Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Transition

It’s been a short 19 days since we went from a tiny family of three to a party of four.

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Photo Credit: Janet Miller Photography

Aleesia is adorable.  Gianna is adorable with her sister.

The dynamic of our lives and our family has drastically changed.  Obviously we expected this, but lets not be delusional here, change can be hard. 

newborn 2

Photo Credit: Janet Miller Photography

I had zero expectations of what life would be like when Aleesia arrived.  I expected it to be tough, different, maybe a little scary & maybe a little fun too.  I had total newborn stage amnesia (pretty much my only memory of newborn G involves crying & projectile puke) & knew that things would be different with breastfeeding, etc.  As far as how Gianna would react, I just had no clue what would happen.  The threenager is unpredictable.

I don’t think anyone can really prepare you for life with kids, or adding kids to your life.  It’s such trial & error and every kid & situation is unique.  So what worked for one will probably not work for the next one.   Also. Whatever your schedule/routine was – it won’t be anymore.

The truth? It has been much more challenging than I expected.  When I get the baby fed/calm/sleeping I try to spend some time with Gianna doing something she wants.  That doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else – you know, like dishes, laundry, blogging, etc.  Especially when Miss Aleesia wakes up immediately upon laying her down for a nap.  And, much like her sister, she is hard to console when she’s upset.  We are managing, our house is clean-ish some of the time, the bills do get paid on time, laundry is always in progress & we are slowly figuring out a new normal.  I am a creature of schedule & routine so it has been hard for me to adjust to our new life.

Me being home from work is an adjustment in itself for all of us.  Being the main/only source of food for this little person is new & obviously presents its own challenges (although, thankfully it is going well).  It takes me longer to get things done because I am constantly interrupted, again something I need to start adjusting for.  But I do okay some days & we have avoided any huge schedule disruptions for G.  I’m not always sure how we all get out of the house & G gets to school – but it happens.  This week has been a lot better & more productive, thankfully.

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Then there is the tired.  You forget how exhausting newborns can be.  We have Aleesia sleeping in our room in the rock & play (which is the most amazing thing ever).  It’s quite handy but I’m ready to move her to her crib soon.  So far, she’s not been a fan the few times we tried it, but we’ll keep trying.  I forget to eat a lot, too.  Aleesia is gassy, appears to have a touch of silent reflux, and has her “witching hours” between 4 & 8pm usually.  Again, all things Ii just didn’t even think about dealing with!

Gianna sharing her parents, especially her mommy, has been the hardest thing to deal with.  She is almost four, she has had us all to herself for a long time.  So waiting for us to finish with Aleesia before helping her (she always asks for things in the middle of a feeding or crying spell) is rough.  Much defiance & talking back has ensued along with a lot of parental frustration.  It’s getting better, but I really didn’t expect her to act out so much or have such an attitude.  We are having a tough time parenting her at times, it’s for sure not always pretty but again, we are working through it.  She does love her sister and to help pick out her clothes & hold her.  She will sing to her, which is beyond adorable, and gives the best hugs & kisses.  I am thankful there isn’t anger towards Aleesia, though. 

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Overall, the transition has been quite challenging, but okay.  It is getting better/easier & I’m sure just as soon as I think I have it figured something will change! We’re figuring it out one day at a time.  And trying to savor the quiet moments as well.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Elphanent balentimes ready for her school friends.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome Home, Baby Sister

birth story parts 1 and 2

It was part of our birth plan to have Gianna be the first person to meet Aleesia – it was really important to us that she get that honor.

But you know what they say about plans…..

Have you heard how crazy the flu is right now? One of the things I was worried about was a visitor ban at the hospital that would keep Gianna from visiting.  And the hospital we delivered at had a very strictly enforced policy – no kids under 14. Period.

So, Mike & I had to come up with a new plan between contractions!  I was pretty upset at first, but it was out of my control.  We decided that she couldn’t find out that mommy was in the “hosbibal” or that sister was here yet.  Remember, she was already at Gram’s house.  We relied on my sisters to entertain her over the next few days & they did awesome. G had no clue what was going on, but she was sure mommy & daddy were picking her up after work! 

We came home at 11pm on Saturday night & my parents were bringing G home in the morning Sunday – Mike & I missed her so much, we could hardly stand it.  We were so anxious for her to be home!  My mom told G mommy & daddy might have a special surprise, to which she said something about how she already has a lot of toys!


So, I took Aleesia to her room to get changed & Mike set G’s big sister gift, with some special balloons, in the living room.  She saw Mike first & I heard her ask where I was. So, I walked into the living room with baby sister.

She looked at me, then the baby, then my stomach with serious concentration.  She said, is that baby sister??

So we checked her out – she was fascinated!

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She checked out her big sister gift – to which she said thank you to baby sister.

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I can’t believe the immediate love I saw between Gianna & Aleesia – it was pretty magical.

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Gianna sang to her,  loved on her, held her, gave her some pets and then “called” her friends to tell them all about baby sister.  She was so proud.

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She loves her baby sister & is so sweet to her.  Gianna is a great helper, she looks after her sister, she talks about all the things she wants to teach her.

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We have our moments as far as how Gianna reacts to mommy & daddy – she is a threenager after all.  So, we are all adjusting to our new roles and can’t wait to see their relationship grow.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby Sister

The beginning of the story is here.

After a lot of hard work and discussion with Mike – we decided to have Molly break my water.  I knew things were about to get REAL as soon as she did that – but I was getting tired, and I was starving.  I knew that if I didn’t progress further, and soon-ish, my energy level was only going to go down.  It was 100% our decision, there was no pressure by anyone to do this, which was great.

She said “that is one tough bag of water” which – I believe it!  And she wasn’t kidding about things getting real.  In our Bradley classes we discussed NOT having your water broken for a lot of reasons, but one of them is because it acts as a natural cushion – helping the contractions not to be too off-the-charts painful. 

The contraction after she broke my water – I noticed a huge difference.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I also HAD TO STAND UP RIGHT NOW. (again, having to change positions is something we knew to expect in late first stage labor) My awesome nurse, Donna, warned me that when I stood up the contraction was going to hurt more and there would be a lot more pressure. Again, she knew what she was talking about – and I knew to expect that.  Molly stayed with me after this also, I think she may have left the room for a few minutes.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I stood through a few contractions,  Went to the bathroom (remember, I was drinking a lot of water! so being able to pee at my own will was awesome), came back, leaned against the bed and really worked through a few more contractions.  I also went and sat on the toilet for a few contractions – that legs wide open, gravity utilizing position helped relieve some pressure.

Something they teach you through Bradley is that when you get close to transition and toward second stage labor you literally can not help but to make “animal like” noises during contractions.  And, again, dead on.  Up until that point, I would breathe quietly through each contraction – and go about my conversations after they were over!  Well, I knew things were changing when I was standing up through a contraction and I heard myself making these grunting noises we heard about in class.  I say heard myself, because I had zero control of the sounds coming out of my mouth.

I kept telling myself, okay, you knew this would happen, don’t freak out.  I also didn’t fully realize I was making these noises out loud – it’s called being in labor land – sort of this crazy place between your mind and reality!

I did this a few times and then I HAD TO SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW.  Now, we knew all kinds of labor and birthing positions but I wanted to be sitting almost all the way upright with my legs sort of down (those hospital beds do all kinds of crazy stuff, so I was able to sort of sit on the “edge” of the bed with my legs dropped down – again, using gravity to my advantage).  Donna the nurse, again, was awesome – she validated everything I was feeling as normal.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Pretty much as soon as I got comfortable transition started.  My legs started shaking, my shoulders started shaking – I had my eyes closed but I thought everyone could see what was happening – but, no, they actually couldn’t.  At least not until my teeth started chattering uncontrollably and I told Mike (even though, again, I KNEW what was happening) “why is this happening to me” – he KNEW then what was going without question. 


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I kept thinking to myself, again, I thought I was saying it out loud, “this is so annoying”.  Mike, Donna and Molly again were awesome at assuring me things were going in the right direction and not to be afraid.  Mike kept saying, this is it and my mom stood by my side and held my hand.  I know I thought several times “why am I doing this. I don’t want to do this anymore” – again, exactly what they told us would happen in our Bradley class!


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Molly verified what we all knew, it was time to get this baby out! I was allowed to push when I wanted to.  Except, I sort of freaked out inside my head – and I would start to say with each contraction “I can’t” but everyone pretty much in unison would say “yes you can!”


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I started sweating like a mad women and I was using my mom and Mike’s hands as leverage to push – I probably nearly broke their fingers.  But my hands were so dang sweaty, I was getting frustrated because I kept losing my grip!  Because at first I couldn’t get  my mind straight around the whole “if you just push, it WILL FEEL BETTER” idea at first – my first few contractions weren’t all that productive.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I could feel her head starting to engage, and the awesome thing about being in control of your own body, is knowing when you need to take a break.  I didn’t push through one whole contraction because I just knew I needed to let things stretch out, if you will. After that, I was ready – my mind and body were finally working together.

I kept my eyes closed through pretty much all of second stage – I just listened to Mike, Mom, Donna and Molly. I heard Molly tell me she had hair!


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Or, I sort of listened to them – they kept telling me to pull my legs back because if I did this baby would fly right out.  But I really couldn’t do it – I don’t know why – but I could not let them move my legs and I could not move them myself.  (but notice how mike is pushing me up? that was perfect and he knew to do it without me saying anything)

I felt her start to crown and I was pushing so hard but then I had to breathe and I couldn’t keep pushing and take a deep enough breath – I felt her slide back in as I took a breath and said “no, don’t go back in!”.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

that was all the motivation I needed – the next contraction I used all of the energy I had – I pushed through the ring of fire (yes, it does burn, but only for a second) and felt her head come out and then her shoulders and body just slide right out.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

That is when I opened my eyes.  At 8:28pm* on February 1, 2013 my second daughter was born.373(2)

Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I have never ever in a million years felt anything like this – this intense emotion of HOLY SHIT I JUST DID THAT and HOLY SHIT, THAT’S MY BABY!


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

When they handed her to me – I said “oh, hello!”


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

And I said a bunch of other nonsense that, again, during our classes I swore I wouldn’t say. It just kind of comes out and you can’t control it!  Lots of “I love you’s” and “I waited so long for you” comments.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of her – I did look at Mike and Mom, but I just focused all of my attention on her.  She was so alert – I can’t even explain how alert she was – her eyes stayed open almost the whole time.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

We did skin to skin for a long while – during that time Mike cut the cord, she got her eyes taken care of and her vitamin K shot – all while snug in my arms. 


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Third stage labor happened (seriously, when they say delivering the placenta feels like a warm massage, that is no joke.  it felt so good… very strange, but good!).


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

Donna took her to get all the appropriate measurements and weights.  I got one stitch.  Daddy & Grandma got to hold her. 



Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

And then I got my baby back to feed her.


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

This is a new experience for me – and so far, so good.

Eventually we were ready to move to our recovery room – I was up, out of bed, within two hours of having her (I had to pee again!) and all things considered – feeling very awesome.  And ready to eat!

We did it.  Mike and I, together, created this gorgeous life and brought her in to the world the way my body was made to do it.  And it was, without a doubt, the most empowering experience of my life. 


Photo Credit: Bella Rose Photography

I owe a ton of credit to Gayle, our Bradley instructor for an awesome class – she prepared us so wonderfully for this.  And, get this, was responding to our texts that day from PARIS! How awesome is that?  Mike was the greatest coach you could ever want – he was so attentive and in tune to what was going on. He may now officially be a bigger natural birth advocate than me!  My mom was the perfect assistant coach – she snuck me snacks, told me what I needed to hear, and just having your mommy near by is sometimes all you need.

So welcome to the world, Aleesia Marie – I hardly remember life before you were in it.

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Photo Credit: me!

*ironically, Gianna was born at 8:29am!