Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Day in the Life of a New Mom

My life as a new mom is amazing, exhausting, hilarious, overwhelming, heartwarming, fun, and BUSY. To show you how different things are these days, I decided to write a “Day in the Life” post that covers a 24 hour time period. Here is how I spent my Friday/Saturday as the mom of a 2 week old baby. Enjoy! 🙂

7:15 a.m. The baby wakes us up and lets us know he is hungry. I feed him while Kevin makes oatmeal for breakfast and brings it to me in bed.

7:45 a.m. Baby finishes eating, so daddy takes him to burp him, change his diaper, and get him dressed for the day. I finish eating while he is doing this.

8:00 a.m. Daddy leaves for work, and I shower and get ready for the day with the baby in the bouncer.

       

8:30 a.m. The baby starts crying because he’s sick of the bouncer while I’m in the middle of getting dressed. My milk leaks everywhere and all over him (LOL) when I pick him up.

8:35 a.m. He’s calm and sleeping now. He just wanted to be held for a couple minutes!

8:40 a.m. Aaaand now he’s fussy again! I finish getting ready with one hand while holding him with the other.

9:00 a.m. I finally finish getting ready and go downstairs. The baby naps in the Boppy newborn lounger while I watch the Today Show, talk with my aunt who is visiting, and prep new cloth diapers that I want to wash for the first time. We are going to attempt to transition to cloth in a month or so!

       

9:35 a.m. Time to eat again. Diaper change in between boobs.

10:10 a.m. Baby finishes eating and is now asleep again. We go downstairs and my aunt holds him while I make and eat an egg sandwich for lunch #1… with a placenta pill on the side :). Then I prep the diaper bag to make sure we have everything we need while being out for a few hours.

10:45 a.m. We leave the house and head to the train station to drop off my aunt.

11:15 a.m. We drop off my aunt and say goodbye 😦 then it’s time to head to my chiropractor appointment.

11:30 a.m. At the chiropractor I get an amazing adjustment. My back and neck have been hurting from nighttime nursing sessions in bed where I know my posture has been horrible.

11:50 a.m. Baby K starts crying at the end of my appointment and I know he is hungry, so I feed him in the car.

12:15 p.m. After he finishes eating I change his diaper in the back seat of the car. I also need to change his clothes because he somehow peed through them! (This actually happens a lot- I don’t know how he does it!)

      

12:30 p.m. Now that Kevin is fed and happy, I go across the parking lot to CVS to look for medicine to help him with his tummy troubles.

12:45 p.m. I leave CVS and start driving home, eating a snack on the way home because I am HUNGRY!

1:05 p.m. I realize that I forgot to get laundry detergent at CVS (thanks baby brain and sleep deprivation!) so I stop at Target to get it since the baby is sleeping and doing okay. Of course I end up leaving with more than just detergent. Why does that always happen at Target?!

1:40 p.m. I leave Target and head home. When I get home I change clothes to go on a walk and try to put the baby in the Baby Bjorn for the first time so I can get some things done, but he hates it and screams the whole time.

2:00 p.m. Baby is hungry so I feed him again and then change his diaper.

2:40 p.m. I put him in the Moby Wrap, which he likes much better!

2:45 p.m. I make a fruit, almond milk, and protein powder smoothie and drink it while relaxing on the couch with the baby.

3:15 p.m. We go downstairs to put the cloth diapers in the wash.

3:25 p.m. We leave for a walk around the neighborhood and hope it doesn’t rain. The clouds don’t look too promising…

      

3:50 p.m. We run home in the pouring rain. Luckily I wasn’t far from our house! To my surprise baby slept through the entire downpour.

3:55 p.m. After drying off a bit, we go to the basement to put cloth diapers in the dryer.

4:00 p.m. I sit on the couch, cuddle with a sleeping baby, and respond to emails.

4:20 p.m. Time to change a really bad diaper. Yuck! No pictures of that 🙂 You’re welcome!

4:30 p.m. Feed baby again while watching Dancing With the Stars on the DVR. Answer the door when the UPS guy knocks and get excited when I realize it’s our new photo canvases that we ordered from http://www.personalizationmall.com!

5:15 p.m. Kevin comes home from work and gives baby his medicine for his tummy. They hang out together while I work on addressing envelopes to send out our birth announcements.

5:40 p.m. We eat dinner. I have leftover rice and bean salad over spinach with avocado on top.

6:00 p.m. I keep working on birth announcements and daddy changes baby’s diaper.

6:35 p.m. Baby eats his dinner!

7:30 p.m. We go to Sweet Frog for froyo with some friends. This is the first time I have had it since before I was pregnant! I avoided soft serve ice cream during my pregnancy because of risk of listeria. It tasted soooo good! Somehow I didn’t take any pictures so here’s a picture of the Sweet Frog logo that I stole from Google 🙂

9:00 p.m. We arrive back home and baby is hungry again. I feed him while continuing to work on our birth announcements.

10:00 p.m. Daddy brings baby upstairs for a bath (which he clearly does not enjoy), diaper change, and to get him into his PJs and swaddled. He always gets that arm out of his swaddle no matter what we do!

      

      

10:45 p.m. Feed baby again before bedtime.

11:15 p.m. – 2:30 a.m. We all SLEEP!

2:30 a.m. Baby wakes up! Diaper change by daddy, then he eats.

3:05 a.m. I re-swaddle the baby, turn on Sleep Sheep, and put him back to bed.

3:10 a.m. – 4:50 a.m. Some more sleep.

4:50 a.m. Baby wakes up screaming his head off, arching his back and pulling his legs up like he’s having tummy pain again. We give him his medicine again and he calms down then cuddles with daddy. I get ready for the day because we are all going to a 5K charity walk in D.C. to support my friend’s baby girl who is blind.

       

5:35 a.m. Baby eats breakfast and so do I. Kevin brings me an egg sandwich with avocado and he eats his oatmeal in bed next to me.

6:10 a.m. I change baby’s diaper and get him dressed for the day.

6:30 a.m. We pack up the diaper bag and the stroller in the car and drive to pick up our friends.

7:00 a.m. We arrive at my school to meet all of my coworkers who are also going to the walk.

7:15 a.m. We leave my school to head north for the Light the Way 5K. Baby’s first race! (Race recap to come tomorrow!)

So that was 24 hours in my new life as a mommy! Obviously each day is different and this was just a little snippet. Being a parent is a ton of work but it’s the best ‘work’ I have ever done. Baby Kevin brings us so much joy- no matter how many dirty diapers we change and how little sleep we are getting 🙂

24 Hour Totals

  • # of feedings: 10
  • # of diaper changes: 9
  • # of outfit changes: 4
  • # of hours of sleep for mom: ~5 hours
  • # of hours of sleep for baby: ~13 hours
  • # of hours spent nursing: 6 hours and 15 minutes (wow!)

I will have to do another one of these in a few months to see how it has changed!

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What I Loved: Third Trimester

On the night I was originally planning to write my “What I’m Loving: Third Trimester” post, I was at the hospital in labor. I didn’t want to just forget about it, because there were a lot of things that I loved during the last part of my pregnancy. So I decided to write it after the fact!

In case you missed them, here are my previous posts on this topic:

Here are some of the things that helped me get through my third trimester when I was large and in charge!

Before going to the hospital @ 38 weeks!

  • Summer Break: I cannot explain how nice it was to be off from work for most of my third trimester. It was amazing to have those weeks to relax and rest (as much as I could while also moving and finishing my Masters degree), and just escape from the stress of being a teacher. It was also a bittersweet summer because I knew that it would be the last one that I would have to myself.

Spending a beautiful summer day geocaching!

  • The Chiropractor: I started seeing a chiropractor during the third trimester after both my midwife and doula recommended it to ease some discomfort I was having and make sure my body was in good alignment for birth. I wasn’t sure about it at first but I am now a believer. I have felt so much better since I started going once a week- I feel lighter, looser, and like I’m holding a lot less tension in my body. It made the third trimester so much more comfortable!

  • Running Without My Maternity Support Belt: One of the reasons I love the chiropractor is because he helped me realize that my Gabriella Maternity Support Belt may actually be hurting me rather than helping me. I was having a lot of numbness and weakness on my right side when I ran, which is the side baby was always on. Apparently my maternity belt was compressing that area even more and contributing to the problem- which was very surprising! I tried running without it one day and I instantly felt better and running felt comfortable again. I really attribute losing the belt as the main reason why I enjoyed running so much in the third trimester when I was the biggest!

  • Walking: I was so resistant to walking at the beginning of my pregnancy, but I really grew to love it by the end. I learned that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy taking a walk, and that running isn’t the only acceptable form of exercise. I hope to continue incorporating walking into my training even when I am able to run again.

  • Sleep: This trimester I really tried to listen to everyone’s advice and sleep as much as I could. Since I was off for the summer I was able to take a ton of naps and not set an alarm most days. I wasn’t necessarily having the best sleep, but I was resting at least and it made a big difference in my energy levels at the end of my pregnancy.

What Kevin came home to after work one day…

  • Nesting:  I was all about cooking, cleaning, and preparing for baby this trimester! Since we bought a house and moved when I was 34 weeks pregnant, I was very anxious to get settled and make sure we were ready. My hard work paid off – baby came 2 weeks early and we were fully prepared for him at home!

Cooking during my freezer meal marathon!

  • Carbs: My eating this trimester was very similar to the first. All I wanted was lots and lots of carbs. Bagels, cereal, bread, pizza, chips… all those delicious things! Don’t worry, I still ate a ton of other healthy food. I just really WANTED the carbs and indulged- sometimes 🙂

  • My Body: I absolutely LOVED my body in the third trimester. I loved watching my belly grow and my body change with each week. I have struggled with body image issues in the past, but I have never felt more confident and beautiful than I did during the third trimester of my pregnancy. I still feel that way 2 weeks post partum, and I think (and hope!) it is something that has changed in me forever.

Showing off my new bikini body at the pool!

I think it is so funny to look back on the things I couldn’t live without during each part of my pregnancy. It definitely changed a lot over the course of the 38 weeks that I was pregnant. Next up in this little series–> What I’m Loving: Post Partum!

Mom & Baby: Week 2

I can’t believe another week has gone by and it’s been 2 weeks (and 1 day) since Baby Kevin was born! It seems like it’s gone really fast, but at the same time it feels like it was so long ago that we were in the hospital. Yesterday (the 26th) was actually his original due date. It’s crazy to think that I could still be pregnant right now- but instead we have a 2 week old baby 🙂

Baby

Baby Kevin is getting cuter and showing us his personality more and more every day. He makes the most adorable and funny little faces that keep us entertained and take up a lot of memory on our iPhones.

His sleeping at night is getting better now that he is more awake during the day. His jaundice levels are down which I think helps keep him more alert. At night he will sleep in 2-4 hour stretches and then wake up to eat. Sometimes it is hard to get him to fall asleep again, but we will re-swaddle him and put on his Sleep Sheep sound machine and that usually helps. Sometimes he will continue to cry even if he’s not hungry or doesn’t need a diaper change or anything. He just wants to be picked up and held and soothed. He really loves to cuddle with us, especially when we hold him upright close to our heart. I think that is also why he loves the Moby Wrap!

He loves this position. He must have been curled up like this inside of me!

One thing that is still concerning me is the way he cries and pulls his legs up like he is in pain from gas or something in his belly. He does it during the day and night out of nowhere, and it’s usually accompanied by hiccups, burping, and passing gas. He screams like crazy and is almost inconsolable.  We try moving his legs in the bicycle motion, rubbing his stomach in a clockwise direction, and things like that but it hasn’t helped much. It breaks my heart because it is obvious that he is in pain.We decided to try a pacifier today to see if the sucking helps him self-soothe during those times where he is really upset and nothing else seems to help. Now that he’s two weeks old and breastfeeding is going well, we thought it was a good time to introduce it. So far it does seem to help, but the true test will be tonight. I’ll update on that next week!

This morning is his two week appointment, so I’m anxious to see what he weighs now. I really think he is at or above his birth weight at this point. He should be with how much he eats! I also want to ask the doctor some questions about the stomach issues that I think he has and what we can do about them.

I have already started to notice changes in his development. He’s started to look AT things instead of looking through them. The other day he discovered the little birds hanging from his bouncer and would not stop staring at them! He’s also working on his neck strength and can hold his head up for pretty long now. He’s growing up so fast!

Body

My body is feeling pretty good! I feel almost normal, except for being extremely tired and some occasional back pain- which I think is from nursing in bed at night.  I’m going to the chiropractor again and that’s helping.  I’m also trying to rest and nap during the day when the baby does- but it’s hard! My aunt is here visiting for a few days so she’s helping out a lot and allowing me to take it easy, which is very nice!

Somehow despite eating like crazy (breastfeeding hunger is ridiculous!) I lost 2 more pounds this week and am now at 136. That means I have 6 pounds to go until I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Even though I have only 6 pounds left, my body has definitely changed shape. I tried on some of my old jeans and couldn’t get them over my hips. My hips are definitely wider, but it’s only been two weeks so we’ll have to see if that change is permanent or not. If it is, that is no big deal. I’ll buy new jeans! Pregnancy has given me a whole new perspective on my body, and my self-confidence and appreciation for my body has never been better. I really owe a whole post on how pregnancy helped me develop a better relationship with my body. I have a lot to say about that!

Slowly shrinking!

My bleeding and soreness are totally gone too. I have been going out for 3-4 mile walks with the baby and they feel really good. It is SO tempting to run but I don’t want to risk it. I put my body through a lot only two weeks ago and as good as I feel right now, I know I’m not fully recovered. I am hoping to be cleared to run again at 4 weeks post partum, and I don’t want to do anything until I have my midwife’s permission. I made an appointment with her yesterday and if all looks good- I can run again on October 10th! I will obviously start very easy with short runs and I won’t push it at all. But this is the longest I have ever gone without running since I started 8 years ago and I MISS IT!

Walking with baby in the Moby Wrap

Mind

I am still super emotional, but in general I feel like I’m getting the hang of this motherhood thing more with each day that we get through. There are so many moments during the day when I look at him and can’t believe that he’s ours, that he grew inside of me for 10 months, and I gave birth to him 2 weeks ago. The amount of love I feel for him is so strong and intense. It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever felt before. I have actually started crying a few times because I feel overwhelmed with feelings of happiness and love.

He loves his mommy 🙂

Our doula and Bradley Method teacher Marisa came over this week too. It was so nice to talk with her and reflect on Baby Kevin’s birth story and how I’m doing now, since doulas are there for support post partum as well. I will be forever grateful to Marisa for everything she’s helped us with since we met her in May. Because of her we were able to bring our baby into the world the way we wanted to, and I have never felt more mentally strong and confident in myself since his birth. I feel like I can do anything now!

Sorry about the cleavage in this picture – I didn’t realize my shirt was pulled down so far. Yes, the boobs are still pretty crazy. Here’s to a great week 3!

Previous Post Partum posts:

Baby’s First Photo Shoot

When Baby Kevin was 4 days old he had his first official photo shoot. I have always loved newborn photos and knew that we had to get them done once he was born. Sanaz from Butterfly Photography Center did our maternity photos only a few weeks before (she did our wedding photos too!), and she offered to come to our house for his newborn shoot. We were instructed to turn up the heat and feed him right before she came, so that he would be very sleepy! It worked like a charm, he was passed out the whole time and we were able to put him in all kinds of cute poses!

We even caught a little smile!!!

We took this naked photo very, very quickly! We were nervous about accidents 🙂

Kevin made a special request for this photo. He just had to have his little boy decked out in Steelers gear!

Then Kevin and I got into some of the photos with the baby. I LOVE the next few- they bring tears to my eyes and make me so happy. I can’t believe we finally have our baby!

Our precious perfect little boy 🙂

And last but not least, I had to recreate this squished face photo that I saw on Pinterest! He doesn’t quite have enough fat on his cheeks yet but I still think it’s so cute!

I will cherish these photos forever. It is special to have his first few days of life captured in such a special way.

9 in 9.

When I found out I was pregnant back in January I was right in the middle of training for a 50K and two marathons. Obviously as soon as I got my positive test those plans changed. However, I am someone who needs to set goals for myself to keep me motivated and working toward something. After surviving most of the first trimester I decided that I would try to run at least one race for each month of my pregnancy that I had left (March – September). Not knowing how my pregnant running would go, I wasn’t sure if this goal was realistic or not. But I signed up for the races and crossed my fingers that I would be able to complete them, whether it was by running or walking.

My last 20 miler back in January- I was pregnant and didn’t know it yet!

Now, 9 months later I’m writing this post with my baby snuggled close to me in the Moby Wrap, and I am so happy and proud to say that I completed a total of 9 races over the 9 months of my pregnancy! Not only that, but I was able to run them all- 4 half marathons, 1 ten miler, and 4 5Ks.  Here are all of the races I did while pregnant, with the original recaps linked below.

03/17/12 – Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon (1:57:54) *12.5 weeks pregnant*

04/01/12 – Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (1:28:57) *14.5 weeks pregnant*

05/13/12 – Delaware Half Marathon (2:06:15)  *20.5 weeks pregnant*

06/02/12 – Virginia Wine Country Half (2:09:00) *23.5 weeks pregnant*

06/03/12 – Belmont Bay 5K (26:30) *23.5 weeks pregnant*

06/23/12 – Rock & Roll Seattle Half (2:24:27) *26.5 weeks pregnant*

07/04/12 – Let Freedom Run 5K (31:39) *28 weeks pregnant*

08/25/12 – Gender Defender 5K (32:45) *35.5 weeks pregnant*

09/08/12 – Arlington 9-11 Memorial 5K (32:45) *37.5 weeks pregnant*

And last but not least, I found out through the awesome stats on Daily Mile that I ran a grand total of 762 miles throughout my entire pregnancy! We got pregnant at the very beginning of January, so here how it breaks down by month.

Now that I have completed this goal and my little one is finally here, I can’t wait to get back into training again. I already have big goals for myself post partum, and I am really excited to start working on them once I am fully recovered. I am confident that I’ll be able to come back better than ever!

See you later, Running for Two shirt. It’s been a great 9 months and hopefully I will be wearing you again someday 🙂

Mom & Baby: Week 1

Our first week with baby was such a whirlwind! It was filled with a lot of visitors, a lot of doctors appointments, so much love, and yes, some tears too. Let’s start where I left off at the end of Baby Kevin’s birth story

After we were all wheeled upstairs to our recovery room our family had a chance to hold Baby Kevin for the first time after being at the hospital all night long.

After only about 15 minutes a nurse came in and said she had to take the baby for his first bath and blood work. I was so sad to see him go, but Kevin was able to go with him at least. I missed him so much while he was gone that my heart was literally aching. It’s true what they say about feeling attached to your baby immediately. When they brought him back I decided to try to feed him again. Our family left to give us some privacy and I was able to get him to latch on after a few tries. Afterwards the nurse came to help me use the bathroom for the first time and teach me how to take care of that area. I really wanted to shower, but they told me I couldn’t until I peed twice and then they could take my IV out and let me.

By this point it was dinnertime and I was really hungry for a real meal, so Kevin left for about 30 minutes to get me my favorite- Chipotle! It has never tasted so good!

After eating we had some more visitors. Our family came back and our friends Mike and Alicia came too. Once they left I was finally allowed to shower. It felt so good to be clean again!

The next morning we hung out at the hospital for a while and began the discharge process. Since I had an uncomplicated labor and delivery I only had to stay one night. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and go home!

Right before we left my friend Ashley came to meet Baby K. She was the first person that I told I was pregnant way back in January!

Baby did so well on his first car ride! I sat in the back with him because it is kind of a long trip (about 40 minutes) and I wanted to stare at him the entire time 🙂

Once we were home we experienced a whole lot of fun firsts…

First milk coma

First bath at home

First night at home with us. We were so terrified!

First walk in the BOB at 5 days old!

Mommy’s first glass of wine since New Years Eve!

First time being peed on!

First time being rocked to sleep in the glider

First time in the Moby Wrap. He loved it!

First photo shoot

First Steelers game

First nap with daddy

We also had more visitors that were excited to meet him. He is already so loved by so many people!

Kevin Spaulding Sr., Kevin Spaulding II, and Kevin Spaulding III

So that is how we spent our first week with Baby Kevin! Now let’s get into the details of how baby and mom are doing 1 week post partum.

Baby

It has been so much fun getting to know our little man. It hasn’t always been easy, but we are slowly learning his personality and who he is. I feel very lucky because he has been pretty low-maintenance so far. He loves to be held but is content laying in his newborn lounger or in the bouncer on his own. He will cry when he gets his diaper changed and when he’s getting a bath, but he doesn’t really scream much besides that. Sometimes he will get fussy after he eats and I think he’s having some gas issues that make him uncomfortable. He spit up a lot the first few days and had a lot of mucus in his throat that he would gag on which would cause me to freak out, thinking that he was choking. The doctor told me that since I had such a quick delivery (only pushing for 30 minutes) the mucus didn’t all get squeezed out like it is supposed to during birth. The bulb syringe was our best friend those first few days!

As far as sleeping- he has his days and nights confused big time. He sleeps all day and then around 9:00 p.m. his little eyes pop open and he is wide awake for the night. He will cluster feed all night long which is tough on me, but we make up for it by trying to rest a lot during the day. He is breastfeeding like a champ though, and is almost back to his birth weight! He is a very aggressive eater, and when it’s time he will shake his head around like crazy rooting for the boob and then suck really hard for a few seconds. It’s kind of funny to watch. He’s getting better at finding it more quickly now though.

He did worry us the first few days of his life though because he had jaundice. He had his bilirubin levels tested on Friday at his 2 day appointment because the doctor thought he looked a little yellow. The levels came back at 13, so I put him in the window for a while that day and tried to feed him a ton to flush it out.  They had to go back to the doctors office the next day to get his bilirubin levels tested again, and we got a phone call that evening telling us the results. It was now at 19.5, so the doctor told us to go to the hospital to get him tested that night since brain damage can happen when levels get into the 20s. It was really scary to bring a 3 day old baby to the hospital, and we had to wait around after testing to see if we needed to be admitted so he could go under the lights.  Thankfully his levels had gone back down to 15.5, so we didn’t have to stay. They said it could have been a lab error that made it so high that morning, but we don’t really know. We had to go back to the hospital for a follow-up test on Sunday, and then to the doctor’s for another one on Tuesday. Each time the levels have gone down. He is looking less yellow and is much more awake now, so we are confident that his jaundice is improving. We won’t have to go back to the doctor until his 2 week appointment next Thursday, which is good news! I hated having to go there so often in his first few days of life. Too many germs!

Finally, this little baby is STRONG! He can already lift up his head for about 2 seconds and has a monster grip. He is very aware of his hands and always has them up by his face, in his mouth, or he intertwines his fingers together. It’s so cute! He likes to keep his legs curled up and crossed, I think this is probably what he did inside of me too. But every once in a while he will kick his legs out with crazy strength. He did this inside of me as well- I remember those hard kicks!

Body

I really didn’t know what to expect of my post partum body. I had heard that I would leave the hospital looking like I did when I was about 5 months pregnant. I wasn’t very big at all at 5 months, so I didn’t really believe that. I thought I would be bigger and still need maternity clothes for a while. So  I was shocked when I looked in the mirror after delivery and saw how relatively flat my stomach was! With each day that passes my body looks a little more like it used to. I somehow avoided getting stretch marks which is awesome, but I still have my linea negra and my belly is pretty soft and squishy. I know when I am able to start running again it will firm up. Until then, I will stick to breastfeeding, walking, and taking care of baby as my exercise 🙂

1 day post partum. Please ignore the unattractive nursing bra and those mesh granny panties they give you at the hospital. They are awesome though! I started my pregnancy at 130 pounds and gained a total of 26 pounds. I weighed myself when we got home 2 days post partum and I had lost 13 pounds, putting me back at 143.

      

I week post partum. At 1 week out I had lost 5 more pounds, so I’m currently sitting at 138. I think this is due to constant hunger and thirst from breastfeeding, combined with losing some of the water I was carrying around. I have also been sweating at night like crazy- it is so gross. I read it has something to do with the hormones.

      

It blows my mind that I looked like THIS only a week before! How is that possible?

In other body news, my boobs are ridiculous. I discovered that my milk had come in when I woke up on Friday morning and they were huge and very painful. I was so engorged and I looked like a porn star. It was so uncomfortable, and Baby Kevin was so sleepy because of his jaundice that I couldn’t get him to eat enough at one time to empty them. They just kept getting bigger and more full, and it hurt so much. Finally by day 5 the engorgement went down and now he is eating a lot more so it’s not as extreme. But they do fill up and I can tell when it’s time for him to eat again based on that. They also leak like crazy! Something I didn’t expect while breastfeeding are the contractions that it causes. Sometimes when I’m feeding him I will feel them and it’s so strange, but I read that it helps your uterus shrink down to its normal size again.

The rest of my recovery has been great so far. I was pretty sore the first two days, especially “down there” which made sitting on any kind of surface difficult, but that has since gone away. I also had a lot of popped blood vessels in my face- I guess from pushing so hard? Those have pretty much disappeared by now though. I bled a ton the first week but that’s almost gone as well. I  feel pretty normal at this point! I also feel very lucky to have had such an easy recovery, but I think a lot of it is due to the type of birth I had and the fact that I was really active throughout my pregnancy.

Mind

Wow, I thought I was emotional during my pregnancy, but nothing compares to how I am now 1 week post partum. I have cried so many times- not always because I am sad about anything, but also because I am happy and love him so much, or because I feel overwhelmed, or frustrated, or worried. I got upset on our first night home with him when I was terrified something would happen to him in his sleep, then when we were worried about his jaundice, when I was sleep deprived and he was cluster feeding all night long, when I was hungry because I realized I hadn’t eaten all day since I was so busy taking care of the baby, when I was overwhelmed with visitors, etc.

Pumpkin spice lattes always make me feel better!

The worst was when I finally decided to have a glass of wine for the first time since last New Years Eve. I fed the baby and drank a small glass right with my friends who were visiting immediately afterwards. I knew that I was supposed to wait 2 hours after drinking to feed the baby again, and that was perfect because that’s about how often baby was eating… or so I thought. Literally 20 minutes after finishing my wine he started screaming and rooting around. This was the beginning of our night-time cluster feeding. He had never gotten hungry again so quickly before and I didn’t know what to do. I had alcohol in my system and I read that it builds up and peaks in your bloodstream at 90 minutes so it was best to wait until after that point to breastfeed. I didn’t want to feed him before that point because I couldn’t stand the thought of putting alcohol into my brand new baby’s body. I felt so guilty and selfish for even having a glass of wine in the first place, and listening to him cry made me so upset. Eventually I waited until an hour and 45 minutes had passed and I finally fed him, crying the whole time. I felt like such a bad mother for drinking and then depriving him of his food. I decided I wasn’t going to drink again until I was pumping regularly. Live and learn I guess!

One thing that I think has really helped stabilize my mood are my placenta pills. I talked before about how I planned to keep my placenta and have it dehydrated and put into pill form. There are many benefits to this, including more energy, better milk supply, hormone stabilization, better sleep, and it decreases post-partum depression. The woman that I hired came over on Saturday and Sunday to do this, and I started taking the pills Monday morning. Since then I have felt so much better and more positive overall, and my bleeding has already subsided to almost nothing. Whether this is all really from the placenta pills or it’s a placebo effect, I don’t really care. Either way it’s working and I feel amazing- so I’ll take it 🙂

Placenta Encapsulator using her blender to grind dehydrated placenta… not appetizing, I know!

I really do miss running though, and I know once I am able to get back to it my mood will be more stable too. This is the longest time I have gone without running since I started 8 years ago. It feels strange to take a break, but I know it’s what my body needs right now.

We had a wonderful first week with our sweet baby boy. I am so excited to watch him grow and develop his personality more. Being a mommy is the best feeling in the world and I already don’t remember what life was like without him! Can’t wait to see what week 2 brings 🙂

Kevin’s Birth Story

This week I should have been writing Baby K’s 39 week update. Instead he is already 8 days old and I’m writing his birth story. I still can’t believe he is here and that he came two weeks early at exactly 38 weeks! I am also still in shock that he is boy- I was convinced he was a girl since the very beginning!

Kevin Troy Spaulding III was born at 7:49 am on Wednesday, September 12th, which is the same day that his daddy was born 25 years ago, as well as my mother-in-law 24 years before that! So Baby Kevin is a third generation Spaulding to be born on September 12th, which is so amazing! His journey into the world was definitely an interesting and beautiful one. We had our birth wishes about what we wanted for our baby’s birthday, which was a natural and unmedicated birth, but went in with a flexible attitude knowing that anything could happen. I was very glad that we had this mindset going into it because we had to adjust and adapt as certain things came up. But let’s start at the beginning…

As I wrote about in my 37 week update, I was already experiencing many pre-labor signs. I didn’t want to get too excited though, because I knew that we could still be 4 or 5 weeks away from meeting our baby. However, in the back of my mind I just knew that he was going to come early. I just didn’t know when.

37 Weeks

On Monday morning when I was 37 weeks 5 days pregnant, Kevin and I went for a 3 mile run and I actually felt great. Little did I know this would be my last run! Afterwards I went to school and felt off all day while I was teaching. I had an upset stomach and was very crampy. I noticed my stomach tightening and knew they were Braxton Hicks contractions. I ignored them and just went on with my day. But I did tell Kevin about them and he looked some things up online and said it might be time… I didn’t believe it though.

After work that day my friends at school threw me a baby shower and Kevin met me there. It was so nice and distracted me for a bit, but I still didn’t feel right. After the shower we went to dinner at one of Kevin’s favorite restaurants to celebrate his birthday which was on Wednesday. A bunch of his friends showed up and we hung out for a while there. I didn’t have much of an appetite and could only eat half of my dinner. Kevin had quite a few drinks and we went home. I joked that I would probably go into labor that night while he was not sober and we wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital. We laughed about it then went to bed.

I woke up at 1:30 a.m. to a weird warm gush of liquid coming out of me. It was just a little bit, but when I sat up more came out. I stood up to go to the bathroom and even more came out. I was confused because I knew it wasn’t pee, could it be my amniotic fluid? It wasn’t anything I could control and would come out a little bit every few minutes. I decided to lay down for another hour and see if it kept happening. After that hour I was convinced that it had to be my water leaking, so I woke up Kevin to tell him. He didn’t believe me at first and in his half asleep state told me to go back to bed. Eventually he woke up and realized what I was telling him.

We talked about what to do next. I knew I was GBS negative so I didn’t necessarily have to rush to the hospital. However, I did have to go sooner rather than later because there is a risk of infection after your water breaks. I started to worry because I didn’t have any contractions yet and I was disappointed because I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible. I really did not want to show up at the hospital without contractions because I knew that was a recipe for induction, which is something we were obviously trying to avoid. I knew that my water breaking before having contractions was a possibility, but in our Bradley classes we learned that most labors start with contractions and the water breaks later. When your water breaks first you are put on more of a ‘timeline’ and if labor doesn’t progress they start talking about Pitocin for induction and even the possibility of a c-section if your body won’t pick up strong enough contractions. I decided to call the midwife that was on call at the hospital to see what I should do. My heart sunk when the only midwife I did not like from my practice picked up the phone. She has always been negative towards us and just doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all. She told me to come in immediately. I asked her why, since two other midwives had told me that I could wait about 6 hours since I am GBS negative. She said to come in and that I shouldn’t wait. I didn’t agree, but rather than argue with her, I just got off the phone.

I called my doula who was also our Bradley teacher to tell her what was going on. She said she didn’t understand why they told me to come right in, and that she had also been told it was okay to wait a little bit when she delivered her baby with my doctors 2 years ago. She recommended that I go back to sleep, and try some natural induction methods (walking, bouncing on the ball, taking a shower, nipple stimulation, even thumb sucking!) if I still didn’t have any contractions when I woke up. She also told me that most likely the midwife I didn’t like would be leaving probably around 8 a.m. and a new one would come in, so that made me feel better.

I was really hungry, so Kevin made me oatmeal around 3 a.m. and then I tried my best to relax and willed my body into having contractions on its own. I fell back asleep until 6 a.m. and when I woke up realized I still had no contractions at all. However, I was still leaking fluid randomly. I woke up Kevin and we decided to go on a walk. We walked 3 miles very fast, hoping that would get things going. It didn’t. Next I took a hot shower and tried to relax more- still nothing. We tried everything and the most I felt were very mild menstrual-like cramps. Marisa said this was a good sign but I was still worried.

By this time it was around 9 a.m. and I knew I was past the recommended 6 hours. We reluctantly gathered up our things and headed out to the hospital. I took one more belly shot before we left and tried to remain positive. It was so strange to know that we would be returning to the house with a baby in a few days!

     

There was a lot of traffic on the way to the hospital and we didn’t end up getting there until a little after 10. We checked into labor and delivery and then went off to the triage area to confirm that I was leaking amniotic fluid. As I leaked all over the floor while changing into my hospital gown, the nurse said it was pretty clear that my water had broken and that I would be admitted. I was also so happy to see that a new midwife was on shift- one that I really, really liked. She as well as all of our nurses were very supportive of our natural birth plan and told me that nobody would talk about any sort of induction or Pitocin until 24 hours after my water started leaking. She told me to go start trying everything I could once we were admitted to get things going- starting with walking the stairs.

We walked the stairs for about 40 minutes before I had to be back for 20 minutes of external fetal monitoring. We repeated this cycle a few times and I FINALLY felt my first real contraction at 1:30 p.m.- 12 hours after my water started to leak.

I was so happy that my body was contracting on its own that I switched into a “bring on the pain” attitude to keep it going. Kevin and I got in the shower for a little while and that intensified them a lot, especially when the hot water was combined with nipple stimulation. I got out of the shower to be monitored again and saw my contractions had gotten a lot stronger.

After that, we went back and forth between walking the stairs and getting in the shower in between each monitoring session. My contractions were getting more consistent and I had to concentrate through them. At one point around 5:00 p.m. we went to the cafeteria so Kevin could get some food, and I had to hold onto him every time I had a contraction. Things were getting serious! They were about 3-4 minutes apart and I was moving from the exercise ball to the toilet to the wall- trying to find what felt comfortable. Kevin called our doula and she made her way to the hospital, thinking it wouldn’t be too long. Little did we know that it would be another 12+ hours!

The best labor coach in the world!

At 5:30 my dad and sister arrived at the hospital. We had called them early to give them plenty of time to get to VA since they live in Philadelphia. We also had to call Kevin’s mom early because she lives in South Carolina, so she was almost there too. I was very happy to see our family but I noticed that when they got there things started to change. My contractions became  less intense and were coming less often. I started to get nervous and began to feel anxious to get focused again and have it just be Kevin and me in the room.

Right after we asked my family to move to the waiting room I got back into the shower, hoping to get my contractions back to where they were before. While I was in there I heard Kevin’s sister and brother-in-law come into the room. He told them I was trying to focus and they understood and left. Then our doula Marisa arrived. I heard him explaining to her that my contractions had slowed down and she said that labor can definitely stall out if you lose concentration or something changes in your environment. I had to get out of the shower to be monitored, and this time the hot water didn’t help as much. The contractions were still coming few and far between, and they were not as strong as before. To make it worse, the midwife that I liked was leaving soon and the one I didn’t like was coming back on shift. Again, this was getting into my head, causing my contractions to slow down.

Before the midwife left for the night at 8 p.m. she gave me my first internal check. I was 3 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. She was very encouraging and said I was making progress, and the fact that I was 100% effaced was a very good thing. She said he was also -1 station, which meant he was making his way down.  I was told to do all I could to keep things going, because the next midwife would check me at 2:00 a.m., which would be 24 hours after my water started leaking. If I hadn’t progressed by then we would need to start talking about Pitocin. I knew I could make good progress in 6 hours if I could get back in the right state of mind.

Immediately after being checked I went into the shower with Kevin. I knew that was what had worked really well last time so I was hoping it would again. This time it worked! My contractions came back and got stronger. I had to get out of the shower after 40 minutes to get monitored again, and we could see on the screen that they were becoming more consistent. I was so excited to be in pain again! After disconnecting from the monitors I decided to sit backwards on the toilet. Marisa said that was a good position to open up and let the baby come down. This position worked really well too. I was feeling strong contractions every few minutes again. For the next few hours I alternated between the shower, the toilet, and the exercise ball. I walked around as much as I could and tried to relax everything when I felt a contraction coming, to put all my energy into the work that it needed to do. However, when it started getting closer to 2 a.m. I got worried because I knew the midwife I didn’t like would be coming in to check me soon. My contractions started to space out and lose intensity again. When she came in she was quiet and dismissive. She checked me quickly and forcefully, then informed me that I was still 3 centimeters dilated, and that we needed to start Pitocin since my water had been broken for 24 hours.

We asked her for a few minutes alone to talk about our next step, so she left the room. I was so disappointed and confused. I felt bad that my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. I felt bad that our families were still waiting in the waiting room for something to happen. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle the very intense contractions that come with Pitocin. I was tired and hungry and felt weak. I had a million thoughts running through my head. Marisa and Kevin reassured me by telling me that many people need Pitocin to jumpstart things and then go on to have a beautiful, vaginal birth without an epidural. They said that if anyone could handle it, it would be me, because I was strong physically and mentally. So we decided to go ahead with the Pitocin and I decided to change my attitude. Instead of dwelling on the fact that my body wasn’t progressing on its own, I got myself ready for what the Pitocin was going to do to help my baby get here safely. Instead of focusing on the one person in the hospital that was not supportive, I thought about all of the wonderful nurses, the other midwife, Kevin, Marisa, and our families and how much support I had from all of them. I trusted my body, I trusted my coaches, and I trusted my Bradley training. I knew I could do it.

We called the nurse and midwife and told them we were ready to go ahead with the Pitocin. The hooked me up to an IV and fetal monitor that I would have to keep on the entire time.  I knew this would restrict me more than I was before, but I was determined to stay active through the contractions anyway because I knew it would help. The nurse told me that they would be back to start the drip of Pitocin but had to deliver a baby first, so I used the extra time to rest up for what was ahead. Kevin, Marisa, and I all napped for a good hour and a half. By this time my contractions had completely stopped.

Finally at 4:00 a.m. the nurse came in to start my Pitocin drip. She explained that she was going to start me on the lowest dose and increase it every 30 minutes until my contractions were consistent. It turns out that a little bit was all my body needed, because I started feeling them 30 minutes later and they were STRONG. I had fallen back asleep while I waited for the Pitocin to kick in and I was woken up by the pain. It took my breath away and  I knew I was in for a challenging morning.

When the next one came only a few minutes later, I woke Kevin up because I needed him to help me. Marisa woke up too and they started coaching me. I couldn’t believe how strong the contractions were and how fast they were coming. They were so much worse than before and felt like my insides were being destroyed and crushed with every one. I started to vocalize and make low moaning noises to get through them. I was going back and forth from hot to cold, and shaking intensely from hormone overload. Marisa put cold washcloths all over me after each contraction was over because I would get so overheated. I lost all modesty and stripped down to only my sports bra. With each contraction I could feel the baby moving down and more amniotic fluid kept coming out of me. I was trying to find positions that felt good but nothing did. I decided I wanted to try to squat on the bed because I knew that would help the baby come down more quickly. Marisa and Kevin supported me on each side and when I felt a contraction come I would lift myself up and squat. I was so thankful that I had kept up with my running and Body Pump at this point! Squatting made the contractions WAY more intense but I could feel so much happening inside when I squatted, so as much as it hurt I kept doing it over and over again. Kevin kept telling me to take it one at a time, and that each one would bring me closer to meeting our baby. Each contraction was harder than the last and it got to the point where I had hardly any breaks in between. At some point I just gave into the pain and let it overtake me. My whole body would go limp and I would shake, moan, and cry. I even threw up during a few contractions. Even with all of this going on I remember clearly knowing that I was in transition. I had all of the classic signs of it and was screaming that I couldn’t do it anymore. I totally understood why most people choose to get an epidural at this point. I kept asking how many more contractions I would have like this (like they could really know that), and saying “I want my baby, I want my baby.” As much as it hurt I knew it would be over soon.

During this time I realized I had to go to the bathroom. I asked to be unhooked from the monitor and tried to walk there, but it took a while because I was having contraction after contraction and basically would collapse onto Kevin with each one. I finally got to the toilet and sitting on the toilet made the contractions get even worse. It was starting to change from pain to pressure, which I knew meant that it would be time to push soon. After using the bathroom I got back in bed and kept squatting through each contraction. I was feeling so much pressure that I felt like all my insides were just going to drop out of me, but I wasn’t feeling the urge to push yet. All of a sudden during another contraction, I felt an overwhelming feeling that I had to push. It was so intense and my body was pushing without me being able to stop it. I started yelling that the baby was coming and that I was pushing and couldn’t help it. They called the midwife but she took forever to come, so I had a few more of these types of contractions and the pushing was uncontrollable and involuntary. My body was pushing this baby out and there was nothing I could do about it!

Finally around 7:20 a.m. the midwife came and I asked her to check me so I could start pushing. At first she seemed doubtful that it could be time already, since I was only 3 centimeters when I started Pitocin only 3 hours before. She watched me through my next contraction and I think that convinced her. She checked and told me I was complete at 10 centimeters and that the baby’s head was right there. The nurses rushed to get everything ready and she told me I could push when I felt my next contraction. When I felt it I held my legs back and pushed down with everything I had. The noises that came out of me were like crazy animal noises but I didn’t care. With each contraction I was able to get 3 really good, long pushes in and everyone was around me telling me I was doing a great job and the baby was coming quickly. Nobody counted loudly in my ear or told me what to do. Somehow I just knew, and the pushing felt like such a relief at this point.

Someone asked me if I wanted a mirror to see what was happening, and when I saw the baby’s head crowning I couldn’t believe it. At this point I was calm and motivated. I wanted that baby out! With each contraction I focused on bringing the baby down, and slowly I saw more and more of the head coming out. The midwife told me it would only be a few more good pushes and baby would be here. I started to feel emotional and with the next big push I felt a ton of burning which I knew was the “ring of fire” – the baby’s head coming out. The midwife was massaging baby shampoo into me to try to prevent tearing at this point. They told me to  reach down and feel the baby’s head so I did, and I felt a head of hair! I could not get over the fact that I was feeling my baby coming out of me and that I would be meeting him or her soon!

The burning was really intense, and with my next contraction I knew the baby would be here. After only 30 minutes of pushing, the midwife asked Kevin if he was ready to help deliver the baby and he got into position. I gave it all that I had and pushed out his head and the rest of his body while feeling horrible, sharp, stabbing pains, and I soon realized this was due to me tearing in three separate places. I saw the baby come out and Kevin caught him. He started screaming immediately, and Kevin was trying not to drop him because he was so slippery. He brought the baby up to me and he tried to look to see if it was a boy or a girl but the umbilical cord was blocking it so he couldn’t tell. He finally moved the cord and said, “It’s a boy honey!” and I was SHOCKED. This was the moment I had been waiting for and it was so worth the wait! I was flooded with emotion and just held the baby close saying, “My baby, my baby,” and a little while later, “I can’t believe I was wrong!” (About the sex of the baby). He was so alert, healthy, and perfect. He scored 9 & 9 on both of his Apgar scores. I was so proud 🙂 We knew that we had to name the baby Kevin Troy Spaulding III after his daddy, especially since he was born on his dad’s birthday and he looks JUST like him!

The nurses cleaned him off a little bit but let him lay on me for a while as we soaked it all in. I kept thinking how it was so surreal that the baby that was just inside me a few minutes ago was now on the outside.

Eventually I delivered the placenta which I barely felt, and then the midwife got to work stitching me up. I had three little first degree tears- two on top and one on bottom. I barely noticed her working on me because I was busy staring at our baby. When the umbilical cord stopped pulsing Kevin cut it, and our little family was complete.

We all enjoyed more skin-to-skin time and eventually they gave the baby his Vitamin K shot and eye gel, and weighed and measured him. He was 7 pounds 2 ounces and 18 inches long… not bad for being 2 weeks early! I tried to breastfeed and he was able to latch on after a few attempts which made me so happy. While Kevin had skin-to-skin with him, the nurses came over and pushed really hard on my stomach to try to get rid of blood clots and shrink my uterus back to its normal size. This honestly hurt more than some of my contractions, and I screamed a few times while they did this. I even grabbed the nurses arm it hurt so bad! I was not prepared for that at all.

After we had some quality time with the baby, Kevin went out to tell our family that we had a boy. They had been patiently waiting since the night before, and were so excited to hear the news!

After the midwife was finished working on me and I was dressed and ready, I was wheeled upstairs to the recovery rooms with the baby. Our family met us in the hall to see Baby Kevin for the first time. It was a really special moment.

We all headed upstairs to rest and recover from our whirlwind labor and delivery. The next few days were so exciting and filled with visitors and getting to know our sweet new baby boy. I’ll write about all of that in my next post, which will be about our first week post-partum.

Overall I loved our birth experience. All of our birth wishes were met except for the fact that I needed a little bit of Pitocin to jumpstart my labor. We still were able to have freedom of movement the majority of the time, intermittent external fetal monitoring, limited vaginal exams, no epidural and nobody asked me if I wanted one or about my pain level (which I greatly appreciated), self-directed pushing and breathing, Kevin was super involved in delivering the baby and announcing the sex to me, we were given a lot of skin-to-skin time after the birth, and most importantly we had a calm and (mostly) supportive environment in the labor and delivery room. I was able to feel everything during labor like I wanted to and was entirely present and active during the whole birth experience. I cannot say enough positive things about our Bradley Method classes. Because of them we felt in control, confident, and knowledgeable about what was happening during the birth. Even though it was the most difficult and intense experience I have ever had, I would do it again in a heartbeat. This little face is so, SO worth it.

Welcome to the world Baby K!