stores haven't been replenished yet? I read an article about this and it said that 2-3 years between pregnancies is ideal for maximum baby health, lower risk of allergies, higher IQ, etc.
  • Will I forgive myself if we wait 1.5-2 years before trying again and it never happens? We already know we will likely have trouble given my endometriosis. 
  • How long will we try before giving up the dream of a sibling or 2 for F? 
  • Will adoption be a feasible option? We have talked about it and have been open to it, but we know it is a time consuming, expensive endeavor that may not work out even if we do everything 'right'. (Does it make any of your blood boil when people say, "Why don't you just adopt?" as if it is as easy as going to the pet store for a goldfish? It makes me crazy!)
I know for those of you still waiting for your baby these may seem like ridiculous or even shallow concerns. Let me tell you, I wasn't worried about these things until about 6 months ago! How do you feel now about how close you would like children?

For those of you who have a child/children after struggling with infertility, what are your family planning ideas/concerns? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Facebook faux pas

I started this post and it got really (really!!) long so I am going to break it down and just focus on one faux pas for now!

When I was in my darkest days waiting (and waiting, and waiting) in the uncertainty and sadness of our infertility I started unsubscribing from certain facebook "friends." I didn't unfriend them for 2 reasons:

1. I was afraid they would notice and confront me (this goes for friends that I still see IRL)
2. I am nosey and like the ability to look at pictures on my own terms

The people that I unsubscribed from had certain commonalities, such as:

1. They were pregnant or already had children
2. They posted things about how much they loved being part of the "mommy club" (*barf* I will NEVER say that!) or how being a mom is the hardest, or most rewarding job they have ever had, or how their life had no meaning before having babies (ummmm...maybe you need to GET A LIFE then, people! Having kids changes things, for sure, but I HAD A LIFE before and many parts of it were darn amazing!)
3. They posted things about being "proud" of being pregnant
4. They complained about their children in non-funny ways
5. They used certain adjectives to describe their own children 

Now that I am a mom, I thought I would be less sensitive. While I no longer cry, I still get very annoyed by certain types of talk. Here is the first on my list of facebook faux pas. 

1. Saying "awwww" about your own kids/what your own kids did. "Awwww" is an acceptable response to what other people's kids have done (always acceptable for pets, as well). If you "awww" about your own kids, plan on making me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Do any of you have certain types of talk that annoy you on facebook? I hope that I don't annoy people when I post about my family or daughter, but I do wonder sometimes if I am committing a facebook faux pas in the opinion of some of my friends!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

4 months

Felicia at 4 months:
At 4 months, Felicia:
* is 75th %ile for weight (15 lb 1oz) and height (25.75 in)
* loves to sit up (on the couch, in her chair, in the bumbo)
* laughs and giggles a lot!
* calms down when Papa sings "Mahna Mahna" and when Mom sings "ABCs" and "Ponyo" theme
* wakes ready to play and talk in the morning!
* sleeps for 5-6 hour stretches (most) nights
* rolls from tummy to back
* likes to ride in the Moby and Mei Tai while mom 
cooks, cleans, draws, grocery shops
*LOVES the outdoors for walks and just exploring new sights and sounds (laughs at birds chirping in the trees)
* is learning to be gentle when touching people's hair and petting animals
* Favorite book: "Goodnight Moon"

I am working on a couple of new posts at the moment! Hope to be a more active blogger again soon :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NIAW 2013

Hey, ladies! I just wanted to say that I am thinking of all of you during National Infertility Awareness Week! It is a week that I am sure none of us wish we knew about, but here we are.

Last year at this time I was listening to my Circle + Bloom CDs every night and playing the waiting game as we approached June, the month of my scheduled laparoscopy. I will never forget how I felt and I will continue to have an open and understanding ear for anyone struggling to have a baby. Truth be told, I am terrified that if I ever try to become pregnant again, I am going to find myself in the same spot I was in during the years we waited for our daughter. So much uncertainty and so much sadness and pain. We are extremely blessed (beyond blessed, even!) to have her and I have been shocked by the way that infertility still affects the way I think and feel about many things.

I know that not all of you have strong faith, but I still pray this every night and mention many of you by name in petitions. I had been searching and searching for prayers for infertile couples and my Mom gave this prayer card to me without even knowing that I had been looking. I remember that feeling alone and isolated was one of the hardest parts and I am so thankful to this community for so much support and understanding! During this NIAW week, I hope that you all have some real life support in addition to this amazing online sisterhood as you journey towards expanding your families.

Almighty God, Author of Life,
your servant,
St. Gerard Majella,
practiced love of you
and love of others
in an extraordinary way.
Through his powerful intercession,
grant the gift of life to couples
who need your help.
Protect the unborn and 
assist mothers-to-be.
May children,
especially those in the womb
and the most vulnerable,
be a sign of your unfailing love.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

3 Months (and 2 Months!)

Felicia at 2 months:
At 2 months Felicia...
*weighs 12lb 1oz
*measures 23.5 inches in length
*smiles and coos
*loves to cuddle and to be sung to (and sometimes sings along!)
*is happiest in the morning 

*adores her papa


Felicia at 3 months:
At 3 months, Felicia:
* loves to play with her toys
* drools A LOT
* smiles and talks 
* wants to stand 
* sings along to the ABCs (in her own words)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'm here!

Just a quick post to say, "Hi!" to everyone! I've been reading but not commenting.

Felicia is well, I am well, The Bee...well, he's hanging in there! Work is ridiculous and terrible for him these days. Without trying to sound too dramatic, I feel like a single mother with really awesome child support right now. My husband is pretty much only home to sleep (we eat dinner between 10pm and 2am most nights because that is when he gets home). He is also currently sick, so when he is home, I am taking care of him, too! One would think that a career that uses his college degree would allow for a higher quality of life, but right now he is really dragging. There was even one day a few weeks ago where he didn't even get to hold Felicia in a 24 hour period because of his stupid job. I am glad he is employed, I am not trying to sound ungrateful, but I need my husband and Felicia needs her Dad! I am very worried about his health...physically, mentally, and emotionally.

When we visited my Grandma last Sunday (without The Bee because he was at the office, poor guy), she gave me a hug and said, "I don't ever post on facebook, but I do go on to check on people. From things you are writing I can tell that you love your baby and you miss your husband." Spot on, Grandma!

Lest you think I am exaggerating about how hard/sad it is to not see The Bee (or how stressed/tired he is), Felicia and I drive him to and from work on Thursdays 1. just to spend some waking time with him and 2. so that I can feel confident he will get to and from work safely at least one day of the week.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whiney whiner...

I just have to get this off my chest...when my sister-in-law and her family (husband, 3-year-old twins [IVF encouraged after a 6 year struggle with infertility] and 6-month-old miracle baby), my bff (and her husband and 2-week-old miracle baby after 2 years of infertility), and my friend (and her husband, 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old "surprise" twins) all came at once to meet Felicia when she was 1 week old (it was a crazy day!) the friend with the daughter and twins announced that she is expecting baby #4. At the time she was 8 weeks along. Is it ridiculous of me to be annoyed?! I am sure I sound like a 2-year-old whining, but, Hey! Don't steal my thunder when everyone was gathered to meet our new little one for the first time! And don't announce a pregnancy to 3 fertility challenged couples and mention that you are pretty sure you timed things right to even get the gender you are hoping for (they have 3 girls and, as my friend put it, they "put in their request with NFP to get a boy this time") and that the due date is exactly when you planned for it to be. After she told all of us, she showed us her sea-bands that she was wearing for her nausea and said, "I thought you guys would notice these at the hospital when we were visiting J." ("J" is my bff's baby that was born 9 days before Felicia. We were all at the hospital at the same time to visit). 

Now she keeps e-mailing me for "advice" about morning sickness and baby products and with updates about heartbeats and how they plan to find out the gender of their "darling girl" or "handsome boy" - her words, no, I am not kidding). Am I a terrible friend for just not caring? Especially now that I have a baby? I have one. Where are these feelings coming from? 

This is the same friend, that KNOWING MY DESIRE FOR A CHILD, told me about a year and a half ago, I wish I was as nice as you! You are always so happy for everyone, even when they are all getting what you want. 

Sorry for the whining. I am done.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

1 month

Felicia at 1 month:
  • Weighs 10lbs, 6oz 
  • Measures 22.75 inches long
  • Loves to cuddle, to look at her papa, to listen her mama singing, to dance, and to stay up at night!
  • Goes by "Piggy the Pooh" "Little Muncher" and "Ponyo"
  • Talks and smiles in the morning
  • Hates having her face and neck washed
  • Eats every 2-3 hours
We are so grateful to have been given this sweet and funny little girl!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Felicia had 4 good nights in a row and I kept telling myself not to get too excited about it! I am glad I didn't get used to 3-4 hour stretches of sleep in the night because last night was another rough one. Probably the roughest we've had so far, actually! I am not sure if she is just fighting sleep so much that she gets overstimulated or if she is uncomfortable from something like tummy troubles, but last night we started wondering if we are beginning to see a touch of colic.

For 3.5 hours we took turns walking, rocking, swaying, shushing, singing, reading, diaper changing, feeding (well, the feeding part was all me)...we tried everything we could think of. We gave her baby gas drops for the first time and I got her pacifiers ready (they were still in the package so I had to sterilize them by boiling for 5 minutes) but we didn't end up using them. We swaddled her. We even let her just lay on a blanket to kick and move around. The things that seemed to calm her most were: laying diaperless on her changing pad, leaning on my thighs while I rubbed her belly, sitting with me and reading stories (my voice calmed her, I think), and laying skin to skin on her papa's chest. Ultimately, laying skin to skin with The Bee put her to sleep (we are not sure if she was just so exhausted at that point or if it was what she actually needed). Now I have a sleepy little girl laying in bed next to me a 11am.

I am going to try to get out to the library with her today to check out (or at least reserve) some books/dvds about baby massage. I think that massage may be a good thing for her; if we can keep her relaxed we may be able to avoid the big wind up that we saw last night. Baby massage is also supposed to help with digestive issues. We don't think she really has tummy troubles because she poops and pees like a champ, doesn't seem to be gassy, and I haven't changed anything about my diet, but if that is the problem, massage should help. It was so hard to hear her crying like she times she seemed almost hysterical and we couldn't comfort her. We felt completely helpless. Here's hoping and praying for a better night for this little love of ours!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Felicia was baptized at the church I grew up attending. I was baptized there, attended 8 years of Catholic school there, had my first communion, first reconciliation, went through confirmation classes (the actual confirmation was at the Basilica instead of the normal church), and The Bee and I had our wedding there, too! It was a small ceremony because it was after mass and only our families were there with us in the baptistry. Also, a few of our siblings couldn't make it due to the snow storm that was going on all weekend! It was still nice and I feel a sense of relief that it is over now :) We didn't get many good photos because the light wasn't very good in the baptistry (no windows!) and our camera was not behaving for our bro-in-law who graciously agreed to act as photographer. The Bee took a few photos as well, but neglected to get some full body shots to show the gown :( Oh well! We gathered at my Mom's house for cake, refreshments, and visiting following the ceremony.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bullet point post

Things are busy, but good. Here are some little tidbits of info:

  • The lactation consultant appointment was so helpful! I found out that I have a crazy milk supply and that, even though she was only eating off of one side while I pumped to heal the other, she gained 9oz in 5 days! We have ourselves a little piglet! One majorly helpful change we made after the appointment was that I have to lean back while she is eating, otherwise she pretty much drowns in my milk. Poor girl was being overwhelmed! 
  • Because she is such a good eater, she no longer fits in her newborn clothes. Yay for growing/thriving! Sad face for cute clothes she never even got to wear.
  • Breastfeeding gets easier every day! She can latch herself on successfully most of the time now! A huge improvement over the 3 person ordeal it used to be! (3 people = me, Felicia, The Bee who had to help keep her hands out of the way!)
  • I am way excited about 2 packages that I have being shipped right now! I have been extremely reasonable and haven't purchased much baby-wise but did splurge on these wooden blocks:
           and these washable, organic nursing pads (crazy milk supply = crazy leakage):
  • Felicia does not like to sleep. At all. Nights are rough and she even fights it during the day now. I have learned her tired cues, though, and know that cuddles and rocking in her room usually do the trick during the day. At night...well, we're still trying to figure that out!
  • Felicia has baby acne like whoa. We were told she would probably get it around 2-3 weeks of age because she had a little rash the day after being born in reaction to the environment outside of the womb. Apparently most babies that get that rash (which is thankfully harmless) get acne after a couple of weeks.
  • If all goes well, she will be baptized on Sunday! It has been a whirlwind to get planned because Catholic churches no longer like to do baptisms during Lent (which begins next week on February 13) but we couldn't register her until we got her birth certificate, which just became available last week (and I went and got 2 copies of last Friday! It was our first outing without The Bee!). It was important to me to do sooner than later (we'd have to wait until April if we couldn't this coming Sunday) because I want her to wear the family baptismal gown that my great-great-grandmother (Mabel Felicia, who Felicia is named for) made and every girl in the family has worn for almost the last 100 years! Because it is 98 years old and babies were: 1. smaller 100 years ago and 2. baptized within a few days/weeks of being born there is little to no chance that Felicia would fit in it when she is 3 months old. 
That's about it for now! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birth Story

Felicia isn't even 3 weeks old and I feel like this written version of her birth story is missing a lot of the emotions that went on during the event. I decided that I had better get it down in writing asap, though, while the memories are fresh. I may add more details later, but for now, here is what I can put down in words:

On Friday, I was feeling very tired and uncomfortable. I was having what I thought were cramps and decided to take it easy at home. It was my second day of maternity leave. After talking to my Mom, I decided to tough it out and go grocery shopping. She explained that if this baby was to go past due, I would drive myself insane if I started cocooning at home the day before my due date.

Throughout the day, I noticed that I started losing what I was pretty sure was my mucus plug. After finishing the grocery shopping, I worked on things at home. I put Ponyo's Rock 'n Play Sleeper next to our bed, did some laundry, cleaned the kitchen (more than once), and did other general tidying.

By 9pm, I started having contractions, which again I thought were just pre-labor cramps and lower back pain. By the time The Bee got home from work a little after 10pm they were strong enough to make me want to lean on a counter to get through them as I washed dishes. We started timing things at 11pm and they seemed to be getting closer together. By 12:30am, they were 6-7 minutes apart. Shortly after, I had 3 contractions in a row that were 5 minutes apart. Then they started spacing themselves more...13, 14, 15 minutes apart. By 3am, I sent The Bee to bed and tried to rest on the couch while timing my contractions on my laptop.

The due date:
As of 8:30am Saturday morning, I was still having contractions but they were not timeable anymore. I called the 24 hour nurse line and they connected me with the doctor who was on call, Dr. B. She said that it was hard to tell what was going on but as long as Ponyo was moving 10 times an hour, once a day she was doing just fine. She was moving around a lot after every contraction, so I was no longer worried about her well being.

We went to my Mom's at 11am and The Bee got a haircut. Then we came home and took a 1.5 hour nap on the couch together. We were both exhausted from the night before, having been up all night with contractions/cramps. I was still having contractions/cramps every hour, though not consistently. I also started losing more and more of my mucus plug (very gross!).

That night, the contractions picked up again at 9pm. We started timing at around 11pm, just as we had the night before. We thought it was another false alarm. The Bee was working on his computer and I tried to rest on the couch between contractions. At 1:30am I felt a POP! and told The Bee that I thought my water broke! I went into the bathroom to check, and sure enough there was a lot of water! I put on a thick pad and changed into clean clothes while calling the 24-hour nurse line. The Bee gathered his toiletries to bring to the hospital.

The same doctor that I had talked to earlier in the weekend called me back. She asked where we were planning on delivering and when I told her, she said we couldn't go there...they were full! We had to go to the other hospital that she delivered at, which was further from our home. Thankfully, it was where I had my MRI and is in a neighboring city to where we both grew up. I told The Bee the change in plans and he got nervous, asking, "How do we get there?" I snapped at him, "Don't ask me! I am in labor!" He googled directions, we gathered the last of our bags, and we headed to the car.

It was 1 degree outside and The Bee realized he had forgotten to fill the gas tank on the way home from his haircut! So, we stopped at a gas station and he put in a few gallons. I was getting increasingly more uncomfortable and it was hard to breathe through contractions when confined to the passenger seat of the car.  We made it to the hospital around 2:10am.

The Bee offered to drop me off at the emergency room doors, but I didn't want to enter the hospital alone. Thankfully, we got a close parking spot and walked into the hospital together. I had to ask him to slow down because I was having contractions and was moving at the pace of a snail! When we entered, The Bee told the people at the ER desk that I was in labor. The security guards asked if we knew where to go. I said, "No, we weren't supposed to deliver here! Our hospital is full, though!" So, one of the guards said he would walk with us to the maternity ward. He started walking and I was trailing behind. He looked back and I apologized for walking so slowly! Then he got a worried look on his face and ran to get a wheel chair. So, he wheeled me the rest of the way to the elevator and to the room where we had to wait for a nurse to see if my water had actually broken and how dilated I was.

A nurse came in to get my driver's license and insurance card. I changed into a hospital gown. Then it felt like we waited FOREVER for a nurse to come in and see what was going on. I walked between contractions and knelt on a pillow I brought from home while leaning over a chair to get through contractions. When the nurse finally came in, she tested the fluid I was leaking and confirmed that it was amniotic fluid. She checked my cervix and I was already dilated to 7cm! I started crying at this point and thanked her for not telling me I had to go home when I felt like this! She laughed and said, "Oh, honey, you aren't going anywhere!" She asked what my birth plan was, Any drugs? An epidural? Did I want an IV port in case I changed my mind? I told her I wanted to avoid drugs if possible and did not want an IV port until it was absolutely necessary.

A few minutes later they wheeled my bed into a labor and delivery suite and I met the L&D nurse who would be working with me. She asked if I wanted a bath run and I said "Yes!" but by the time the tub was full, she checked my cervix again and I was dilated to 8cm...too far along to use the tub safely. Instead, I labored using a birthing ball. Sitting on the ball and rocking back and forth helped me get through the contractions. Every once in a while, I had to hop in the bed and she would check my cervix. Things were progressing well and The Bee held my hand through each contraction. He put a cool washcloth on my forehead and neck to keep me comfortable. He reassured me that I could do this, that I WAS DOING THIS!

My cervix was almost fully dilated, but was not thinning evenly. So, my L&D nurse had me try 3-4 contractions laying on each side with my top leg up in a brace. This was to help the sides of my cervix finish thinning with the help of different pressure. It helped a little, but wasn't doing the trick. At this point, I asked The Bee why we thought this was a good idea and started laughing like a crazy woman. I told him that this might be our only baby because I wasn't sure I could do this again (assuming we would ever be lucky enough to have a chance of even getting pregnant again). I asked the nurse when I would enter transition because I was getting nervous and wasn't sure I could handle much more because I was getting tired. She smiled and said, "You're in it! You have been for a while and you are almost ready to push, you are SO close!" She had me try a few contractions on all fours to help thin the front of my cervix. I started feeling like I had to push with my stronger contractions. She asked me to wait to push until there was no way that I could resist. I asked what would happen if I had to push and my cervix wasn't all the way ready. Would I hurt the baby in any way? She said that the baby would be fine, the reason you don't want to push before your cervix is ready is that early pushing can cause the cervix to swell, making it smaller again. It would reverse the progress I had already made.

After a few more contractions, the nurse and I made eye contact. I was very scared, because I HAD to push! She gave me a knowing look and told me that on the next contraction, she would hold back the front of my cervix and I should push. This would give Ponyo's head a chance to get past the part of my cervix that wasn't all the way thinned without the risk of swelling. We did it and it worked! The doctor was paged at that time. I pushed with about 4 contractions and the doctor arrived. It was about 5am at this point. I asked how long I would have to push. They told me that with first babies, it usually takes 1-3 hours. You'd better believe that I pushed with all my might with each contraction! The Bee held my hand and cheered me on the whole time. They told us she was crowning and asked if I wanted a mirror so I could see. I told them that it would probably make me nervous. A few pushes later, they told me that she had a ton of hair and asked if I wanted to feel the top of her head. I reached down and my eyes welled up when I felt her soft head of hair...the head and hair of my daughter! It seemed unreal! The doctor decided that I needed an episiotomy to minimize tearing. This part was the scariest for The Bee, he later told me. On the next push, her head was out. The Bee started crying and was amazed as he saw our little girl's head for the first time. Her shoulders were a challenge, but after several more pushes her shoulders cleared and then she just kind of slid out! It was 5:52am. I had actively pushed for about 45 minutes.

The doctor was holding her and asked The Bee if he wanted to cut the cord. He said, "Yes!" and did a good job despite being a little shaky from exhaustion and emotions. We heard the sweet sound of her first cry. They wiped her off quickly with a blanket and placed her on my chest. She looked around with wide eyes and I nursed her for the first time. My Mom arrived 5 minutes after she was born. I was still being stitched up!

I got to hold her for a few hours before they took her to weigh and measure. She was 8lbs on the dot and tall like her dad at 22.5in. Our amazing L&D nurse asked if I had taken birthing classes and I told her that we did a labor skills workshop. She said I have a very high pain tolerance and that it was hard to tell when I was having contractions most of the time given how relaxed I remained and the calm expression on my face. I started laughing and told her I was pretty nervous during a lot of it; I just kept reminding myself that each contraction had to end eventually and each contraction brought me closer to meeting our daughter! I also think I must have pretty bad menstrual cramps due to my endometriosis, which made me think that labor contractions weren't really all that painful in comparison.

After talking with the doctor, they told me that I was definitely in labor Friday night, all day Saturday, and then things really picked up when my water broke Sunday morning. They told me I did most of the work at home before I even got to the hospital and that is why I was 7cm upon being admitted. So, although it seems that I had a fast labor from 9pm Saturday night -5:52am Sunday, I was actually in labor for an additional 24 hours! Thank God that my water broke...with the way my contractions were going, we probably wouldn't have gone to the hospital in time without that very clear sign she was coming to meet us!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby Whisperer

The Bee went back to work last Thursday. Now that he has to wake up and be dressed and productive by a certain time in the morning, I have taken over night duty 100%. For the last 2 nights our silly girl decided not to sleep from about 11pm-4am AND she decided it would be a great idea to be fussy, too! Given the fact that The Bee has an exam for work tomorrow, Felicia and I spent the night in the living room so he could get some rest. By 4:30, she was asleep on my chest and didn't wake until 7 or so. At that point, I fed her and tried to put her in her Rock 'n Play Sleeper that she sleeps in next to my side of the bed. She would have none of that and I was so exhausted that I asked The Bee to walk with her before he got ready for work.

That man got her to fall asleep and I got 3 hours of rest IN BED. He is so good with her!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

These past 10 days

Things have been going well since Felicia made her debut. We were discharged from the hospital Tuesday afternoon and it seems crazy that we've already been home for a whole week! The Bee is still home with us as we've been dealing with some unexpected health issues. Nothing too serious...just a very cracked and raw nipple that has required me to pump on one side and do dropper feedings after nursing on my good side and a bladder infection that I finally got antibiotics for yesterday afternoon. We have a lactation consultant appointment at 1pm this afternoon and I am hopeful that I can pack away the pump for at least a few more weeks if we can get a good latch that doesn't cause anymore damage.

I am working on a birth story but am still processing some of what went down during my very fast, 100% natural (i.e. no pain meds at all) labor and delivery.

I am trying to catch up with all of you! I've been thinking of you gals a lot! Actually, at a henna get together about a year ago, some of the artists were saying that, "God always hears the prayers of a woman in labor" so I put in a few prayers for a couple of you (Erika and Laura, I hope 2013 is your year! Hope it doesn't freak you out that I was thinking of you during a few of those contractions!).

I'll leave you with this picture that The Bee took while we were snoozing Sunday evening before Felicia's waking hours (which are from 10pm-2am/3am, silly girl!).

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Felicia Rose

She was excited to meet us! Labor started at 9pm on her due date (1/12/13) and we were blessed to become a family of three at 5:52am this morning, 1/13/13. She was bigger than expected, weighing 8lbs even and measuring 22.5inches. 

More info to come after we rest and settle in. 

Thank you for all of the support and prayers you gave us along the way; I am so glad to call you friends!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Last night, at about 9pm, I started having some lower back pain and cramping. By the time The Bee got home at 10:15, I was pretty sure they were some sort of contraction. Either very uncomfortable Braxton Hicks or the real deal that kicks off early labor. By 11pm we started timing them. The were almost exactly 9 minutes apart. By 12:30am, they were about 6-7 minutes apart. I had about 3 in a row that were 5 minutes apart and then they started to space themselves out a lot more...13, 14, 25 minutes apart. By 3am, I sent The Bee to bed (even though he tried to fight me on that) and I tried to rest on the couch and timed the contractions on my laptop using Contraction Master. I am sure this is TMI, but that is part of what these blogs are all about, right? In addition to the contractions, my body seemed to be, um, trying to clean itself out pretty thoroughly. I ran to the bathroom more times that I can count.

Now it is 8:30am and I am still having the contractions, but they don't seem to follow a rhythm anymore. I gave in and called the 24 hour nurse line and they connected me with the doctor who is on call. She said that it is hard to tell what is going on, but as long as Ponyo is moving 10 times within 60 minutes, once a day, she is doing just fine. Our little dancer pretty much moves every time a contraction ends (I don't think she likes being squished) so she must be doing alright. As for the bathroom breaks, she said it could be from the contractions or it could be a virus so I am to drink a lot of fluids and try to rest (ha! I think I got maybe 45 uninterrupted minutes of sleep last night!).

So, we'll see if anything comes of this. On today's agenda: Going to my Mom's to get The Bee a haircut (she is a hairdresser with an in-home shop and The Bee hasn't gotten his haircut since June! Only my silly man would wait until his baby's due date to schedule something like that). Then we were planning on going to see The Hobbit, but if I am running to the bathroom multiple times an hour, I think we'll need to change plans and stay home after the haircut.

I want to give a virtual hug to two I try to figure out what Ponyo is doing, two of our fellow bloggers are dealing with setbacks and could use some love. Laura at The Adventures of an Infertile Myrtle got a false positive after her second cycle with a new doctor. Jessah at Dreaming of Dimples just found out that her IVF cycle needs to be cancelled due to poor response to the drugs. Please keep these women in your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, January 11, 2013

OB lockdown

This morning I called my clinic because I have been having spotting since yesterday morning. I had a feeling it was from Wednesday's appointment and the lovely cervix check. Sure enough, the nurse said that is what it sounds like and it should resolve itself by tomorrow night.

While I had her on the phone, I asked about the flu situation at the hospital. She said that the OB ward is currently on strict lock down in regards to visitors. So, it looks like we won't get any visitors unless the flu somehow starts to simmer down (unlikely, since it usually peaks in February). Hopefully our moms can come. I am sort of glad that the hospital is saying no visitors, even though it makes me sad that we won't get to experience the hospital stay we imagined. This way, at least we know our family and friends aren't going to contract the flu while visiting the hospital because of us! I would feel terrible if anyone visited us and then got sick as a result.

So, it looks like it will be me, The Bee, and Ponyo those first few days.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Influenza :(

Thankfully, I am healthy. I got the vaccine early in the school year and, although it is not 100% effective, the medical community is saying that 92% of the flu cases they have seen are strains that are included in the current vaccine. I live in Minnesota and we currently have the highest national death count for flu victims this season. Twenty-seven in all. Of those, 23 have been in the last 12 days.

The hospital where Ponyo is supposed to be born was featured on the news tonight because they are maximum capacity due to flu patients. The hospital is so full that they have flu patients sharing rooms, which they normally don't do. I know the maternity ward is separate from the flu area, but I am also concerned about visitors. Hopefully our friends and family will be responsible and thoughtful enough to wait to meet Ponyo if they have any symptoms. I am sad that most of our nieces and nephews may need to wait to meet her...several hospitals in Minnesota are not currently allowing visitors who are under the age of five. Of our 4 nephews and 4 nieces, only 2 of them are over the age of five.

Also weighing on me is the fact that The Bee has not been vaccinated. I don't want him to 1. get sick or 2. get Ponyo sick. I am sure his immune system is compromised thanks to his lack of sleep and terrible diet (he has been eating out for lunch and dinner for the last 2 weeks or was the first day in 2 weeks that I had time to pack his lunch and he is still not home at 11:15pm, which means his company ordered dinner for any employees who are still there).


Oh, and to add to the has been raining all day, has turned to freezing rain as the night has gone on and is supposed to do the same for the next two days. On Ponyo's due date, it is supposed to rain until about 9am and then the temperature is supposed to drop to 12 degrees and everything will be covered in ice! Not ideal for driving to the hospital when in labor!

Thank God that I have tomorrow off of work. Hopefully I can get a lot accomplished and feel less stressed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Update 39 weeks + 4 days

  • Ponyo's heart rate was 164 - she was being a wiggle worm per usual.
  • She is still head down...there is practically zero chance that she'll be able to flip into any other position at this point. She is too big and cramped!
  • I am 2.5 cm dilated and still 60-70% effaced. My doctor said that is good progress and if I continue to walk and spend time on my feet, she thinks labor could start on its own within the next week. She did have me keep my appointment for next Wednesday, just in case, though. And she told me to get a pedicure if I want try and help things along. She also told me to take naps because she can tell I haven't been sleeping well. So, lots of walking (grocery shopping), standing (preparing some freezer meals), and napping are on the agenda for tomorrow!
  • If Ponyo isn't seeming like she'll come on her own, the earliest we'd talk about inducing would be Friday, 01/18/13. 
In other news:
  • I am done teaching! I painted with my kindergartners today before heading to my appointment and now I won't be back to teach until next August! I'll still be doing school stuff, just from home or infrequently at school (i.e. attending some meetings, doing activities for the auction, helping my sub pack up the room in June!). I am so glad to be done, especially after learning that strep, head lice and influenza are moving through the school. We had 3 confirmed cases of influenza today and several more students were going in for testing. Scary stuff - apparently the vaccine is only 63% effective. Yesterday a 15-year-old girl from a suburb right outside of my city passed away from influenza. 
  • The Bee got home at 4:45am this morning. Ugh. I need that man to get more sleep. Not sure how he is supposed to help me and Ponyo at the hospital if he is so worn down! Plus, I just worry about his health in general. He is losing weight and looks so tired! 
  • We plan to go and see The Hobbit (that was The Bee's idea) on Saturday if Ponyo hasn't joined us yet. He found a theater right by the hospital, just in case...haha! 
Now I'm off to switch the laundry. On my way home from the appointment I stopped at Target for some odds and ends, including underpants for me and The Bee. My mom advised me to do a week's worth of new underwear for both of us and keep them in a separate drawer from all the others so if we find ourselves too tired/overwhelmed to do laundry, we'll at least have a week of clean underwear before we have to panic! I'll be stashing some of The Bee's undershirts and socks there, too!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2 days until leave!

I talked to my principal this morning and he was supportive of my decision to start leave on Thursday. I suppose it is 2 fewer days to pay both me and my sub. I had one of my 6th grade classes, both of my first grade classes, and both of my second grade classes for the last time today. I will see both of my kindergarten, third, fourth, fifth grade classes and one of my sixth grades one more time each. It seems unreal. My partner teacher was not at school and won't be back until Thursday at the earliest because his 4-month-old is in the hospital with RSV. So, I won't work with him again until August!

I am not sure if it is the pre-labor energy burst, the fact that I squeezed into my compression tights this morning (quite a feat at 39 weeks + 2 days, holy cow!), or that I have a definite end to my time at school before Ponyo's arrival, but I am feeling alright tonight. Tired, yes. Achy,  yes. But not nearly as tense or freaked out. My sub is set for this week and next and I am making progress on my maps. As long as Ponyo doesn't come within the next few days, I plan to grocery shop and tidy up at home on Thursday. I will also try to rest a bit, but I want to spend a decent amount of time on my feet as long as I am comfortable. We need to encourage her not to want to stay in my belly for TOO long! The Bee would still prefer that Ponyo waits until her due date, but we are both feeling so ready to meet her! Surprisingly, The Bee will get more sleep with a newborn than he has the past several months due to his work schedule! I am thankful that his employer gives 1 week paid paternity leave on top of any PTO he decides to use when Ponyo is brand new. That is better than my benefits, which only pays me for any time I have saved in sick leave!

So, tomorrow I paint 4 times, do paper mache twice, and work with charcoal and soft pastels once. Wednesday, I paint once and then my sub teaches solo as I head out for my doctor's appointment at 1pm...then I am finished teaching for the school year. I will still attend meetings and professional development opportunities starting in February, but I won't be a teacher until next September. Weird. I have crazy mixed emotions about it all...I have been told by many that my concern for my job and the guilt I feel for taking so much time off will melt away once Ponyo is here. My partner teacher's sub (who is also the mother of 2 of my students) came and talked to me today. When I told her it was a hard decision to make about staying home for the rest of the year, she told me that I won't regret it...she stayed home with her sons for 14 years! That made me feel more confident about taking 7 months!

Two days from now, on January 9th, is the anniversary of me finding out that I have endometriosis. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would teaching my last day of school and starting maternity leave a year after that doctor's appointment!

We feel very, very lucky.

Extremely lucky.

And so thankful for this child.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

39 weeks + 1 day

Today we are driving an hour outside of the cities to visit my best friend, her husband, and new baby boy! He was born very early Friday morning after my friend was induced at 41 weeks + 1 day Thursday morning. As you may (or may not) recall, my best friend and her husband started trying to conceive about 3 months before The Bee and I did. We didn't talk much about our struggles in the very beginning because neither of us wanted to believe that there was actually something preventing us from successfully getting pregnant, even though we were both secretly worried. By the summer and fall of 2011, we talked A LOT about what we were going through. We both started seeing specialists and we started e-mailing each other happy thoughts everyday to help us get through the tough times (usually these thoughts were things that we were thankful for or just silly things that brightened our days). I am so excited to finally meet her little miracle baby! 

Yesterday I reached 39 weeks*. A co-worker of The Bee's, who has a 4-month-old, recently told him that the last month really, really sucks, so be prepared! That was about 4 weeks ago. I kind of laughed because I had been feeling pretty well still, but now I know what his co-worker meant! Ponyo is still moving a lot but there are fewer kicks and a lot more big stretches. Her space is becoming so limited. I am progressively becoming more uncomfortable. After not too many Braxton Hicks contractions Thursday and Friday (I am wondering if I was having them but was just too busy at work to really notice) I started having a ton again yesterday after The Bee and I got home from working in my classroom for a few hours. I am seriously considering talking to my principal tomorrow about starting my leave on Thursday.

That's cutting my teaching days short by 2 days of what I had planned. In reality, she could be born before then, but I think Wednesday is a perfect day to end on...I have school mass in the morning and then will teach one kindergarten class before my long term sub comes in and finishes the day solo so I can get to my doctor's appointment on time. That will have given us almost 5 full days in the art room together for her to ask questions and for me to give her any inside info on students and techniques that I use to keep things running smoothly. She is very competent, so I know she will be fine even if Ponyo decides to come tonight! My goal is Wednesday, though, because of the nice short day and because my sub has an appointment in the morning and can't come in until after the first class of the day. I feel like I am being sort of a weakling by considering starting leave before my due date, but it is hard to even make it to the bathroom easily at this point (I walk so slow and it is all the way on the other side of the school! I waddle there at the pace of a snail!) and I am not getting very much sleep lately. I am sorry for being a whiner...I am thankful for these aches and pains because I know the end result will be so worth it! I still ache, though, and I still don't like having to waddle across the school just to use the bathroom during the school day! Regarding the bathroom, I am so incredibly lucky that my sub started shadowing me last week because on Friday I was able to take a bathroom break during a class that I normally couldn't have trusted alone!

*39 week photo posted under pregnancy tab

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

38 weeks + 4 days

At my appointment today:

  • I weighed 142 lbs (How did I gain 3 lbs in one week?! Must have been all my recent couch time + the ridiculous amount of fudge and peppermint bark I consumed over Christmas break)
  • My blood pressure was good
  • My hemoglobin was 12.1
  • Ponyo's heart rate was 153
  • I was 1.5 cm dilated
  • I was 60-70% effaced
My doctor said I am making slow but steady progress and she wouldn't be surprised to see me at my regular appointment next Wednesday. She said that it is no wonder I am uncomfortable at this point, Ponyo's head is really low. That made me feel better because I have been trying to act like I feel fine...I mean I have wanted this for so long and I am not about to start complaining now! Truth is, pain is pain, discomfort is discomfort, crappy sleep is crappy sleep no matter if you vocalize it or not and no matter how much you want the end result of such ailments. I was glad to be validated so I don't feel like a wuss anymore!

In other news: 
  • My sub starts shadowing me tomorrow! I am nervous but also glad...the transition will (hopefully) be a smooth one for everybody. The number of students and teachers that found ridiculous reasons to come by the art room today to see if I was there/how I am doing was both heartwarming and hilarious. I only have 7 teaching days left before I start leave (unless Ponyo comes early).
  • I am missing The Bee tonight, and will continue to do so all week. His "busy season" officially started at work today. That means coming home midnight or later M-F and possibly Saturday, too. We are hoping Ponyo waits so that things aren't too stressful for him. His teams at work have set up back-ups for him so he can leave to be with me at a moment's notice, but without him there things will be a bit crazy until the first big deadline is met this Saturday. 
  • If you have a spare moment, hop on over to Megan's blog A journey through weightloss, dealing with PCOS, and life and leave her a nice comment. She and her husband conceived a little girl last April and after some monitoring this morning, she had a c-section scheduled for this afternoon due to blood pressure concerns. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hospital bags

Seems like Ponyo is starting to get some ideas about wanting to meet us. Nothing telling us that labor is imminent, but things that are definitely signs that my body is preparing for her arrival. Frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, feeling her movements much lower than before, and possibly (sorry, this is gross) the loss of parts of my mucus plug over the last few days. So I thought I'd share what is in the hospital bags. I am getting very anxious (both in the excited way and the super nervous way) and want to make sure that leaving for the hospital is as smooth as possible.

We have 3 bags packed for the hospital. One (the smallest) is to come with us immediately as we check in and spend time in the delivery room. The other 2 can stay in the car until we move to the post delivery room. The highlighted things are items that I'll hopefully remember to pack on the way out the door (camera and makeup).

Small carry-on type bag (to come with us upon check-in at hospital):
Snacks for The Bee (and for me postpartum)
Book for The Bee
Book for me
Baby book (in case we can get the doctor to do the hand and foot prints at the hospital)
Juice boxes (apple)
Bendy straws
Knit maternity skirt for laboring
Knit robe for laboring (not full length)
Sports bra for laboring
2 pair grippy socks (for walking in delivery room/hallways)
Phone charger
Hard candy
Insurance cards

Suitcase (to be left in car until after delivery)
For Ponyo:
2 long sleeved onesies
1 going home outfit (layette with convertible gown/pant outfit, socks, hat, bib)
1 gown
1 pair of footed pants (to go with a onesie in case she is too big for her going home outfit)
2 burp cloths

For me:
2 pair underwear (a size bigger than I normally wear)
2 nursing tanks*
1 nursing bra
1 pair loose fitting sweatpants*
1 zippered hoodie*
1 boyfriend cardigan
1 pair maternity leggings
Toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, brush)
TUCKS pads with witch hazel (my sister gave these to me and said to bring them, I'd rather not imagine why)
Breast pads
Heavy flow pads
Flip flops
1 pair grippy socks
1 pair normal socks*
1 button front nightgown
*these will be my going home outfit

Duffel bag for The Bee (to be left in car until after delivery):
1 blanket
1 travel pillow
2 undershirts
1 t-shirt
2 pairs boxer shorts
2 pairs socks
1 pair sweatpants
1 pair jeans
1 zippered hoodie
Toiletries (toothbrush, contact solution, etc)

To leave in the car until the day we get to go home:
1 car seat (obviously!)
2 car seat safe, fleece snowsuits for Ponyo (one from my Mom, and one from a family at my school. I think the one from my Mom may be too big, so I am bringing both)
1 minky blanket that matches the car seat canopy
1 empty duffel bag for any extra items we need to bring home (i.e. the extra diapers and the lovely mesh panties I have read so much about)

I also want to get some chocolates and fruit to bring for the hospital staff, but honestly I don't know if I'll remember to grab that on the way out the door!

Any other suggestions?

Megan, Scarlett, TheRedHead...what did you pack?