Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hank is 2 Months Old


Hank is currently: 2 months old! Wow, time has FLOWN by. I did the monthly posts for Patsy and I thought it would be fun to bring them back for Hank!

Weight: 12 pounds, 6 ounces. He is quite the little chunker. Doc says he's in the 75th percentile for weight. At this age, Patsy was in the 5th percentile.

Clothing: He has completely grown out of his newborn stuff. Some of his 0-3 month stuff is too small and he is starting to fit into 3-6 month clothes.

Nicknames: Hank already is a nickname, but we also call him little guy, big boy, and Patsy loves to call him "Hanky"

Health/Diet: He's just on breastmilk. My goal is for him to be breastfed for a full year. I was able to breastfeed Patsy for 18 months and I'm hoping to make it to at least a year for Hank. We gave him a bottle once at 3 weeks old and he seemed confused by it but took it without issue. We should probably try introducing a bottle again as he'll need to get used to it when I go back to work!

Sleep: Oh man, I don't even know if I want to answer this question in fear of jinxing it. I have zero complaints about Hank's sleeping habits. Patsy is much more of a handful at night than Hank.

Milestones: He has started to smile more and more, sometimes even reacting to me! He is so strong and he has already rolled over from his back onto his stomach. Our little guy is growing up so fast!

Likes: Being held, his binkie, getting changed, sticking her hands in her mouth

Dislikes: Being hungry. That's pretty much it.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Loss is Never Easy

Yesterday I said goodbye to a family member. I debated whether or not to share this news publicly but I can't stop thinking about it and I thought it might help the healing process to speak about it. He was my second cousin. We haven't been close in a long time. I was busy, we were on different life paths, things happen. He was my age. Our birthdays are two months apart. Our paths intersected many times over the years not just at family parties but through different groups of friends. He was dealt a difficult hand in life and had a challenging family situation. I don't want to go into details but he turned to drugs to escape his troubles. He went to rehab but once he turned to heroine, it only took a few years before the drugs took him from us.

Thanks to technology, I was able to read through my most recent Facebook messages to see notes from him. We hadn't spoken much, but when we had, they were kind words. He had told me I had a beautiful family and wished me congratulations when Patsy was born. He invited me and my husband to hang out for a drink (although we never did). When his grandpa passed away late last year and I didn't get to talk to him at the wake, I had sent him a note. He was thoughtful and appreciative. Despite our differences and troubles, he always had a kind word for me and for that I will be eternally grateful. Part of me has guilt and regret. What if I had done things differently? What if I had tried to be more involved in his life? What if I had reached out more? Would things have turned out any differently? I know I can't beat myself up over these questions but I also can't erase them from my mind. 

A modest funeral mass was held at his high school (he had attended a local all-boys catholic school). Those years were some of his happiest times. He was a great athlete and made many bonds there. He kept in touch with his baseball coach after high school and they became friends. His coach gave a very touching and moving eulogy. There wasn't a dry eye in the church. During the service, I was very thankful to be holding Hank in my arms and sitting by my mom and brother. It was a very emotional and eye-opening experience. Life is too short to take things for granted. My family is important to me and we need to see each other more. We will always be busy (work, bad weather, other obligations), but I don't want to look back and wish I had done more. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

March 2016 Workout Summary

If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw that I was cleared to workout at my 6 week appointment!


That day (March 21) I went for a 1 mile run. I never thought that running a mile would feel so slow. But after taking almost a year off from running, you have to start somewhere! I thought that bringing back a weekly or monthly summary might help make me accountable. Spring is here, the weather is beautiful, and it feels great to get out there and get moving! Pepper was not impressed.

I went to my first post-baby barre class on Friday (March 25) with Meghan. In classic form, we forgot to take a photo after class! I was kind of rushing to get back because I had left the kids with my mom and it was a workday for her.


The day before Easter (March 26), I went for a 5 mile walk with my in-laws on a new local trail through a forest preserve. We took turns pushing Patsy while I carried Hank in the Baby Bjorn. The trail was paved and was a little winding and had some rolling hills. I would say it would be perfect for running but there wasn't any shade so it would be best left for spring and fall runs.
That mom of 2 life!

Awhile back, Maggie told me about the Nike NTC app. After a few failed attempts at planning another run, I thought I would give the app a try. I picked the Cardio Surge workout which required no equipment. It was 45 minutes of mountain climbers, frog jump, jump squats, lunges, walking burpees and lots of other things. To be honest, I really wanted to quit about half way through but I pushed through.
NTC: DONE

And yesterday (March 30), I went for another mile run. Patsy insisted on coming with me so it was a nice stroller run. It started to rain while we were out there and I felt kind of badass (even though I was jamming out to the Camp Rock soundtrack), if I do say so myself. It felt much better than my first run so I'm excited for what April will bring!
Testing out my new Oiselle baseball cap. Love it!

As I'm restarting my workout journey, I'm remembering how challenging it can be to revolve runs around breastfeeding schedules, child care, meals, and everything else in between. Oiselle has an upcoming challenge in April and I'm excited about participating! I plan to run 13 times in the month of April. That equates to about 3 times a week for 4 weeks. We'll see how it goes! Here is the link to Oiselle's blog to find out more about the challenge!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hanks Birth Story: Part 2

If you're just tuning (clicking?) in, here is part 1.

I woke up the next morning, refreshed and excited that the baby was coming! I told Chris at about 4am that my water had broke last night and we started making the final arrangements. My MIL had planned to take Patsy for the day already, so she was able to pick her up in the morning as planed. Chris dropped Pepper off at the boarding place and I sent an email to the office officially starting my maternity leave. Even after all of that, it was only about 10am. I wasn't having any contractions and it was time to play the waiting game. I tried all of the things that were supposed to kickstart labor (birthing ball, breastpump, warm shower) and none of it worked. I even visited with an acupuncturist and it didn't start labor for me.

The last and final step was to head to the hospital around 5:30pm. My midwife and doula met us there and we talked about the game plan. I was only at 2cm so we needed to start pitocin, get some sleep, see how things are in the morning. The hospital had telemetry monitors so I was able to walk around and be hands free while still being monitored. Because I was attempting a VBAC, baby and I had to be continuously monitored once we arrived at the hospital. My doula went home and would come back again once I was in active labor. By the time I was admitted and hooked up to everything, it was about 6:30pm. It was then that I got ready to hang out with the IV pole and walk around.
Getting ready to have this baby!

After walking around for a little while, it was time to get ready for bed. This was around 8:00pm. The contractions were still pretty sporadic but getting under way. I took an Ambien to help fall asleep, and got comfy (well, about as comfortable as I could be).
Resting and watching Big Bang Theory reruns

After trying to get some sleep, I realized that wasn't really going to happen. The contractions were coming pretty close together and I couldn't get much rest. It didn't take long before I was wide awake in between contractions. This led to trouble once the Ambien started working its way in my system. Some of you may see where this is going... I started hallucinating as I was working through the contractions. Every time I closed my eyes, I had visions of elephants on motorcycles and Jafar from Aladdin. When I opened my eyes, the floral paintings on the wall became 3D images come to life. As someone that never uses recreational drugs, this was a bit of a scary place to be while working through these contractions.

As the hallucinations continued, the bed became a little too uncomfortable so I moved over to the tub. I could labor in the tub (but couldn't give birth in the tub). I labored in the tub for the next hour or so and things were a little better than the bed. My midwife came in to check the progress and I was at 3+ cm. I called my doula and told her to come back up to the hospital. Things were moving along quickly!

By the time the doula arrived, it was around 11:00pm. The contractions were coming so hard and fast that I didn't have much of a break. It had only been about an hour since my midwife last checked but I asked her to check my progress again. If there hadn't been much progress, I was going to ask for an epidural. I was about ready to cry because I just wasn't getting a break from the contractions. They were coming so hard and so fast. She checked and said I was at 7 cm. I had progressed 4 cm in just 1 hour. I knew it was too late for an epidural and we were going to need to do things the old fashioned way.

At this point, I had to move from the tub to the bed. This baby was going to come soon and I couldn't have the baby in the tub. Over the next hour, contractions continued and I felt the need to push. My midwife said I wasn't at 10 cm yet so I couldn't push. I had to fight the urge to push with each contraction. My doula was able to help with breathing exercises and other methods to work through the contractions. It got to a point where I could no longer fight the urge to push. The midwife then said that the head was right there, and I could start pushing at the next contraction.

I pushed for 15 minutes until little Henry was born at 1:30am. They didn't announce the gender of the baby--we got to see for ourselves once he came out. Upon looking down and holding him for the first time, I cried. I couldn't believe it was a boy! I think Chris and I had both thought it was a girl so we were completely shocked that it was a boy.
Holding Henry for the first time!

He was immediately put on my chest and we were able to have that special time as a family.
I'm looking at Chris in this photo, proud and happy with our little boy

My doula doubles as a birth photographer so she was able to snap these great shots of us in such a raw and beautiful moment. My mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were waiting and came in to see us despite the late hour. It was so wonderful to see them and share the happy news.


Henry David was 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 21 inches long. He was delivered via VBAC after only 7 hours of labor.


I'm happy with my decision to have a VBAC and I felt supported by the practice, my doula, Chris and my family throughout the process. It was definitely an interesting and exciting experience. Thanks for reading along!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hank's Birth Story: Part 1

Wow. It has been over a month and I'm finally the chance to digest and comprehend everything that happened at Henry's birth. I'll start at the very beginning.

Spreading the Oiselle Love with my friend Ayesha who was due a little over a week after me!

My plan was to work up until I gave birth. I didn't want to waste a single day of maternity leave, twiddling my thumbs at home. Work kept me occupied and busy leading up to Hank's arrival. My due date was February 3. My midwife practice would let me go until 42 weeks (2 weeks past my due date) before we needed to schedule a repeat c-section. As you may recall from my previous post a few months ago, I was hoping for a VBAC birth. Patsy was born via c-section due to breech position and I was hoping to give birth vaginally this time around. But, first things first, in order for the VBAC to be successful, there were two main things that needed to take place: 1) Baby needed to be in head-down position 2) I needed to go into labor on my own. I couldn't be induced by Pitocin but if I started labor, they would be able to give me small doses.
Left: Pregnant with Patsy (subconsciously wearing pink)
Right: Pregnant with Hank (subconsciously wearing blue)

To help with positioning, I (begrudgingly) did the Spinning Babies daily exercises. Yes, daily. They were so mundane and annoying--kind of like physical therapy exercises--but they worked. Our little baby was head down starting around 32 weeks and stayed that way throughout the rest of the pregnancy.
Happy Due Date Day!

As my due date came and went, I started to get nervous. Would I go into labor? Did I need to start scheduling the repeat c-section? When is this baby going to come? As a type-A personality, it was very hard to mentally get through the long list of unknowns. I had a doctor's appointment a few days after my due date, on a Friday, and there really wasn't much progress. I was dilated to 1 cm (as I had been already for a few weeks) and that was about it. I had a follow up appointment he following Wednesday to perform stress tests and all these other things to check the progress. I was really hoping I wouldn't need that appointment. For some reason, I was absolutely convinced that I would have my baby in my arms on Super Bowl Sunday. When I was back at work again on Monday, it was really hard not to get discouraged. One of my co-workers told me something that kind of helped put things in perspective. "They can't stay in there forever." Although it was a simple sentiment, it was totally true and helped me change my frame of mind. This baby was going to come one way or another. I had to be patient and just wait it out.
Walking around the neighborhood, waiting to go into labor

Monday night, after I put patsy to bed and said goodnight to Chris, I started doing my Spinning Baby exercises. My water broke during the cat/cow pelvic tilts. I texted and called my doula and explained what happened. She confirmed what I thought and that my water broke. She suggested that I take a Tyelnol PM and get some rest. I was not going to sleep through the birth and the next day was most likely going to be a very long one! I did as she advised and tried to get some rest. According to my FitBit, I got about 7 hours of sleep that night! I didn't wake up Chris because I knew he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. I did have some contractions but I was able to comfortably sleep in-between them. The next day I woke up excited. The baby was finally on his/her way!