30 June 2019

First Week

Vanessa, my sweet girl,

It felt like it took so long to finally have you in my tummy and now that you're here in my arms it doesn't feel like such a big wait. You make my heart so full of happiness, just like your sister does. I don't even mind the middle of the night wake up calls from you because I am happy to see your sweet face when I open my eyes. You seem to be patient, content, curios and alert. You do not like sponge baths or diaper changes most of the time. You're strong and ahead of yourself when you try (and succeed) to roll over onto your side. I love being your mom so much and nurturing and caring for you and keeping you safe. I know we're all still adjusting and figuring this out and we have learning left to do but I am glad we're doing it together! So glad you're mine. -Love, Mommy

Wow, my little baby is a week old! Life has been pretty good. A lil' rough at times but even when it's rough it's not so bad. Straight from the hospital we went to Matt's moms house, who lives two blocks from us. It was amazing  having an extra set of hands for the girls, help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, and the much larger space for all of us to be comfortable. Last night was our first night back at our house and while it's good to be back it is quite cramped but we'll make it work.

Vanessa is doing great! She had a doctor check up the day after we left the hospital since we left the day after she was born. They like to be extra vigilant to make sure babies aren't losing too much weight and such. She was down about 4 ounces and measure 21.5" long. She has a check up tomorrow and they want her to be back to her birth weight at the 2 week check up. I don't know how fast babies gain ounces back but my expectation is she will meet that goal and then some soon. She's eating every hour to three hours and usually about two ounces at a time, though I think we will increase the volume soon. Her digestive system seems to be getting more regulated and she isn't pooping every five minutes like she was the first couple of days. Seriously we would change her diaper, then as soon as a new one was on she would poop again, then in the midst of changing that one she would poop. She sleeps for good chunks of time during the day but at night I am lucky if she goes 3 solid hours. I think that has only happened about twice. She will also stay awake for several hours at a time during the day, just looking around and chillin'.

Maybe it's just the endorphins and excitement of a new baby, but I am feeling pretty great myself. Emotionally I have been on cloud nine most the time. I have had a few crying spells of just being overwhelmed by happiness, fear and utter awe of my new life. Anxiety still makes it's appearance and I am so scared of something happening to Vanessa. She's so fragile and precious. Physically I am definitely healing. My back, hips and pelvis are very achy sometimes and it makes standing up or walking around a bit challenging. The soreness from my stitches/wounds significantly improved on day four and is almost non existent now. I have to be careful not to put too much pressure down when sitting/standing.

Matt and Natalie are doing well too. Natalie is such a good big sister. She really looks out for the baby and dotes on her. One day there was a blanket lying next to Vanessa while she was sleeping on the bed next to me and Natalie came in the room, saw it and was concerned and told me babies can't have blankets next to them when they sleep. (I told her before the baby was born how the crib has to be empty when she is sleeping/alone.) This morning Natalie said, "Will the T.V. hurt the baby's ears?" asking to watch T.V. while I held her sister. I thought that was so sweet. The other day she was holding V and doing "little piggies" with her. She made me laugh so hard by saying, "this little piggie went to the market, this little piggie stayed home, this little piggie had beef jerkey..." I thought it was so cute and did not correct her telling her it's roast beef. She is such a funny girl. Yesterday we saw some free things a neighbor was giving away and she said, "It looks like there's a sweet lemonade maker." I asked what she meant by sweet, wondering if she was using slang. She replied, "Cause lemonade is sweet and like sick." I cannot believe how she is talking like a pre-teen already. I know tomorrow will be a struggle because I am sending her to camp and for some reason she hates going. I ask in depth why and all I get is a, "it's boring". I think there is some social anxiety that comes into play and she is nervous at how busy it is and all the kids running around screaming and the counselors yelling directions and feeling a bit lost but she doesn't admit that. Matt and I have done a really good job making sure her little sister doesn't overshadow her and giving her lots of attention. We play games with her all day and on Friday we had a family outing to the mall and to Matt's office to pick up his paycheck, just the three of us.

Tonight we had our first family of four outing. We went to Home Depot and out to dinner. Vanessa just slept the whole time, then woke up as soon as I finished my meal for a diaper change and bottle. It worked out perfectly.

26 June 2019

I Bleeping Did It!

Classy title for a birth story post, right? Well, I did it, I gave birth and survived!

Here's how it all went down: Saturday, June 22nd Matt and I took Natalie to his mom's house to spend the night since I was scheduled to be induced at the hospital at midnight. She was nervous and sad for us to leave and I was too. At one point she said, "I can't do this, it's too overwhelming." and I totally understood. She calmed down and we left.

I don't like to be late for things so I wanted to arrive at the hospital early to process our pre filled paperwork and be sure once 12 am rolled around we were ready to get started. We got there at 11:30 p.m. but I was told they couldn't even enter me in the system until midnight or we would pay out of pocket for an entire day. We waited in the amazingly lavish lobby. Seriously, it had a grand piano and waterfalls and sculptures that looked like something from an art museum.

We went back up at 12:00 a.m. on the dot and were told my room wasn't ready just yet. We sat in the waiting area upstairs that was full of people when we arrived and there was no one but a very tired looking elderly couple sitting out there. They were nice and started chatting with us and revealed their daughter was also being induced but had been in labor since 3 p.m. the previous day. They said once she started dilating it took an hour per centimeter, but she was at 9 cm and going to start pushing soon, which they were told would take another 2 hours for pushing alone. I felt bad for her and wished them luck as the receptionist came and got us.

They got me set up in my room, room 7. The room was bigger than the entire first floor of my house, I was so dumbfounded at how nice this hospital was. It had a pull out day bed for Matt to sleep on too. They hooked me up to monitors to measure contractions and the baby's heart rate. I was feeling some cramps and the nurse said my contractions were coming every 5 minutes but I certainly did not feel them that often and the ones I did feel were pretty mild. I was surprised at how close they were.

The doctor came in, though I'm not sure what time it was. She chatted with me briefly and told me they would give me a cervix ripening agent every 4 hours and in the morning I would be given an IV of medication to start contractions. She also checked to see if I had dilated at all, and I had not. She said I was about 40-50% effaced and it was possible there was scar tissue form a surgery I had several years ago and that could be why I hadn't dilated.

I was asked questions and given an IV of fluid. Once all was said and done I was given a vaginal pill insert at about 1:40/1:45. I only remember because I asked how long it usually takes to begin working and the doctor told me about 20 minutes. I looked at the clock and did the math and expected something to happen around 2:05 a.m. I was told I could expect some cramps but sometimes the first dose doesn't work for everyone.

My contractions did begin to get stronger but I don't remember how soon after. The nurse asked me if I wanted a Benedryl to sleep. I initially said no, figuring it wouldn't help because the contractions would get too strong to sleep through but then I reminded myself that these medications take time, hence why they start them the night before, so I agreed to take one. My mind was racing and I hoped it would allow me to relax.

I was left alone to try and sleep. Matt was already doing his best to get some rest but I could not. Between the anxiety of it all and the need to get up and pee and unhook my monitors I just couldn't. The nurse had to keep coming to check on me because the baby wasn't picking up on the monitor well at times due to changing positions (from her and I I'm sure).

After one trip to the bathroom the nurse came in to ask if I was okay. I told her I was and apologized that the monitors kept coming off me. I lied back down and she adjusted the monitors around my belly. Then I felt my water break. I calmly told her, "I think my water just broke." Even though I was really exited and hopeful I still felt slightly skeptical about it. Despite just using the bathroom did I accidentally pee myself? I remembered how long it took me with Natalie to finally stop being in denial about my water breaking and I knew now it really did happen. The nurse said, "You think so?" and I justified it to her with, "Yeah, I mean, I just used the bathroom and I don't think I peed myself." She told me the doctor used a lot of gel when inserting my pill so it could be that. I felt even more seep out and I told her I was pretty sure. She checked me by asking me to cough and confirmed it had broken. I was so happy. I knew this meant I most likely wouldn't have to be give more drugs to artificially start labor, even though that was the plan.

I had been told once your water breaks is when things really start to progress and the doctor already told me I could get the epidural whenever I want since I have a history of quick labor. I felt so relieved by that but the idea that things would take a long long time still lingered in my head. I didn't want to get it too soon and it wear off by push time. I talked to the nurse and she said maybe wait an hour. I agreed with her.

The nurses switched shifts and 30 minutes later things started to pick up in intensity so I asked for the epidural. At some point my new nurse checked me and told me I was dilated to 2 cm. I said, "That's it?" and she said, "Yeah but it will progress quickly," I laughed a little and said, "You're right. I really shouldn't complain, this is already happening a lot faster than I expected." I was told I had to have a full bag of IV fluid in me before I could get it and that concerned me. What if now I wasn't able to get it because things moved too fast? I was all over the place.

They increased the speed of the IV pumping into me and called the anesthesiologist. I don't even know what time it was. I think around 4 a.m. I got the epidural. My legs pretty quickly started to feel numb. Maybe 5-10 minutes later. My right leg was more numb than the left and they told me to lie on my back and let gravity help distribute it. They kept asking me how my contractions felt and I told them they were still pretty painful.

Again the baby kept moving from the monitors and they kept having to adjust things. When everything finally settled down around what I think was close to 5 a.m. I felt so sleepy. I lied on my left side and was in between being awake and asleep. Then the pain got so unbearable. I would cry out in pain and remind myself to breathe. I had to tell myself out loud, "You can do this. You can do this." Matt woke up and I told him I wanted help. He asked if he should call the nurse. I said I didn't know, and then no because she couldn't do anything to keep me from being in pain. Maybe 15 minutes later I changed my mind and told him to call her. I wasn't sure what I wanted her to do but when she came in I asked if my epidural had come out. She checked and said no then told me she would check me. I hoped so badly that I was pretty far along dilated.

She checked and said, "Her head is right here." What? All that pain was for a purpose! She called the doctor. I told Matt, "I don't want you in the room when I push. You can come right after but I have to focus." Not that I thought he would distract me from doing my job per se, but I just wanted privacy and to be alone with the medical staff for it. He didn't question me and asked the nurses where to wait before he gave me a kiss and told me he loves me then headed out to the waiting area.

The nurse told me not to push until the doctor came. I wasn't having any urge or desire too so that was easy for me. The doctor came in quickly and got prepared. They told me on the next contraction to push. I was still waiting for it to come along so to get my mind off things I made small talk. "Today's actually my husband's birthday," and they smiled and said "Really?" and I said, "Yeah, it's his 40th too, so a big one." then along came a contraction almost before I could finish my sentence and I told them.

They said to push. I still had no urge and said, "Okay, like this?" as I sat up and they said yes. I held it for maybe 30 seconds. I remember asking if the baby was okay and they told me yes and showed me the top of her head. Then she was out. I said right after, "Holy shit that was easy!" in amazement at how fast and easy it was. They laughed and my main nurse replied, "Said no one ever!" They put her on my chest. She cried a lot. I remember blood getting smeared on my arm from her body and wondering when they would clean her up.

They took her after a minute or two and began to work on me. One nurse asked if I wanted her to take pictures of the baby on my phone. I said sure and she tried but it's such a crappy phone and didn't work out. I told her no to worry about it . I was told I had a 2nd degree tear. I'm not sure how bad that is or not and that's one thing I don't want to Google. Finally I called Matt to come back in the room. He was surprised at how fast it went and I had to tell them it was faster than he thought, they were just busy doing other things after she was born.

The entire day felt surreal. I couldn't believe it. I was so proud even though I had absolutely no control over how things went and had no choice but to get this baby out of me at some point. It went so amazingly that I just couldn't wrap my head around it.

Vanessa Nicole was born on June 23rd, 2019 at 6:12 a.m. weighing 8 lbs 4 ozs and 21 inches long. She is absolutely perfect from head to toe and I couldn't be more in love.

20 June 2019

40 + Weeks

I knew I would see my due date come and go with no baby in my arms, even though I had moments of believing second babies come sooner, or just getting a feeling she might arrive before expected.

With Natalie I remember how long the very end of my pregnancy felt and it got a bit discouraging with each passing day. I have had my moments with Nugget where I felt desperate for her to come, but for the most part I have relaxed and am happy waiting, mostly because the finish line is in site. We have scheduled induction for Sunday. That's five days after my due date, which I think is a fair amount of time to wait. Sunday is also Matt's birthday, which he is excited about! I do kind of wish Nugget would have her own birthday, but even if I weren't induced there is a possibility of her being born on his birthday anyway. What makes it even more special to me is that I have had to change hospitals, so I will be delivering in D.C. which is where he was born too.

I had a doctor appointment yesterday and everything with baby is looking good. We did a non stress test which is where they put some monitors around my belly that track the baby's heart rate. I was given some animal crackers and cranberry juice then just lied in a chair for 20 or 30 minutes and pressed a button when I felt baby move. They said everything looked great! I was asked if I felt any of my contractions and that really surprised me. I have had cramps through every trimester. I have been having them a bit more lately perhaps. My doctor said I was having one at the moment she was talking to me but I didn't feel a thing. It's really confusing how the body works. She also tried to check my cervix to see if I've dilated but I have a tilted uterus and she was having a hard time feeling anything and didn't want to make me uncomfortable any more. I was a bit bummed to not find out if I have made any progress or not but it's going to happen soon enough so whatever. I have been having some pretty strong nausea since my due date that comes and goes but I don't know if that means labor is going to happen on it's own soon.

I can't believe how soon my life is going to change! Today is the last day of school and I am so proud of Natalie again. She kicks ass with her grades and behavior. She is reading at a level "O," which is above where she is expected to be and got all 4's on her progress report again. Her teacher said she's a joy to have and a good friend to her peers and always exited to learn! I am going to treat her to a Slurpee after school today to celebrate. :)

16 June 2019

Father's Day 2019

With as spoiled and pampered as I have been so lucky to be lately I really wanted today to be special for Matt. Unfortunately being huge and pregnant along with being poor makes spoiling him as much as he deserves impossible.

Still I drug myself out of bed this morning to make him breakfast. The plan was him to stay in bed but he ended up out of bed before me, something that never happens, because our smoke detector batteries were low and it kept beeping. He changed them with what we thought were good batteries but it still was beeping so he had to call his dad (who lives 2 blocks away and is our handyman) who showed up with more batteries which did the trick. 

After that little fiasco I gave him breakfast and Natalie gave him a card she made for him last night. I also purchased him a 3 month membership for a hot sauce of the month club, since hot sauce is his main food group. He mowed our lawn, and later the three of us went to lunch, followed by a quick trip to the playground. Once back home we lied in bed and I gave him a back rub before he went on a long walk, something he really enjoys, while Natalie and I played lots of board games together. We finished the evening off by going out to dinner. 

I can't believe I get to raise another little human with this wonderful man soon. I honestly don't know a lot of fathers (or husbands/partners) that are as loving and devoted to their families as he is. I certainly didn't come from a stable, happy household, not by a long shot. Giving my kids a two parent home means the world to me. It also makes me feel so bad for all the kids who are missing so much at home because their parents don't have their shit together. 

I know relationships don't always work out between moms and dads, and a lot of the time it's for the better that they separate. It's just a huge shame that not many people can co-parent successfully for the sake of their children. I see so much drama and deadbeat parenting happening around me and it really does make me mad. Hell, I see uninvolved parents who are raising their kids in the same home together. 

I'm not perfect and I've made tons of mistakes in my life, in my relationship and in my parenting. I am flawed and will continue to make mistakes. As long as Matt and I walk this earth though we will do our best to make our family work and give our children the love and stability they need. 

12 June 2019

Best Birthday

Today I celebrated my 29th birthday! I started the day with a doctor's appointment, fun! It was pretty boring check up, I was asked if I wanted to be checked to see if my cervix has opened, but I declined as I am confident it has not. After that Matt and I went to the rec center to finish registering Natalie for summer camp, and then we were off to paint our anniversary pottery. We did that, which was harder than I expected. I am no artist, and wasn't too pleased with the way my pottery turned out. Matt's looked really great though and I can't wait to see it when it's glazed and finished. Then we went out to lunch and had a really big meal. After lunch I met up with my sister at the nail salon and she treated me to a manicure and pedicure! I couldn't feel luckier, happier or more spoiled.  I'm so grateful for my loving husband and family.

10 June 2019

Pampered Mama

I woke up at 3 in the morning today thinking labor might be beginning. I had some stomach pains and needed to use the bathroom, which is how labor with Natalie began (in addition to my water breaking first). I thought for sure my system was cleaning itself out and contractions would follow suite. I was so excited by the idea of labor starting that I had to force myself back to sleep. 

Alas nothing happened but my system isn't exactly back to normal. I have read loose movements could be a sign labor will start soon, or it could be weeks away. I think it's because of the hormone that causes your joints to loosen and pelvis to open up to make way for baby. My hips and thighs have been aching along with my pubic bone. It makes it really hard to get out of bed and Saturday night I was in a lot of pain. I was worried if that pain lasted I wouldn't be able to walk the next day. That kind of onset the feeling of desperately wanting labor to move along and now I have been wanting it to start for the last few days. I wasn't in a hurry before at all. I was in no rush to experience the pain of child birth but now I just want to get it over with and the thought of it happening soon is driving me crazy. I know it will start soon, as in the by the end of next week so I need to just take my mind off it. I hate feeling like I'm just wishing time away. 

Today was such a good day despite not giving birth. Matt purchased a prenatal massage for me for our anniversary but nothing was available until today, which is perfect because my birthday is in two days so it was an early birthday gift. I wondered how awkward it would be to be naked under a sheet with a stranger rubbing on me at nine months pregnant, but it was fine. They even included a face mask and foot scrub. I felt so pampered and spoiled and taken care of and loved. Then I came home on a natural high and cozied up and took a nap before Natalie came home from school, took her to the playground, cooked dinner and then we spent some family time together working on an activity book before bed. There are so many good and happy moments to soak up in daily life! I am the luckiest woman, I swear. 

07 June 2019

38 Weeks

This week marks 38 weeks of pregnancy down! I had a doctor's visit Tuesday and we did a quick ultrasound to check to make sure my water wasn't leaking since my underwear randomly is damp at times. No leak and we confirmed we are having a girl!

My doctor also checked if I've dilated at all. Everything is still closed. That kind of surprises me, because I feel baby girl really low down and have been getting strong cramps and even feel a burning sensation in my lower right side at times. I thought for sure some movement had happened.

We talked about scheduling induction and I told her some dates after my due date that I would like to aim for. I just am waiting to hear back from the scheduling nurses at the hospital to see what's available. I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with getting induced, though I still don't want to. I told Matt it's like knowing you're about to be shot in the head (yes I can be dramatic) instead of it just sneaking up on you like natural labor would. I don't understand why the cut off for an epidural is about an hour. I swear when I had Natalie I got the epidural and then pushed 30 minutes later or so. Maybe it's all a blur and it was closer to an hour but it wasn't long. I didn't go completely numb, as in I could still feel the contractions and it started to burn, but I didn't feel her exiting my body and was so thankful for that.

In non bodily news, today I hosted the last craft party for Natalie's class! We made jellyfish sun catchers. Her teacher asked for a craft that would take up a good amount of time and this definitely did so. Mostly because there was a lot of supplies to sort out and well, they're first graders, so...

Afterwards I sat on the bench outside the school for about 15 minutes until lunch time then went back in and visited for lunch. A couple other parent's showed up and it was just a good, happy, fun atmosphere. I am off tomorrow and then another busy week ahead with a prenatal massage, my birthday and last day of work (it's a hard life, I know).

04 June 2019

7 1/2

Today Natalie turned 7 1/2 years old! I totally forgot it was her half birthday, because we don't celebrate half birthdays. If you're my father in law though the countdown to Natalie's next birthday is always on, as her brings her donuts and a card on the 4th of each month.

Today she got donuts, a card and $20. It makes me laugh at how spoiled she is by Matt's parents. It's not even about the material things they give to her, it's how much they love her and are always thinking of her and the time they put into spending with her. I think I am equally excited for them to be grandparents to another one of my children as I am about being a mom again!

Natalie was home sick yesterday and today. She tried to go to school this morning but her body took over and chose not to. I woke her up and got her dressed and asked if she wanted to come down for breakfast, she said yes but kept falling back to sleep and said her throat hurt. I just gave in to letting her sleep some more and went back into my bed. It wasn't long until she came into my room and said, "I want to snuggle with you and take a nap," and sure enough she was out light a light and slept until about 9:30.

Sick or not I try to make sure she isn't just sitting at home watching t.v. all day. We did some work sheets and played dolls today once she got some of her spunk back and she did a pretty good job entertaining herself afterwards. This evening when she was playing in her room she made me the sweetest card. It said, "Thank you Mommy," on the front with a heart on it and today's date. It said on the inside (with my spelling corrections) "Roses are red, violets are blue, it's just a little way of saying thank you...for being my mom! I will always love you you are the best. I love you so much you are great. To Mommy from Natalie love you so much Mom. I will always love you!" as she proceeded to tell me how much she loves me no matter what, even if we get mad at each other (insert heartbreak) and she will always hold my hand. I love this girl more than any words could ever come close to explaining.

As you can tell, she is a very sweet and lovey girl. She is also creative and loves making up her own board games, story books, songs and games in general. She loves American Ninja Warrior and constantly runs through the house and backyard making up obstacle courses. She's very athletic. She can be a bit hardheaded and easily distracted. I have to repeat myself to her at least 10 times before she will actually listen and do the task at hand. She still isn't terribly social and doesn't usually initiate play dates or branch out to new friends but that isn't a bad thing in my opinion. She is definitely a bit of a girly girl and starting to care a lot about fashion and her appearance. She can be a bit picky about clothes and shoes and such.

I don't have a recent picture of her on my computer that I haven't shared already, so here's a couple from when she was 6 months old!

02 June 2019


Hello, June! I cannot believe a new month is here. I say that every month, but that's because time is going by so so fast. This month is going to fly by. There is always so much going on and there are less than 3 weeks until my due date.

This weekend Matt and Natalie went up to a family wedding in NJ. I decided months ago against going since I knew I would be big and pregnant and uncomfortable and there would be a small chance I could go into labor. The thought of them being gone, along with his mom and dad, frightened me a bit but I successfully did not go into labor this weekend.

Instead I worked my last Saturday before baby comes (Saturdays are long shifts, I will still work my regular schedule on Fridays until June 14th.) With Natalie I worked until I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and gave birth to her on a Sunday morning after working a long Saturday shift the day before. I'm 7 1/2 years older now, much less in shape and we've changed salon locations so there is a lot of going up and down the stairs at work so I chose to cut my time a bit short as far as work goes.

It was a pretty relaxed weekend for me. My sister came over to change the clean the cat's litter box, so I had some company. We ordered food, baked brownies and she helped me a bit with some prep work for the last class craft party I am putting together for Natalie's class this month. We're going to make jellyfish sun catchers and that required me cutting out 20 outlines for the body and about 240 pieces of ribbon, whew.

I definitely missed my husband and daughter but I was happy to know they were having a good time celebrating with family. It was about a 4 hour drive up for them and Natalie did a good job keeping herself entertained and not complaining. They drove up with my mother in law and Matt said her and Natalie sang songs part of the way, which is really sweet. Natalie played some gold once at the hotel since they had a putting green. She danced and enjoyed herself at the wedding, but unfortunately has come back sick.

She had a cough that began a day or two before the trip, so I kind of saw this coming. I made sure to pack medicine up with her just in case. She is in good spirits, but feeling a bit lousy. She fell asleep in the car earlier when we were going to grocery shop. She complained of not feeling well on the way to the store so we headed home and she was out pretty quickly. It was a very short nap, maybe 15 minutes and she still seemed tired afterwards. I thought she would be so tired come bedtime but here we are at almost 10:30 and she is having chicken noodle soup. I gave her a bath and said I would read to her until she fell asleep in my bed. I read a few books, then gave her some nighttime cold medicine and rubbed her back before she asked me, "Mommy, are you sure there's nothing else that could help me feel better?" She suggested another bath but I told her that would have to wait til the morning, so she asked for hot soup and cold milk to soothe her throat. I am just surprised at her ability to stay awake after such a long weekend in addition to being under the weather, wow.

Anyway, she will most likely stay home with me tomorrow, which of course I don't mind. I know she will be disappointed to miss school, as her teacher is doing an alphabet countdown each day til the last day of school. They do something fun each day, like B for bubbles and go outside to blow bubbles. Tomorrow is M day and they're going to watch a movie and listen to music. Obviously she can do that at home with me but it's not quite the same thing.