A Week Ago

A week ago today I went into labor.

It wasn’t the dramatic way Hollywood presents the onset of labor to be.  My water didn’t break in the middle of a crowded restaurant sending us whirling into panic mode trying to get everything together as we hailed a taxi for the hospital.  Rather, I started experiencing really bad back pain around noon.  I was used to feeling back pain with mild cramps that would always ease up within an hour.  I thought it was just another round of Braxton Hicks.  Bry and I went for a 2 mile walk with Lily and the entire time I kept thinking “this hurts much more than usual”.  We walked by the hospital Jackson was born at and I told him again, just as I did every time we’d walked or run past that big building along our trail, “this is where you’re going to be born!” The pain continued and the contractions remained steady.  The last 100 feet to the car, I jogged.  If it was Braxton Hicks, nothing would happen.  If it was real, it might help things progress.  The pain strengthened and continued on.

We got home and showered then curled up in bed to watch “The Count of Monte Cristo”.  Bry kept asking me how I liked the movie but the entire time I was distracted by counting the lengths of the contractions I continued to feel and focusing on not getting too excited that they might actually be real this time.  About 2pm I decided to call the doctor on call of our OB practice.  This was the longest I’d had Braxton Hicks and I didn’t know what to do.  She told us to go to the ER, and to bring our bags.  In an effort not to “jinx” it and to make sure that this was indeed real labor and not just another intense round of Braxton Hicks, I told Bry we’d give it another hour.  I waited an hour and a half, just to be sure, and the contractions kept coming.

The rest of the story is in our birth story but I have to include that I’m glad we were sent home after the first attempt at L&D. We got to have a real “last supper”, one last hot shower at home and a little down time cuddled in bed watching “How I Met Your Mother”.  Plus, I got to go home and get my chapstick! How I forgot that the first time around I will never know.

Here we are a week later with the most adorable baby boy in the whole wide world.  It seems like a world away that we were walking our favorite trail as a family of 2 and at the same time it seems like just yesterday that Jackson entered this world.  I can’t remember life without him, what my arms did before they held him or even how my days passed without staring into his bright blue eyes, admiring his many facial expressions and cuddling in the warmth of his little body pressed against my chest.   It’s amazing how much life has changed in just a week, how much joy and happiness this little boy has brought into our life and how life finally feels whole, complete with him in it.

I look at his little lips as he purses them and puckers them, meaning he’s ready to eat, and think about how some day those little lips will be kissing girls.  I get overwhelmed with emotion thinking of one day, inevitably, someone will break his heart.  Someday a dream will come crashing down, a desire won’t be fulfilled, he’ll experience some sort of heartache, some sort of letdown, some sort of sadness.  As his mother, I wish I could protect him from all the bad in the world, all the harm that could happen to him and all the pain he could encounter during his life.  But I also know that I have to let him forge his own path, whatever that may be, and learn for himself. 

Jackson, I want you to know that no matter what I will always love you.  No matter how many times you stumble and fall, whatever wrongs you may commit, I will always be here with a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand back up.  There is nothing in this world you could do that could ever change how much I love you.  You are forever my little boy and I hope that as you figure your way through life, you always follow your heart.  That you make your own mistakes and follow your dreams and that if they lead you somewhere other than where you want to be, you change course and change direction but know that it’s OK to sometimes fail.  It’s in our failures that we most greatly learn about ourselves and grow as people.  I want you to know that no matter what, I love you more than anything in this entire world and I will continue to, forever.  I hope that your life will bring you more happiness than you can imagine and I know that you will do amazing things.  You have already touched so many lives and brought so much joy to mine. 

The First Few Days

It’s a rare moment where Jackson’s sleeping soundly in his boppy and not on my chest or in my arms.  It’s so strange. My hands feel empty without him in them.  I look at him and get overwhelmed with emotion, tears instantly filling my eyes. This is the little miracle boy I’ve waited all my life for.  This is the blue eyed sweetheart who in an instant stole my heart and filled my whole world.  I can never truly explain the extent of my love for him or how much my heart swells just looking at his perfect face.  He is truly my every dream come true and I forget what life was like before him.  I truly believe my life started the day he came into this world.

He’s up again and cuddled to my chest.  I’ve mastered living one handed.  I’m not perfect at it and sometimes a loose pea will find itself wrapped in his blankie. But he forgives me.  In just 5 days we’ve learned so much and become an even better team.  Sleep is getting less evasive, I’ve learned 90% of his cues and I’ve given over reign of the schedule. Just as in utero, he’s the boss.

Every day I fall in love with him even more.  His big yawns that take every muscle in his body to produce, his hungry face where his eyes get as wide as can be stretching out his face while still closed, his pursy lips and little tongue. I love everything about him and feel so blessed to be his mommy.

He’s extremely cold sensitive and screams bloody murder if he’s naked.  He loves being cuddled and explores with his big blue eyes the world around him. He likes to dance to mommy’s ridiculous made up songs and if he had it his way he’d never stop eating.  Just like in mommy’s belly he stretches his long legs out and loves to kick off things with them. I see a future runner, just like his mommy and daddy.

Sure there have been times each night he’s gotten fussy, sometimes for hours on end when nothing seems to soothe him but as we grow together we’re learning more and more how to work together. For now that means him sleeping on my chest as we’re surrounded by 12 pillows so we’re unable to move. No matter how hard it is to hear your child cry for hours with nothing to relieve him and working on next to no sleep there’s never been a moment where I’ve wondered “what I got myself into”, only awe at how lucky I am to be his mother and how time’s already flying by too fast.

Jackson’s Birth Story

August 18, 2012 Bry had just gotten off night shift. We had breakfast like usual and took a nap. When Bry awoke at noon we exercised and went for a walk. The entire walk I was having bad back pain. There was no break in the pain like contractions and I remember Bryan talking to me but there being so much pressure that I couldn’t focus on what he was saying. It was a long, miserable 2 miles and unknowingly our last as a family of 2.

We got home and I was having regular contractions, presenting namely as back labor. By 2:30pm I’d been regularly contracting for 2.5 hours. I was scared to go to the hospital because I knew it wasn’t “time” yet but at the same time I felt like something was happening and things were changing.  I decided to call our doctor’s after hours line and spoke to the doctor on call, Dr. Morales.  Dr. Morales told us to come in and to bring our hospital bags.  Again, I was nervous about getting turned away and that the pain I was feeling was yet another set of Braxton Hick’s.  I told Bry we’d wait an hour and see if they continued.  In the meantime we laid in bed and watched Netflix.  An hour passed and the contractions were still coming without a break and getting stronger.  So we decided to pack our bags in the car and try our luck at labor and delivery.

When we arrived to L&D I was put onto two monitors: one to time my contractions and one to monitor Jackson’s heart rate.  The monitors showed that I was contracting without breaks. I was 2cm dilated, 75% effaced as opposed to the 1cm/50% I’d been just 2 days before. The nurses came in and asked if we’d walked that morning and we told her yes.  She said that sometimes that can cause an “irritated uterus” which was what the monitors were showing in the constant contractions. I was given 2 bags of saline (1000 CC each) and continued to be monitored to see if the contractions let up with hydration. 2 hours passed and finally my uterus was less irritated, my contractions calmed and I was still contracting on my own every 3 minutes which meant I was in actual labor.  We were told to go home, eat, shower, exercise and come back. The nurse, Joy, told us Bryan needed to call off work and when I asked “so we might have a baby tomorrow?” she responded “Oh definitely!” I was shocked and despite the constant contractions didn’t fully believe her.

Despite being stunned, in a good way!, we followed directions. Our last meal was Boston market and it was delicious. By 11pm my contractions were even stronger and I felt myself tearing up in pain when I’d reach the peak of them. We decided to head back to the hospital and walk around for a bit to help things progress.  As soon as we arrived at the hospital however, I told Bry I think we should just head to L&D.  I was in a lot of pain and was waddling at this point.  Bryan was working on 2 hours of sleep after working the night shift Friday night so we stopped at the 2nd floor for him to chug a coffee before we attempted to check in again.  While he was chugging, I paced back and forth, rocking and waddling. I decided to try to run for a few paces and 10 steps in realized it was a bad idea.  I was ready to get checked again and hoped we’d be admitted.

Again, I was placed on the external monitors which showed I was still contracting regularly and a cervical check showed I was now 3cm dilated 90% effaced. Despite the normal 4cm that it takes for a pregnant woman to be admitted, I was progressing fast and in active labor. The doctor on call, still Dr. Morales decided to admit us.  This was it, we were going to have a baby!! We were ecstatic.  Everything still seemed so surreal.

While we waited to be taken upstairs to labor and delivery I started leaking a lot of blood and felt incredibly wet “down there”.  I didn’t feel anything pop and thought it was probably from all the cervical checks. The nurse took note and said I’d be checked by a resident once we moved upstairs. We proceeded to the third floor at around midnight.

Because of the amount of blood, the nurses were concerned I may have ruptured my bag of waters. A resident came in to check but the fluid I was leaking wasn’t amniotic fluid. The blood continued to leak.

During this time I was still on external monitoring. Jackson’s heart rate was in the 170s since we’d reached the 3rd floor and he was deemed tacky. There was a lot of concern that the blood I was leaking may be placenta abruption and with Jackson’s HR so high it was a danger to his health if we couldn’t bring it down to a normal rate.

Our new nurse, Sherriann, called Dr. Morales explaining the situation. They spoke for a while. When Sherriann hung up she turned to us with a very serious look on her face.  “Dr. Morales is concerned about the blood loss and baby’s HR.  She’s on her way down but wants me to prep you for a C-Section.” My primary goal of labor was to have a healthy baby but avoiding a c-section was a close second. I was stunned but tried to stay positive.  I have to admit I felt like a failure. Jackson was in the perfect position (head down), everything else had been spot on during pregnancy and here we were in the final stretch and I wouldn’t even be allowed to attempt natural labor.

Before labor I thought I’d freak out a lot. I told Bryan that anything that happened in the delivery room I wasn’t allowed to be held accountable for. I had no idea what to expect. However, even facing one of my biggest fears, I remained positive and calm. This wasn’t at all what I wanted but the primary concern was our son. Bryan was very supportive and listened as I riddled off reasons a c-section was a positive in a last ditch effort to become more at peace with the situation. We’d get to see Jackson sooner, we’d know for sure he was OK.  While prior to this we’d remained chatty and laughing, despite the pain, the talk of a c-section left the room quiet.

The first step was the epidural. It all happened so quickly. It was now 1am and within 10 minutes of the talk of a c-section, the anesthesiologist walked in.  The anesthesiologist tech, a really nice older lady, first went over everything the procedure would entail.  I have to admit, I blocked her out.  I was shaking horribly by this time, uncontrollably and not from pain but fear.  I didn’t know what to expect and it still felt so unreal.  The tech placed some warm blankets over me and immediately the shaking lessened.  She held my shoulders and told me to hunch over my belly while still out my back while the doctor prepped the area for the epidural.  It was painful being in that position with my belly all the way up in my chest.  I mentally removed myself from the situation and kept repeating “this is all for baby boy” while taking deep breaths with my eyes closed.  The doctor explained everything as he went but it was like listening through a dream.  I could hear him but I was removed. 

It took about 20 minutes for the anesthesiologist to prep the area, inject local anesthetic and insert the epidural.  I was so relieved when it was done so that I could move and not be hunched over my ginormous pregnant belly anymore.  I still had full mobility and tons of flexibility despite the epidural but could no longer register pain.  I felt pressure with each contraction, could wiggle my toes and move my legs but pain was no longer there.

Before labor, I wanted to try to labor as long as possible on my own before getting an epidural.  I was probably in a level 4-5 pain when I got my epidural however it was the right move and without it I know we’d have ended up having a c-section.  The epi allowed the contractions to spread out giving Jackson the break he needed to normalize his heart rate in between. By the time Dr. Morales showed up at 2am to assess the situation his heart rate was strong and steady in the 140’s.  I was now 4.5-5cm dilated and 90% effaced still. She checked my bag of fluids however it wasn’t there.  I had indeed already broken my water on my own.  She checked the blood as well and determined it was slowing and that the blood was likely a mix of scar tissue being irritated and lots of bloody show from when my water popped.  She couldn’t see the placenta which meant that I was in the clear…for now.  She gave us an hour timeline and she’d be back to check on us. 

At 3am she returned and I was now 6-7cm dilated.  Despite being a first time mommy and having an epidural I was progressing fast on my own! I was so proud of my body.  We were given another hour deadline and told to rest. I’d need it for pushing.  However I couldn’t sleep. I kept watching Jackson’s heart rate on the monitor willing it to stay strong and steady and not to spike.

At 4am I was 8cm dilated, completely effaced and given another hour.  By 5am I was still 8cm dilated but baby was moving down.  Dr. Morales ordered a whiff of Pitocin to continue to move things along. Another hour timeline was set and we were again instructed to sleep. We’d be pushing in no time. The room was completely prepped for Jackson’s arrival and despite everything, it still felt like a dream.  I could feel intense pressure with each contraction but was still laughing and smiling through it all. I couldn’t help it! I was about to meet the most important person in my life. 

At 6am I was complete. 10cm dilated, 100 effaced and baby was at a +1 station.  Dr. Morales wanted us to begin pushing but our nurse decided to labor me down.  I was put in a more upright position to allow Jackson to come down further on his own, shortening the pushing time.  In the meantime I was getting incredibly nauseous from the Pitocin.  I was given Zofran to help.  The last thing I needed was nausea and puking while I was supposed to be focused on pushing.  At 7am the meds kicked in, Dr. Morales arrived and our nurses switched shifts. I was nervous. Here we’d labored for 7 hours with Sherriann just to have a new nurse right before it was time to push.  However, our new nurse ended up being Joy, the nurse who was responsible for getting us this far along, the nurse we’d had from the very beginning, 14 hours before.  She came into the room all smiles “guess who gets to deliver the baby?!” Bry and I both lit up with excitement.  Everything was prepped, Dr. Morales put on a face guard, I was moved down into stirrups and instructed on where to hold my legs as Joy held my left leg and Bry held my right.  I reiterated our desires to wait for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it and for Bry to cut it, the only thing on our birth plan that ended up going as planned.

At 7:30am, it was time to push. The first contraction came and in a series of three consecutive 10 second pushes baby moved significantly.  The second contraction came and he began to crown.  I was told to STOP! I could feel the intensity of pressure where Jackson was and was so thankful there wasn’t pain associated with it. I could truly just enjoy the experience.  With each push I focused not on the pressure, not on what was going on but just on giving it everything I had and focusing it on a distinct spot in my back.  Whatever I did, it worked.  First time mommy, epidural and in the third contraction as I pushed, I brought our son into the world.  Just 6 minutes of pushing and baby boy was here. I guess he’d listened when I joked all pregnancy that it was like a slip n’ slide and when it was time he should slide right out 🙂

I started to cry and shake as he was thrown on my stomach.  I couldn’t believe he was here. I was real. He was so big! Where’d he come from?! This was the little boy I’d walked, ran and swam with for 9 months.  The little boy with the point feet he loved to kick out on my right side, who got hiccups all the time and loved to have his back patted even through the belly, who I loved from the first moment I saw those two blue lines on the pregnancy test.  This was what I’d waited my whole life for, the little boy I’d loved my entire life who in an instant became my whole world.  I was oblivious to the shuffle of Bry cutting the cord, and everything else that happened with the after birth.  I was focused on the only thing that mattered, our son, Jackson Wyatt. After 20 minutes, which felt like an instant, he was taken away to be weighed, measured and wiped down.  I told Bry to go with him and watched my husband tear up as he felt that same instant love I did.  We’d created this perfect little being. What a miracle.

It wasn’t at all the labor I envisioned or planned for but it was the perfect labor for us and the results were more than we could have ever hoped for. 

A perfectly healthy baby boy with bright blue eyes, 7lbs 6.2oz and 20.5 inches of pure perfection. 

We made a perfect team throughout the entire pregnancy (I forgive you for the 3 months of constant morning sickness little one) and that continued in labor.  Instead of a c-section I walked away with only 3 superficial tears (I’m looking at you Bry for giving our son a big ol’ head 😉 ) And here we are in our second day as a family of 3 and he continues to amaze us. 

He’s such a sweet, cooperative little boy.

He loves to nurse, loves to be rocked and has the most amazing big eyes that he’s begun to open and explore with more and more. 

I can’t remember life without him and at 7:36am on August 19, 2012 I realize my life was really just beginning.

Pregnancy: 39 weeks

Covered 21.7mi this week! All walks. Jax officially dropped and we’re at 2cm, 50% dilated. We had our very last OB appt today. I’ve had a ton of Braxton Hicks this week. Sadly no real ones. I also have a strange soreness since I woke up yesterday morning underneath my rib cage on the left side (which is very strange since baby boy is hovering on my right with his legs constantly sticking out of my right side). Baby boy’s still bakin’ away. We managed to celebrate both birthdays without him making an appearance which we’re very glad about but are more than ready for the real thing so we can finally meet this little stinker. Eating has been terrible lately. Bags upon bags of trail mix, granola bars by the box, lots of meals out celebrating our birthdays and very little veggies. No wonder this kid refuses to come out! Still feeling good. Just READY.

Total weight gain/loss: 16.4lbs (+.4lbs this week)
Stretch marks? 2 tiny ones on my hip
Sleep: Still sleeping like a champ. Averaging 8-9 hours a night.
Movement: Lots of karate kicks out on my right side. You can feel his entire leg! It’s quite painful.
Food cravings: Chocolate, fruit, cold fruity beverages (think fruity iced tea).
Belly Button in or out? Flat-outish
Wedding rings on or off? On

So Long Twenty-Three

Yesterday I turned 24 years old. 23 was definitely an amazing year for me. Full of so many amazing changes I could have never anticipated. A year of self-discovery, of growth, of love.

I brought in my 23rd year in Pensacola, FL

Drinks. Dancing. Unforgettable Friends.

I spent the first few months soaking up the sunshine state in my first apartment by myself (with Lily of course!)

And many hours traveling back and forth between Texas and Florida to visit the Mr.

In October we moved in together and began exploring Texas, from the lakes

To the mountains

Putting miles on our car

And miles on our hiking shoes

Dancing around in our living room

Playing around at the dog park

Cheering on Bry as he completed the Tough Mudder

Earning battle scars while trail running

From getting married

Exploring the Carribbean on our honeymoon

To starting our family

Growing older, and growing wider

Moving across the country…again

To enjoying every moment being awkward with my other half

 

My 23rd year was a whirlwind of big changes and amazing things. When I rang it in on August 14, 2011 I had no idea what was in store for me. As it turns out, it was the greatest year of my life and as sad as I am to say goodbye to such an amazing year, I’m even more excited and anxious for what 24 has in store (BABY!)

Choosing a Pediatrician

There are many thoughts and considerations that go into every step of pregnancy and parenting. One of those steps is deciding on a pediatrician.  For me and Bry the most important factor was that they were highly recommended, had good reviews and were friendly and responsive. We absolutely adore our OB/GYN. He’s funny, intelligent, experienced and has incredible bedside manner. He also happened to come with walls full of awards both from professional accomplishments to patient’s choice awards. We hoped to find a pediatrician who could compete.

Our second most important thing was location. As a one car family it was important to us that in the event Bryan had work (thus had the car) and Jackson got really sick, I could get him to the doctor without a problem. Luckily, we live within walking distance of 2 major medical centers and the hospital we plan to deliver at. I began our search by looking for doctors within our insurance’s network that were within a 2 mile radius of our house.

There were 2 major practices.

I called both and spoke to the receptionists. One had open meet-and-greets for new patients to meet the pediatricians within the practice. Unfortunately, their next one wasn’t until after Jackson’s due date. The other one was able to schedule us an appointment immediately with one of the 3 doctors in the practice.

While we waited for the appointment date to arrive I did more research. I searched reviews from current and previous patients. They were raving! I thought back to my own experiences with the practice (I actually saw one of the other 3 doctors for 10 years while growing up). I spoke to various receptionists to ensure they were knowledgeable and easy to interact with. The practice was great on every level so we waited to meet the doctor we thought would be best for us and for our little man.

Our first impression of the practice was a good one. The office was clean and open, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful and the best part, it only took a 5 minute walk to get there. We met our doctor a few minutes late but it wasn’t a huge deal.  He was apologetic and before our appointment time, took the effort to come out and greet us and explain that there would be a short wait and why. When we finally went back to meet with him, he was all smiles and extremely tuned into us. He made it clear he was there to serve us, whether it be answering any questions we might have, explaining the office practices to us or even finding out information he wasn’t certain about so that we would have the correct answer [regarding insurance]. We left very impressed with the practice as a whole and feel incredibly confident and comfortable with our decision.

The highlights:

-Our pediatrician was open, honest and knowledgeable. Like our OB who we are incredibly fond of, he treated us as partners rather than clients. He has over 30 years of experience and truly loves his job. His passion comes through in his practice which is something we really found impressive.

-Our pediatrician’s office is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If Jackson were to get sick on a weekend or holiday, we wouldn’t be forced to take him to the emergency room but rather would be able to take him to his regular practice.

-The staff is understanding, courteous and friendly.

-They take our insurance.

-It’s only 5 minutes (walking) from our house.

-Our doctor is not only available for any questions we may have but encourages us to inquire about whatever we feel is important (this is HUGE as first time parents).

-Pediatrics isn’t just a job for him but a passion, which is apparent when speaking with him.

Now, we just have to wait for the little one to arrive and see how our pediatrician works his magic 🙂

Source

Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffies

Bite-size deliciousness! Not only are they packed with flavor and healthy to boot, they’re the perfect size for a sweet pick-me-up, after meal sweet ending or just a snack when you’re looking for something delicious and wholesome. The greatest part? Even if you can’t stop at one you could eat the entire batch of 4 and still have barely made a dent in your caloric intake for the day while getting in 2 servings of fruits, healthy fats, omega 3’s and a delicious superfood 🙂

Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffies

 

Ingredients

-1/4c of old fashioned oats or 1 packet of instant oatmeal
-2 egg whites
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
-1/4 oz chopped walnuts
-1 medium ripe banana
-1/4 serving protein powder
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F
  2. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl
  3. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick spray
  4. Fill 4 cupcake openings with mixture
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top (using a toothpick you should be able to insert in center of muffie and remove cleanly when done)
  6. Let cook 10-15 minutes
  7. Enjoy!