Saturday, January 19, 2013

Acquiescing a Request

There has been a request for more photos of Charlotte.  
So here you go!
(Psst...I'm still waiting on her newborn photos, but I'll post some once I get them)
Sweet little sleeping baby!

 Odd poses
 Husband studying while holding the baby
 1 month old photo

My momma holding her newest granddaughter!

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 Newborn Items That Saved My Life

Charlotte just turned 6 weeks old.  I can’t believe how quickly time has flown. 

As I have finally gotten into somewhat of a routine with my little lady, I have been thinking about the items that have helped me survive a newborn.  There are the basics: diapers (a whole bunch of diapers), wipes, crib, car seat, etc), but there are some things you don't realize you need until you have a crying newborn. 

I read several blog posts on the Internet about must-haves with a newborn and I found that the majority of the items were crazy expensive and really not that necessary.  I really think they were just items that sponsored that blog and therefore bribed the blogger to write a blog about that item.

Because of this truly not-useful information I decided to create my own list.
        Swaddle Me – This saved me from late and sleepless nights.  Unfortunately I didn’t learn about this wonderful item until just last week.  Good thing I have a dear friend who shared her wisdom with me and helped me out tremendously.

I don’t know about you but I have heard of swaddling a baby my entire life.  And even in the hospital they showed me how to swaddle my baby.  However, thinking I could read my baby’s signals  and knew better I didn't swaddle her exactly how they showed me.  Charlotte would squirm like crazy whenever her arms were swaddled so I began “swaddling” my baby without putting her arms in the swaddle.  

Each night Charlotte would just fall asleep and after a few minutes when I'd think she was completely out she would startle herself and do a slashing windmill with her arm, which would wake her up completely, so I’d have to start the getting-her-to-sleep process all over again – change her diaper, rock her, feed her etc.  I would attempt to swaddle her but because she would squirm so much when I would swaddle her arms, I wouldn’t swaddle them.  My wise friend asked me if Charlotte was getting out of her swaddle at night and if so that I should either double swaddle her or get something like the Swaddle Me that Velcro’s so the baby can’t squiggle out of it.  So I bought one for about $11 and tried it.  Instead of trying to get her to fall asleep before 2:30 am, she was asleep by 11 pm.  It was awesome.  The best $11 I have spent.  I will likely buy a couple more so I always have a clean one to use.

Colief – This was also recommended by my all-knowing and wise friend.  We had concluded prior to hearing about the Swaddle Me that Charlotte wouldn’t fall asleep very well because she was gassy and it was bothering her.  I went to the store and found these tablets that would dissolve on the tongue and relieve gas.  This worked well for a couple of days but then seemed to not be as effective.  So when my friend recommended Colief I went right out and bought it.  This also worked wonders to relieve Charlotte’s gassy tummy so she wouldn’t fuss too much. You just add a couple of drops to expressed breast milk or to a bottle and give it to the baby.  It is a little pricy for drops ($14) but it was also very worth the cost.

Medela Nipple Shield – Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not come easily.   Yes, there are those women who don’t have any problems but I believe they are the exception to the rule and not the rule.  

Warning: Possible “TMI” for some people – you have been warned. 

When my milk came in I became engorged which made it very difficult for my baby to latch on.  This was very, very frustrating.  Thankfully I have an awesome lactation specialist, Kristi, that recommended a nipple shield.  This product allows the baby to have a surface to latch on to which facilitates nursing.  Once the engorgement subsided I didn’t need the shield any longer, but I did use it for a couple of weeks.  If it weren’t for this item, I wouldn’t have been able to breast feed. It was worth the cost for the few weeks I needed it.

Swing – My mom told me the swing would be my best friend and she wasn’t lying.  I received a hand-me-down portable swing from my sister in-law.  It was okay, but was battery powered and a little older so it didn’t swing super well.  Because of that we decided to invest in a different one.  Oh it is GLORIOUS.  It is absolutely quiet.  I can only really hear it when there is no sound in the house, and it is a very slight, soft sound.  It has a timer so it will turn off on its own.  It has music and nature sounds and it will swing forward and back or side to side.  AMAZING. Though the tan one is only battery powered (which is what we got because we didn't know until after we bought it, but it still works super well even with just batteries). Charlotte loves it and it entertains her and helps her fall asleep all the time.

Pacifier – I don’t care what people say about not giving your baby a pacifier, unless you want to have your baby on your boob 24/7 then you need to give your baby a pacifier.  Each child is different on what type of pacifier they prefer, so buy a couple of types and determine which they like best.  Charlotte likes the Nuk Orthodontic pacifiers, but she also liked the Soothie pacifier but because she would take both we’ve leaned toward the Nuk because they hook better to a pacifier clip thingy.  Though we did have a WabbaNub, which we really liked because she could kind of grab onto it, but we think my dog got a hold of it thinking it was a toy and took it outside just before the first snowstorm so we can't see it right off below all the snow. We’ll just have to wait until the snow melts to know if our suspicions are correct. Sad, because we really liked the WabbaNub.

If I think of any other items I can't survive without I'll add them, but for now, these are the top 5 things that parents may not realize they need but I sure did.  

Monday, December 31, 2012

Charlotte Rachel

Husband and I welcome our darling little girl to the world!  

Charlotte Rachel was born Tuesday morning, December 4th, 2012 at 1:59 am.  We are so in love!

As every woman has a birth storyhere is mine.

Our Charlotte was due on November 27th.  As the day approached I was getting anxious about when she would arrive.  I told my doctor, Dr. Wilder (who is amazing by the way), that I wanted to let my little lady come on her own time table, and unless it was medically necessary to induce her, I was going to let her come when she wanted. 

Charlotte’s due date came and went.  We became more anxious for her to arrive every day.  On Saturday evening, December 1st, I started to have more contractions than I had ever had.  And they were more consistent, about every 8-10 minutes.  So as I didn’t have anything else to compare it to, we decided to go to the hospital around 10pm to see if I was in labor.  We were there for a couple of hours and as my contractions didn’t get stronger or closer we decided to go home and not wander the hospital halls in the middle of the night hoping to increase labor. 

Going home was the right choice.  The next day I had pretty much no contractions.  If I did they were hours apart.  Guess I wasn’t in labor after all.

Monday morning, December 3rd, I awoke after a restless night’s sleep.  That morning I started to have painful contractions, which were a new development.  My mom and I ran some errands and the contractions continued to increase and become more painful.  I think my mom wanted to go to so many stores to help get labor progressing.  We were at Walmart and I had a terrible vision of me giving birth in the check-out line and I became incredibly anxious to leave.

I sent Husband (who was at school) a text around noon letting him know I was having painful contractions and that they were about 8 minutes apart.  He came home not long after and we spent a few hours at home just timing the contractions.  I certainly did not want to go to the hospital and get sent home again.  And I’d rather spend the first part of labor at home then at the hospital, so I did.  Finally about 4 pm my mom convinced us to go to the hospital (she was so anxious to hold her granddaughter!).  We arrived at the hospital about 5 o’clock and they encouraged us to walk around the hospital for a bit before they would admit me, even though I was pretty much 41 weeks pregnant, they wanted to make sure.  So after one walk down the long hall to the School of Medicine at the University of Utah Hospital and back, my labor pains increased tremendously so we headed back up to Labor and Delivery.  Around 6 pm I was admitted.  We got settled into room 11, equipped with a Jacuzzi tub and other fantastic birthing amenities and met our L&D nurse, Melissa, as well as several medical students, interns, residents and attending doctors who were going to be participating in my little lady’s birth that evening. 

The attending L&D doctor contacted my doctor and got the okay to bread my “bags of water” to help labor progress faster, which she did around 8 pm.  Talk about a weird feeling.  I did have meconium in the amniotic fluid, which is a slight cause for concern.  For those who don't know, when this happens they don’t want the baby to take a huge breath right after birth as they could then pull the meconium into their lungs.  Instead pediatricians were prepared to whisk her away right after birth to suction her lungs to make sure this doesn’t happen.  Which meant I wasn’t going to be able to have delayed cord clamping or immediate skin to skin, which I was kind of bummed about but at the same time I wanted to do what was best for my baby, so I happy with what was going to happen to help her. 

 I continued to progress fairly consistently with painful contractions getting stronger and closer together.  Between 9 and 10 pm I progressed from being dilated a 5 to a 9 which is fast, and boy was it painful.  Very painful.  So much so I lost everything I had eaten earlier that day.  Husband was wonderful and so supportive during labor.  Though Husband and I had a bit of luck, as my momma showed up right around 10.  Husband asked if I’d called her and I told him I thought he had.  But nope, she just knew I needed her.  She is a trained doula, so she knows some great things to do like counter pressure points and places on your legs to massage to help increase labor.  For the next hour and a half she continued to help me.  We had a few people come in and ask if we wanted to participate in some studies.  As the University of Utah Hospital is an academic hospital, this is not uncommon.  I’d already participated in several studies during pregnancy, and you get some pretty great stuff, and there is no harm to you or to your baby.  So we gladly participated. 

A little before mid-night the attending doctor came in and let me know that I was ready to start pushing.  Unfortunately my doctor was not going to be able to be there as she was pretty sick and did not want to bring her illness into the hospital and expose my baby to it. Which truthfully I preferred.  I pushed for a little less than two hours.  Melissa, my L&D nurse, was overseeing it pretty much by herself, then at one point she told me to stop pushing as she did not want to deliver the baby because the little lady would likely come with the next push or two.  The doctor arrived and sure enough within the next two pushes she came! 

Husband cut the umbilical cord and the pediatricians snagged her immediately after.  I sat there and listened to them suction her lungs and was so happy when she started crying once they were done of course.  Before I could see her everyone was telling me how beautiful she was.  Finally they brought her over to me and I got to hold her.  Oh how amazing it is to hold your baby for the first time.  She was so beautiful!  Sadly they wanted to take her to the nursery to watch her for a while so I didn’t get to hold her for long. My momma didn’t get a chance to hold her sad.  But before my mom left we told her what we were going to name her.  We had decided to name her Lorelai Olivia. 

After everything was taken care of in L&D we were taken to our room, 2218, in Post-Partum.  We got settled in and were getting ready to try to get some sleep when I asked Husband if he was really okay with our daughter’s name, because as much as I loved the name Lorelai, I didn’t feel like it fit her.  I just didn’t.  He told me he had been feeling the same thing.  We discussed names and then decided that we should name her Charlotte Rachel.  My middle name and my momma’s middle name is Rachel, so I always wanted to give one of my daughters the middle name of Rachel to keep the tradition going.  And I have liked the name Charlotte most of my life, you know, Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte Bronte and I remember being in high school, sitting in the hall as my friends and I usually did at lunch, and hearing that my friend's friend was named Charlotte and that I liked the name enough that I put it in the back of my brain's "future filing cabinet of potential baby names" - who knew I would actually use it!  And as Husband lived in North Carolina for a while and loved it there, we decided Charlotte would be a good name to use.  So, that was it.  Her name would be Charlotte Rachel.  I hope she likes our choice.  Though I do know that if we have another girl in the future we plan to name her Lorelai Olivia as we like that name so.  Let’s just hope it fits her so we don’t have to come up with a different name on the spot. 

We had great nurses while at the hospital, Jill, Heather, Kara (a dear friend of mine prior to our hospital stay) and Monika.  They were very helpful with everything especially with being a first time mom.  There are so many things you never pick up watching your nieces and nephews, and these ladies were a great help!

Several of our friends and family came to visit: my brother Bryce, his wife, Sara, and their daughter, Kate, my mom and dad, my brother, Kurtis, my brother, Eric, and his wife, Carlee, my friends Heidi, Cassandra and Stephanie.

After being in the hospital for a bit we brought our little girl home on December 5th.  It was quite the rainy and cold night, and we were transporting precious cargo but we were so excited to have her home.  The first few nights were tricky, and I was very sleep deprived (and still am in many ways), but Husband is wonderful and right there helping with everything.  I still think to this day he has changed more diapers than I have.  What a great man he is!

We love our little Charlotte.  She has definitely changed our lives for the better.  Every day is a new adventure, and we love it. 

First Picture


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

40 Weeks!

It has arrived.  I am now 40 weeks pregnant.  My due date was yesterday, November 27th.  My little lady can arrive safely at any moment now.  Except, I don't think she wants to come yet.  She is enjoying her cozy and warm environment while she can.  I had my 40 week appointment today and I'm not much more dilated and I'm even less effaced than I was last week.  Lame.  

Oh well.  I know this little lady will come when she is supposed to.  Though I think I will start all the "old wives tales" of ways to help induce the baby.  Hopefully she'll come by the weekend.  

I just can't wait to meet her and hold her in my arms! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another Incredible Blessing

Last night the doorbell rang.  My brother got the door and yelled down the stairs that it was for me.  When I finally hobbled up the stairs I found the front door closed, which I thought was odd as my brother said, “They are out on the porch”.  When I opened the front door, no one was there... but there was a huge pile of baby gifts!  All of which are much needed and incredibly appreciated items! 

We are overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and kindness of our mystery givers.  We truly are grateful and can never thank whomever it is enough. 

36 Weeks and Counting

Yes, yesI know, I keep saying I’ll post more pictures of my baby belly which turns out to be lies.  I have the pics, I’m just too busy to take the time to actually post them.  I am in the middle of repenting, so they will be put up soonmeaning before our little lady arrives.

I also had some maternity photos taken 3 weeks ago and once I get those back, I will post those as well.

This week marked my 36th weekmeaning I’m finally in the last month.  Which, technically is the 10th month.  This whole 9 months of pregnancy is a total fallacy.  Pregnancy is counted in weeks.  40 of them.  Which, if anyone can do their math, there are usually 4 weeks in a month, and 40 divided by 4 equals 10.  Yep.  10 months.  Though I’m not complaining as I’ve had a GREAT pregnancy (especially once Omeprazole and I became great friends and I go to the chiropractor weekly).  In fact, with how close the due date is becoming I’m wishing I had more timethere is still so much to do!

We finally started putting the baby’s room together.  Yes, yes, we procrastinatedbut for very good reasons I won’t get into.  We just finally broke down and decided we shouldn’t wait any longer.  Things are coming together fairly well.  We are still awaiting the arrival of the cradle.  Husband’s father is making one for us out of maple, which we can’t wait to get!  It will be beautiful I’m sure!

We are trying to adjust our cats to the new residence of their food.  They are being a bit difficult about it, but it has only been 5 days, so hopefully they’ll catch on soon. 

I rolled my ankle last week and took a tumble.  Luckily I caught myself mostly with my hands so the trauma to the baby was very minimal., if there was any at all.   The trauma to my ankle is another story: I heard it pop as I stepped on it wrong and went down.  I believe that having my center of balance off and my ligaments really loose due to pregnancy made for the perfect situation for injuring my unaware ankle. I’ve wrapped it, iced it and elevated it every day, and it still aches pretty badly.  I decided to self-treat my injury beyond what I’ve been doing and I pulled out my gigantic boot from when I tore the ligaments in the same ankle during the Ragnar Relay two summers ago.  I hate wearing it, but I would rather do so and help it heal than have a bum ankle when our little lady gets here.  I figure if it still hurts as badly next week, after wearing the boot every day, I will give in and see my podiatrist (and pray he doesn’t tell me it’s broken).

My OB said everything looks great and the baby has a happy and healthy heartbeat.  She also said she doesn’t think she’ll come early, which is fine by me.  We’re hoping our little lady doesn't come until the 30th of November because of schooling and tests.  But I know she’ll come when she is ready to, and we’ll be prepared for her arrival regardless we’ll have to be.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baby and Other Blessings

30 weeks yesterday!  Cah-raaazy!

I need to remember to post my 28 and 30 week pictures.  I’ll get to it this weekend, I promise.  I WILL become a more consistent blogger.  I will! 

In the meantime I have truly been amazed with how many blessings Husband and I are receiving right now.  The most obvious one being that we are having a healthy baby and a healthy mommy to boot.  I don’t know if I’m missing asking important questions to my OB or if I really am having an awesome pregnancy.  We finally got the heartburn under control.  Omeprazole is now my best friend!

I am at the University Hospital quite a bit for work and I see SO many pregnant women hobble down the hall towards the OB clinic and they look MISERABLE!  I can’t help but think, “oh please don’t let that be me when I get closer to delivering”.  For the most part I feel good.  But I’m sure that will fade the closer I get to our Little Lady coming.

The other blessings I have been amazed at receiving have mostly been financial blessings.  Here are a few examples: 
1)   We have been a customer of a business for a couple of years now and we are almost done paying off what we owe them.  However, during a conversation with them a little bit ago about our last payment being in October, the representative mentioned that they found we owe $850 in fees that haven’t been paid over the last two years.  I was heartbroken.  That is money we need for the baby.  But, if we owe it, we owe it.  About a month later I was talking to the representative about a couple of other things about the account and I asked him about the fees, where they came from and I told him that I thought we had been paying the fees the entire time.  He said he’d check into it.  Well, not 15 minutes later he called me back and let me know that they re-calculated everything and I HAD been paying the fees the entire time so I wouldn't owe the $850 any longer!  I told him I loved him.  Ha ha.  I could tell he was genuinely happy to be the bearer of such great news and he told me to go buy a crib with the money we are saving.  I will thank youand several other things with that amount of money.  

2) Husband received a bill in the mail from his doctor’s office for $275.  What this bill was for, no one knew.  I figured it was whatever the insurance didn’t pay.  I paid part of it, as I couldn’t afford the entire amount at once, and planned to pay it in full with monthly payments.  One day I happened to be looking at what our insurance covers (am getting prepared for baby) and I noticed that the type of doctor Husband had seen was COMPLETELY covered.  Hmm.  I walked upstairs (as this doc’s office happens to be in my office building) and asked what the fee was for.  It happened to be a “no show” fee, which the insurance obviously doesn’t pay for.  Dang.  Well, I did a little digging about the date of the no show and talked to the billing department.  And come to find out, Husband HAD attended the appointment.  He was just 15 minutes late and someone marked him as not having shown up which is why we were charged.  The manager reversed the charge that day, so we no longer had to pay the $275.  Oh, and about a month after this was resolved, we got a check in the mail for the money I’d paid toward it, that was a nice blessing. 

3)  I received a check in the mail from Merril Lynch randomly one day.  Come to find out, while I was working at Macy’s, some of my paycheck was being added to a 401K for me and as it wasn’t a lot and I was no longer employed at Macy’s, they cut me a check for my portion and sent it my way.  Random money is very nice when preparing for a baby.

4) And nowfor the BIG blessing of late.

I don’t know if you are aware, but Utah does not have good maternity pay laws.  You’d think they would as they are the baby making capital of the world, but they simply don’t.  And because they don’t, Utah companies can make up their own maternity policies. 

Here’s the scoop.  If a company doesn’t have “maternity pay” they will allow you to be out with your baby for 12 weeks if you qualify for FMLA (have worked at the company for a certain amount of time).  The only other potential for monies would come from Short Term Disability (STD) or Long Term Disability (LTD) which generally pays 60% of your salary while you are out.  Most STD or LTD kicks in after a week or maybe 30 days at the longest. No biggie. So I signed up for both STD and LTD to make sure I would have some money coming in with baby.
Come to find out, unlike most companies, the U’s STD doesn’t kick in for 90 days and the LTD 180 days.  And if you are out the full 12 weeks with FMLA, that time would be unpaid unless you had vacation or sick time available.  I talked to my boss about my stresses of the University’s STD and lack of maternity pay.  She informed me that even if the STD kicked in sooner, she had never known of anyone using it for maternity as she didn’t think that fit the U’s criteria for disability.  So I wouldn’t be able to use either disability pays (that I had been paying for over a year) with my baby, unless I had to go on bed rest prior to her arrivalwhich semi counts for maternity and I wouldn’t get any money until the 90th day anyway.  Needless to say, because their policy was awful, Husband and I were stressing about money.  I would like to be able to stay home for 12 weeks after our little lady arrives.  Going back to work when she is only 6 weeks old breaks my heart, 3 months seems a little less heartbreaking and doable.  And I HAVE to go back to work as I am the source of income for our family while Husband is finishing his school.  So, I pretty much told my boss that I want to plan to take the full 12 weeks, but realistically I might have to come back sooner because of monies.  Not cool.

Here is where the blessing comes in.

A couple of weeks ago, my boss stopped me as I came through the door of the office, “I have great news for you!” she exclaimed!  We sat down in her office and she told me that she was in a meeting the night before about the new vacation (PTO) policy the U was launching the beginning of October.  The University had reviewed their STD/LTD policies and had determined they needed a change.  As of October 1, they are going to do away with STD and only offer LTD.  With this change they will enroll ALL full time employees into the LTD program for no fee. The new LTD will now kick in after 30 days which will also now include maternity leave!  Hooray!  This means that the first two weeks I’m out, I’ll rely on my vacation/sick time I’ve accrued.  Then we’ll be paycheck - less for about 2 weeks (boo).  But then, we’ll be getting 60% percent of my salary for the remaining 8 weeks I’m home with my little lady.  We were stressing about saving enough monies for the entire 12 weeks (which seemed impossible) but now, we don’t have to save as much and I will be able to stay home for the full 12 weeks that FMLA affords.  What a great blessing!

The blessings keep pouring in, it is truly wonderful to know you have a Heavenly Father that loves you and blesses you for keeping His commandments.  I just have to keep remembering that when I’m uncomfortable at night and can’t sleep very welland again when our little lady arrives and she is perfect.