Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Introducing Laine Catherine

Little Miss Laine Catherine entered our world on May 5, 2015 at 8:10 PM weighing 8 pounds 1.8 ounces and measuring 20 inches in length with a 14 inch circumference head (conehead and all! aye!).  I can't believe I have TWO kids... little girls at that!  We are so blessed and so thrilled that Laine is here and is a healthy, happy, content little baby.  While it is still fresh in my mind, I want to document her birth story like I did with Greer's.

One half day old.
I had my first cervix check at 36 weeks and I was thrilled that I was 1/2 centimeter dilated, as I did not dilate at all with Greer until I started Pitocin.  However, at every subsequent visit up until 39 weeks, I was only dilated 1 centimeter and was not effaced at all.  At my 38 week appointment, we decided that I would be induced based upon my delivery with Greer and my strong belief that Laine was going to be at least one pound bigger.  (This was an educated opinion, as Laine's estimated weight at my 28 week ultrasound was one ounce more than Greer's at her 32 week ultrasound.  I had a 28 week ultrasound due to placenta previa at my 20 week, which thankfully had resolved itself.)  Even though my inductions are not truly elective, they consider them as such compared to women who are past their due dates, so I was on a wait list for cervadil on May 4 and induction on May 5.  On Friday, May 1, I received a voicemail that I didn't see until after I left work that my induction had been canceled.  UM, WHAT!?  How can you cancel someone's delivery!?  I had just wrapped up to start my maternity leave and my mom was coming in town the next day!  Of course, the office was closed, so I called the after hours line and was able to reach the doctor on call.  I ended up again on a wait list but with a rescheduled induction on May 7.  Not ideal but what was I going to do!?  I had my 39 week appointment the morning of May 4, so I held out hope that either something would open up or my doctor would work her magic.

My mom still came in town as scheduled, and Matt and I attended the wedding of one of his best friend's that night.  Despite my best efforts, I was not able to dance her out.  :)  I also tried walking her out at the zoo on Sunday, but that was also unsuccessful.

I went to my appointment on Monday, and true to her ways, Dr. Williams had gotten me back on the books and I was to report to the hospital that night for cervadil!  YAY!  I was still at 1cm and not effaced, but I knew that would change soon enough.
My mom and I busied ourselves running errands that day, got a manicure and pedicure, and I finished packing my hospital bag.  We decided to grill out for dinner and had burgers and corn on the cobb.  I snuggled with Greer as much as I could before we left, and I made Matt swing through Chick-fil-a for a cookies and cream milkshake on the way, even though we were running late.  Priorities.  When we arrived and I got all checked in and the cervadil placed, I was 60% effaced even though I was not effaced at all that morning (still 1cm and -3 station).  Hooray for small victories!  We settled in for the night, and I took the full dose of the sleepy medicine this time and passed out in no time.  Apparently something was beeping on my machines and I didn't even budge.  The meds wore off around 3am and I was restless the rest of the night, but I was thankful for that little bit of solid sleep, especially given how poorly I'd slept most of my pregnancy.

The next morning, it was time to get the party started.  When they took the cervadil out, I was still at 1 centimeter and was 70% effaced.  This was similar to my experience with Greer where I was 0 cm and 0% effaced before cervadil and 0 cm and 10% effaced after.  It doesn't seem to do much for me.  We got the Pitocin started at 7:45, and I had my IV redone at 8:35 as it was not in a good place and we weren't getting a good flow of meds.  Dr. Williams checked me at 9:25, and I was 2 cm and still 70% effaced but she was beginning to drop just a little bit (between -2 and -3 station).  My water broke on its own with Greer just a couple hours into the Pitocin, but that didn't happen this time.  So at 12:45, Dr. Williams broke my water.  I was 3 cm at this time and still at 70% effaced and -2 station.  The contractions were still very bearable, but I knew that would change.  I asked for the epidural not too long after that before things got intense.  I had been keeping notes up until this time, so I am not sure of the exact timing between then and my epidural because things got very painful.
It's all fun and games until a contraction comes on.

This was an accidental picture but caught during a contraction... before they got really bad.

Much better contraction pattern than with Greer (that's me on the top).
I think I got my epidural somewhere around 2:15-2:30, so there was a good hour of very painful contractions before I got relief.  I wondered how I ever even thought I might go without drugs.  Ouch.  The epidural was much less dramatic this time, as I provided fair warning of my previous experience.  My BP did drop again, but since they were ready for it, it wasn't nearly as bad.  Also, to backup a little bit, much like with Greer, Laine was having little decels here and there, so I was shifting around every which way trying to get her in a good place.  She was being a bit of a booger and really didn't like any way I was situated.  She also seemed to lodge herself way up into my right rib cage, so I was incredibly uncomfortable, even with the epidural.
After the epidural, I was 5 cm and 90% effaced.  I was not completely numb (again), but my left leg was dead, which was a very weird feeling.  My legs didn't go dead with my previous epidural.  But, even though I wasn't completely numb, the epidural was a HUGE relief.  My nurse came to check on us around 5:00, because Laine was again having some decels.  She shifted me around a little bit and then said, let me check you as something is going on here.  Sure enough, I was fully dilated and effaced except for a small lip of cervix that was getting in the way.  It was coming and going, so she called in Dr. Williams to check me out.  In the meantime, I was sitting up, trying to get Laine to drop a bit more.  Dr. Williams came and wasn't concerned about the little lip as she felt it would move more once the baby dropped some more, which I knew from experience wouldn't happen without me pushing.  So the room was prepped and I started pushing around 6:25. 
(My mom had been at the hospital most of the day and was very upset to have to leave right when the fun was about to start.  Thankfully, our awesome friends and neighbors took Greer that evening so she was able to come back and be there when Laine was born!  Well, she was in the waiting room but she got to come in and see her after.)  :)
It was as hard and as uncomfortable as it was last time.  I had to have oxygen, I had to shift in weird ways (though I didn't have to push on my sides), and I for some reason could not figure out how to hold my breath in my chest instead of in my face, which led to me popping a ton of capillaries on the sides of my face (which I didn't notice until the next day).  Thankfully, my epidural held out better, so I didn't experience the full pain of delivery but I still was not completely numb either.  After the first few pushes, they asked if I'd like a mirror and I accepted.  I was having trouble feeling if I was really making any progress at first, so it was definitely helpful to see her little head just barely peeking through my pelvis.  Just like with Greer, it took a lot of time and effort to mold her head through my small pelvic opening.  What was absolutely crazy to me both times is how quickly it does come through once you get to a certain point.  I felt it with Greer, so it was really neat to see and feel it this time.  I was so glad I didn't have to push for 2.5 hours this time... an hour and forty-five minutes was plenty!  As soon as she came out, Dr. Williams and the nurses all commented on her being a big baby, "at least 8 pounds," and remarked on her many chins!  We don't make skinny babies, even if they're less than 7 pounds like Greer.  She was placed on my chest, and I was so much more aware and in the present this time.  I could not believe I got an 8+ pound baby out of me!!  She was perfect, and I was so relieved.  I'm pretty sure one of the first things I said was that she looked NOTHING like Greer!  And, other than her ears, she really doesn't.  As I predicted, she is blonde haired (very blonde!) and I am 99% sure will keep her blue eyes.  In fact, I didn't think she looked like anyone, so I jokingly questioned whether or not they mixed up embryos, which was echoed by my mom.

I was shocked when they weighed and measured her.  Greer was 6 pounds 15 ounces and her head was only 12.25 inches.  I knew Laine was going to be bigger, but what was shocking to me was her head measurement of 14 inches (90th percentile)... and that was WITH that major conehead!  I measured her head when we got home from the hospital and it was rounded out, and it was 14.5 inches (99th percentile).  Matt and I both have bigger heads, so it's not shocking in that way, as I expect our kids to have larger heads.  I am just amazed that I was able to push that big of a baby out!
Once we got settled into our post partum room, Matt left for the night (I was fine, so I didn't see any reason for him to sleep there and I knew he wanted to be home for Greer in the morning).  I tried to room in with Laine, but she was too squeaky and I didn't sleep at all.  So after our first feeding that night, I had them take her to the nursery.  I slept a little better but not much and was extremely exhausted the next day.  Matt brought Greer in the morning, and she was absolutely adorable!  She walked in and was immediately pointing out the baby, baby sleeping, baby's hat is pink, etc.  We actually do have some pictures of their meeting, but I don't know who has them.  My best friend/photog extraordinaire Jenny came that morning and I know she got some pictures, but I haven't seen them yet.
Also, at this point, we had not settled on a name for her.  I texted Matt sometime very early that morning that I was leaning toward Laine Catherine.  So, when he came in and after the initial introductions of Greer and baby, he agreed that Laine Catherine was it.  And so it was.  :)

My pain got pretty bad that day.  I never had much pain at all with Greer.  I was very sore, but it wasn't high pain.  I guess an 8+ pounder with a huge head really does change things.  I told Matt that when I said I wanted another one, remind me of how I feel at that moment.  I'm pretty tough, and it was so bad that I was almost in tears at one point.  After some additional meds, I felt a little relief.  Matt got us sushi that night for dinner.  I let them take Laine to the nursery, and I slept with the TV on, which for some reason, made me sleep much better (I think it drowned out the hallway noise).  The next day, we were out of there by 11am, which was AWESOME!  Our hospital experience was great thanks to the wonderful nurses, but we were ready to be home and get life started as a family of four.
On our way home!

Mother's Day Brunch

Yep, this was the best pic I got of me and my girls on Mother's Day... Laine is just outside of the shot.

Anatomy of a yawn.

Out and about... exploring the Atlanta BeltLine!

Sweet dreams.

Greer at around 2 weeks and Laine at 1 week.  Such different girls!

My mom was here for almost two weeks, which was amazing.  It was such a huge help to have her around, especially in taking care of Greer.  We were sad to see her go!  So far, Laine has pretty much been a dream baby.  We're not doing so great in establishing a schedule because she can be a bit of a lazy eater at times, but she's doing so great at night, I don't care too much!  I mean, she is only three weeks old after all.  I've been sleeping with her next to me in the rock and play, which has also been a game changer.  I could not sleep with Greer next to me, but I guess I'm just more relaxed this time and the little noises don't keep me awake.  It's also good that I can sleep with her next to me, because she has some reflux and does this terrible gagging thing, sometimes even quite awhile after she eats and in a reclined position rather than flat on her back.  I wouldn't want to be far away from her when those episodes happen, even though she clears them on her own.  I still can't not react. 
I can't believe she's only three weeks old, as I feel like she's been around forever.  Greer has adjusted so well to being a big sister, which is no surprise to me.  She is very sweet and helpful and loves to give Laine kisses.  Life is good!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My "big" 2 year old

Since I don't blog anymore, through the power of the internet, my child has gone from being one to two in a hot minute!  In reality, it feels that way.

I know every parent thinks their kid hung the moon, but she really is just so great.  Sure, she tests us at times, but for the most part, she is super obedient, sweet-natured, helpful, polite, and just fun.  I mean, the kid has a knock knock joke already!  My good friend and new-ish blogger, Jen at The Champagne Supernova, would be so proud.  If anyone is actually reading this, check out her blog.  You won't be disappointed.

She's still a petite thing... 24.5 lbs and 33.5" at her 2-year appointment (25-50th percentile), but her head is 75th percentile.  A far cry from her head measurement at birth which was so narrow thanks to my abnormally small pelvic opening that it didn't even register on the curve.  Sorry about that, nugget.  And sorry to your sister who will hopefully fit through but with an equally alarming initial head shape.  She still only has 12 teeth but we're definitely working on a canine or two and maybe getting ready for the two year molars.  She finally has hair, though it's still a bit of a mullet.  The top and sides are growing, but they haven't caught up with the growth that happens in the back, so she's had several home haircuts.  I think it's time to take her to a professional for a cute bob or something.  She can rock some adorable pigtails though!

Lots of tidbits on Greer as a 2-year old:
  • She talks up a storm (no surprise being my child) and in sometimes surprisingly full sentences;
  • has a love/hate relationship with the dogs;
  • is a whiz at puzzles;
  • ends most of her sentences and phrases with an escalating voice;
  • can tell you most colors but can color match anything;
  • loves stickers, bubbles and play-doh;
  • hates the sound of helicopters if we're outside and she's not holding onto someone for safety;
  • loves firetrucks and any big trucks or construction equipment;
  • loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Curious George, and Elmo;
  • can probably use the iPad better than I can despite really limiting how much she is allowed to use it;
  • sings songs complete with motions;
  • loves baths and happily proclaims/questions "bath night!?" every night after dinner;
  • is super easy to put down for a nap or to bed (even asking for a nap sometimes); 
  • loves her pappy (paci, which she didn't start using until after she was 1... clearly I should have removed it from her crib but that's the only time she gets it) and stuffed animals;
  • LOVES to read;
  • eats pretty well most of the time (veggies are hit or miss but she loves broccoli (aka: brocky), green smoothies and sometimes salad);
  • mostly knows her ABCs (misses a letter here and there) and can count as high as her mid-teens that I've heard;
  • is starting to truly understand the concept of counting things but that's not consistent yet;
  • loves people and has become quite outgoing, and
  • she just lights up our world!
I think she's going to be a great big sister, and I can't wait to see her in that role.

Friday, April 17, 2015

An open letter to my daughter...

(My second daughter, that is.  Surprise!  I'm pregnant with #2 and due in early May.)

Sweet girl.  You still do not have a name.  I have not taken weekly pictures of my growing belly.  In fact, I barely have any pictures of my belly.  Most of your clothes (and everything else) are hand me downs from your big sister.  You don't have a nursery, as you and Greer will share a room and you'll be floating between mommy and daddy's room and the guest bedroom until we get Greer comfortable in her big girl bed and you're sleeping through the night so you two can have slumber parties.  I have not had baby showers (though I am having a tea to celebrate you tomorrow and work is throwing me a shower next week!).  We still have quite a few things to do at home to get ready for your arrival (and I have plenty to wrap up at work).

Life is busy, sweet girl.  Mommy and daddy both have demanding jobs, your big sister and doggie siblings are demanding of our time, mommy's extracurricular involvement in way too many things keeps me running crazy, I don't have time to read blogs (except when I'm having pregnancy induced insomnia), and I haven't had time to write one either.  It is a much different time and experience as we prepare for you.  But, let me tell you this.  I knew I would love your sister.  But, I didn't know how much.  I knew my life would be better than it was before her, but I didn't know in what ways.  (I also know the hard times we might face, and that's okay too... I know everything is a phase!)

But with you sweet girl, as I sit here typing and feel you hiccuping in my belly, I feel as much wonder as I did with your sister.  I feel as blessed and as lucky to be your momma.  And, I already love you more than I did at this point with her, because I now know the capacity of my love for you as your mommy.  Your daddy and I are so excited to bring you into our family.  We have wanted you since before you were formed by God (in a petri dish, much like your sister, and then in my womb), and we have loved you since we first knew you were a possibility.  Our love and anticipation for your arrival has only grown along with my belly... and our hearts.  We cannot wait to meet you and see the excitement and new dynamic that you will bring to our family.  Having a sister myself, I am so incredibly excited that you and Greer will be blessed with each other as sisters and friends and pray that your relationship will be one of love, admiration and respect, despite the differences I know that you will have.

So, my precious soon-to-be second born, while our preparation for you has been so different from the first time we did this, it is not because we love or want you any less.  If anything, all of the emotions are greater knowing how much you will bless all of our lives.  I cannot wait to see your face and hold you in my arms and learn your features and personality (and finally decide what you will be named!).  I cannot wait to see the bond you form with your daddy, who I have to tell you really loves having a daughter and is quite excited about another, and with your sister.  I think I will hold you a little tighter and kiss you even more (if that is possible) than I did with your sister knowing how quickly the time flies by and how quickly you will grow.  You will be here oh so soon and our lives will be so much better for it.  I cannot wait.

With my whole heart,
Your Momma

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Greer's First Birthday

We had a pretty low key party for Greer's first birthday.  Daddy smoked a pork butt, and we had baked beans, cole slaw, fruit, and cupcakes!  In attendance were Grams, Aunt Brandi, cousins James and Brody, the Mardens, the Widmaiers, the Youngs, the Hortons, the Bachmeiers, and the Haliburtons (minus Anne).  It sprinkled on and off, but it didn't spoil our fun.  Greer LOVED her cake.  So thankful to "Aunt" Jenny for capturing the party for us!  And to my awesome friends for sticking around after for an impromptu birthday celebration for moi (Greer's party was on my birthday)!