First Quarter Report

It’s unbelievable to know that three months have passed (and actually the fourth is just around the corner). O.M.G! 3 MONTHS! Three whole months of the most amazing experiences… from the first sound of his miracle cries to the latest smiles and belly laughs, Beckett has changed our lives and my husband and I couldn’t be more happy.

They* say you should never wish your children’s lives away. I understand this now, as these last months have flown by, each day over before I know it. It hasn’t stopped me from dreaming about what it will be like when Beckett walks along side of us, when he can talk to us in full sentences or when he can sit down and eat a meal with us at our favorite restaurant… I look forward to these milestones with both excitement and trepidation. I know I will never be able to turn back the clocks, and am doing my very best to enjoy all these precious moments. A simple, silent smile, the flutter of perfect eyelashes over bright, blue eyes or a quiet coo are the moments that make my day sparkle. I often find myself looking at Beckett in awe, my wildest dreams could not have prepared me for this kind of love.

How is he doing? Well, healthy does not even begin to explain it! The boy is growing like a weed, his two-month appointment he weighed in at 14lbs (90th percentile) and measured 23″ in length (60th percentile). He continues to eat every 2-3 hours during the day and wakes only once in the early morning hours to nurse, giving mom a six-hour stretch from 9pm to 3am to sleep, whoo hoo! We have went thru newborn and 3 month clothing, currently living in his 6 month sizes. He is tracking movement with his eyes and is beginning to grab and hold toys, fingers, his own toes, etc. His vocabulary started off with brilliant vowel sounds and has progressed to tight-lipped grunting and spitty bubbles. He kicks and punches with the intensity of a fighter, each movement becoming more and more deliberate. His favorite times of day are bath time (hands-down, always smiling), while playing under his jungle gym http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Luv-Deluxe-Musical-Mobile/dp/B003G2YUTQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1346085617&sr=1-3&keywords=fisher-price+jungle+gym and sitting in his vibrating baby papasan http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Little-Lamb-Deluxe-Infant/dp/B001GQ2RUS/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1346085517&sr=1-1&keywords=fisher-price+my+little+lamb. We have been blessed with a baby that I believe couldn’t be more of a joy or more easy-going.

How am I doing? My goodness, thank you for asking! I am a very happy momma, Beckett is the apple of my eye. This new role is both challenging and rewarding. I admit that I do have trouble understanding how my new life will fit into my old life or vice versa. For now, I feel like this path has forever changed me and that the old life I speak of is exactly that, my old life. I have mourned it on several occasions, my patience and will tested, but I always come back to the present and feel that without doubt there is nothing I am meant to be more than a mother. I will say this over and over, nothing can prepare you for this role. You cannot read about it, you cannot be told about it and you cannot fully understand what it means to be a parent, until you are one. If there is only one thing I have learned in these few months, it is that parenting is not easy, and I owe my own parents a lot of respect and graceful thanks for everything they have done for me. I find myself embarrassed to have passed any judgements on them, because I know now that they simply did the best they could do with the resources available to them. I hope that one day Beckett will look back on his own childhood and allow me the same civility.

How are we doing? My husband and I often wonder how parents do it all. We believe now, more than ever, that there are just not enough hours in the day, and maybe there never will be. Life on a strict schedule is a very hard thing to get used to, but we are enjoying Beckett and learning to cope with the curveballs he throws us together. We still sleep in separate rooms and find it difficult to connect with each other sometimes. I intend to break myself of this habit come Beckett’s fourth month birthday, and will be moving back in with my husband (yay). We are getting better at carving time out for ourselves separately and together. We think this thing called parenting will grow on us (wink, wink)!

I’ll wrap it up by saying this… Come sunshine or rainfall, my day starts and ends with my greatest accomplishment yet, a beautiful boy named Beckett.

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*They refers to a very intelligent, all-knowing person(s) that I often call upon for advice, direction and general pat-on-the-back type support. LOL! They could easily be traded out for Google, I’ve read or someone told me (but I can’t remember who or how reliable they are but it sounded good at the time..). I reference they a lot, now you’re in the know!

Mooove Over Milkman!

Clearly an inside joke, but one I’m sure any mom who has breast-fed can relate to… I introduce “The Sherrill Dairy” (aka: Diane Rose)operating around the clock, 24 hours daily. It’s times like these you really feel for the cows… or, maybe you just feel like a cow, I’m not exactly sure.

I will not tell you my opinion on whether you should or should not breast feed your child, I don’t even know that I have an opinion. I will tell you that I, a formula fed baby, have found breastfeeding my son to be both rewarding and relatively easy (thank goodness).

Our beginnings were frustrating, as my colostrum didn’t come in. For the first 5-6 days we were forced to supplement with formula, via syringe at the nipple, as we watched Beckett’s weight plummet 10oz in a few days. The two-man job was hard, but my husband and I got through it. I worried that this setback could mean my dreams of breastfeeding may also be devastated, but alas when the milk came in, boy did it ever C-O-M-E I-N!! I’ll never forget waking up on the first or second day home from the hospital with my brand new set of rock-hard tah-tahs…. OUCH!! Just one more thing you can not be prepared for!

Beckett took to the breast easily, takes a bottle with no repercussion, and nurses on one side per feeding for a maximum of 15 minutes, every three hours (I know I’m lucky). He is growing like a weed and I couldn’t be more proud of my body and the nutrients it is providing for my boy. I love breastfeeding and our special minutes we get to spend together. It is truly (in my humble opinion) a miracle and I thank God for this amazing experience (and money-saving opportunity).

There are several things I have found useful in this journey, here are my suggestions.

#1. Breast Pump… Yes, you need one! I would suggest renting a hospital grade pump for a couple of weeks, even if you already own a double electric pump (I know you just spent $300 on one, but trust me, there’s a difference). My delivery hospital had a Medela Symphony (retails for over $1500. Yes, there’s a difference!!) that was much better at emptying my breasts, than my Medela Pump-in-Style I’m using now, especially helpful when they are extra full the first few weeks.

Hospital grade pump if you’re ballin’: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Symphony-Hospital-Grade-Breast/dp/B001URWNIY/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1341772873&sr=8-9&keywords=medela+symphony

Home-use pump I bought: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Style-Advanced-Breast-Backpack/dp/B0011E75RK/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1341774845&sr=1-2&keywords=medela+pump+in+style

#2. Milk Storage… Get some freezer bags (5oz, box of 50) and extra storage containers (2.5oz or larger, box of 6-12) for the fridge. I stock piled around thirty 5oz freezer bags in the first 2 weeks home. If your breasts produce like mine, you’ll be glad you have these!! I pumped after almost every feeding and am so thankful I did because my supply has slowed, making just what Beckett needs. It’s nice knowing I have extra milk in the freezer when I feel like having a cocktail or when I’m away from the boy (at work or otherwise).

Freezer bags I use: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Pump-Save-Breastmilk-Bags/dp/B00028XJNA

Fridge storage containers I use: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009XBX4K/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00028XJNA&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=10J7CNPABE4R5B3QCTDJ

#3. Nursing Bras… I’m still figuring this out. I definitely appreciated having some on hand for when I got home from the hospital. The basic “sports bra” or sleep bra type is best until you know what size your breasts will settle into. I found Target carries a brand called Basics by Bravado! that I like a lot. Get 4 or 5, I leaked and Beckett got milk all over me those first few weeks while we were figuring everything out and you’ll want enough to last you through your laundry cycle. I have bought a couple more that give me some shape for when I wear something other than pj’s and sweat suits. I followed suit and bought some by the brand Bravado! Designs. Last, but not least, get a hands free pumping bra.

Sports bra type I like: http://www.diapers.com/p/bravado-silk-seamless-nursing-bra-13216

For more shape: http://www.diapers.com/p/bravado-designs-bliss-nursing-bra-85628

Hands free bra I like: http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Expression-Bustier-Medium-Black/dp/B002NUWQUM/ref=sr_1_5?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1341778878&sr=1-5&keywords=hands+free+pumping+bra

#4. Nursing tops… I decided against these because nursing tanks aren’t flattering. They’re short and tight around the middle, when all I wanted was room for my new belly and length to cover it. I know the work that needs to be done, I don’t need to be reminded of it every time I look down at it (thank you very much). Instead, I opted for cotton camisoles that you could just move over to nurse. They are cute and comfy and I live in pj’s around the house (my husband is a lucky man, ha ha). I feel like my normal wardrobe works just fine outside the house, as long as I can pull it up or down.

Cami’s I bought were this brand: http://www.target.com/p/gilligan-omalley-womens-leopard-cami-purple-s/-/A-13354573 (they have a better selection in the store)

#5. Nursing Pads… I use a reusable, washable kind and I really love them. Definitely get something, because you’ll leak. My breasts filled up fast for the first month or so, I opted for day-use ones (thin) and evening-use ones (thick).

My favorites: http://www.amazon.com/Bamboobies-Multi-pack-Super-soft-Washable-Lingerie/dp/B0043ZM178/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1340935179&sr=1-3&keywords=bravado+nursing+bra

#6. Breast Care… Gel soothies were a life saver for my sore nipples. I put them in the fridge while I nursed and by the time I was done, they would be nice and cold, and really helped alleviate the soreness. I tried many brands but liked Ameda the best. Lanolin cream was also helpful in this department. No need to stock pile these items though, as you may only need them for a couple of weeks. Have a few packs of soothies (they last for up to a week) and a single tube of lanolin. My boy hasn’t started teething yet and we didn’t have any latch problems, so take that piece of advice with a grain of salt, I am a new mom after all. Oh, and ask for both at the hospital, they will give you some for free!!

My favorite soothies: http://www.amazon.com/Ameda-17261M-ComfortGel-Hydrogel-Pads/dp/B003IP2L38/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1340935886&sr=1-1&keywords=ameda+comfort+gel

#7. Nursing Support… get My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow, even if you already have a Boppy (which seems to be the nursing standard). I have both, the Boppy in the living room for occasional use (while watching TV or for propping up Becks) and The Breast Friend in the nursery for the majority of use. The reason, The Breast Friend attaches around your waist and has lumbar support. It’s great to be able to clip it around your middle, then pick up the baby and sit down, instead of trying to get the pillow right while holding the baby and getting comfortable. Trust me, sleep deprivation and getting used carrying a squirming sack of potatoes is hard, and your back will be aching.

I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Brest-Friend-Deluxe-Pillow-Light/dp/B000HZI1R2/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1340936032&sr=1-2&keywords=my+breastfriend+nursing+pillow
#8. Burp Rags… Aden and Anais Birpy Bibs are awesome and can also be used as bibs. I love all their products actually (swaddles, sleep sacks, etc.), they wash well, are soft and super cute!

Love these: http://www.amazon.com/aden-anais-Muslin-Burpy-Jungle/dp/B002SW3CAS/ref=sr_1_6?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1340936079&sr=1-6&keywords=aden+and+anais

#9. Bottles… We didn’t have any latch problems so I let Matt feed Becks once a day (male bonding, you know). My lactation consultant suggested a couple that we have really liked with slow nipple flow.

Just a suggestion: http://www.amazon.com/Playtex-Reusables-Bubble-VentAire-Natural/dp/B001VIKBPO/ref=sr_1_20?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1340936276&sr=1-20&keywords=playtex+ventaire+bottles and: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Calma-Breastfeeding-Set/dp/B006T899QI/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1340936400&sr=1-1&keywords=medela+calma

#10. Mommy Entertainment… You will spend the majority of your day breastfeeding, or at least it will feel that way. Start recording your favorite shows or pick up a new series on DVD that you’ve been told about. If you don’t have a TV in the nursery or wherever you’ll be breastfeeding (like me) I would suggest an iPhone or iPad for apps, games, etc.

Me: “That about covers it folks. I still can’t believe how many things one little person requires.”

Beckett (if he could talk): “Don’t have a cow, mom!” (rolling eyes)

Me: “You’re right, son. Every little thing helps!” (grinning from ear to ear)

Surviving a Cesarean Section

I have been desperately trying to find the time to write this post, because with any traumatic event, the emotional and physical severity is fading with the passing weeks. Our natural instinct to keep calm and carry on requires us to forget a lot of what happens in these trying times, focusing instead on the “silver lining” (and there is a BIG one in this story). I’m not writing this to scare anyone, I’m writing this to remember. I want to remember exactly how I felt while I lived and survived a Cesarean Section.

I’ve written about what happened in the delivery room and how I felt my son being wrangled from my helpless, beaten body. What happened in the first few days that followed are blurred by a fog of narcotics and sleep deprivation. Those stories I can only really tell second-hand through my husband’s experience. My glimmers of reality are like a dream, pictures splashed with emotion, very brief, sometimes unclear. What I remember, I remember well. I remember the constant stream of nurses, delivery personnel, administrators, wanting anything from my temperature to my mailing address. There was discomfort with every movement. My skin crawled, the effect of pain medications. I remember my mind filled with anxiety about my new role as a mother, my heart bursting with a love so unlike anything I’d ever felt before and my maternal instinct to protect with my life, this being I brought into this imperfect world. I remember my heavy eyelids, oh, my heavy eyelids! I remember my body, so desperate for rest, that in the brief moments when I found sleep, I believe it was dreamless, pure exhaustion had taken over, and every cell in my body slept… like a baby.

We left the hospital on Saturday, May 5th, Cinco de Mayo. I only mention Cinco de Mayo because we came home to an amazing spread of chicken mole, enchiladas and rice from some VERY GENEROUS neighbors and this is ONE of the crucial components to my survival the first week home, but I’ll get to that later. The three of us arrived home around 10pm and slept in our own beds, it felt amazing.

The next day we struggled to get into a groove. My husband and I came up with a method for tracking Beckett’s eating, peeing and pooping schedule, hand written columns on white paper. We changed diapers, learned quickly how to swaddle, rocked, burped, walked… We tended to our son’s every need, while ignoring mine. I was in pain, pain when I sat down, stood up, tried to get out of bed. My posture protected my incision and my back ached. I couldn’t laugh, sneeze or cough without feeling scared my wound might burst open. By far, the worst of all my symptoms was gas. The gas that moved through my bowels was so painful it brought me to tears, I’d put it up against contractions any day, and I thought those were pretty darn bad. We had let my well-being slip to the back burner in that first evening and next day home. We didn’t pay close enough attention to when I was taking all of my pertinent medications and we failed to buy the over-the-counter drugs I had been administered in the hospital until day two… BIG MISTAKE! I will not sugar coat how I felt those first two weeks, I thank God for that beautiful baby boy I held in my arms all day, because without him, I was in hell.

When you have never experienced something like this before, you’re scared it may never end. And not knowing when the light would shine at the end of the tunnel weighed on me every day. That light started to shine, come week three. I had pushed through and persevered. I survived. Mothers are marvelous creatures, and I am so proud to count myself among them. What we do for our families cannot be calculated or properly described by meer words, and I cannot thank my own mother enough for all the things she has surely sacrificed for our (her children’s) happiness. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, momma.”

I sit here, six weeks postpartum, feeling really great. I am not taking any medications, except for my prenatal vitamins and a DHA supplement. My body is heading back towards normalcy. I am NOT in pain when I sit, stand, get out of bed, walk or when I laugh out loud when Beckett makes a new silly face. I can cough, sneeze and go to the bathroom without worrying my guts might burst through my abdomen.

A friend asked me if I’d schedule a C-Section my next time around, and I told her, having only known this, I wouldn’t be afraid of it. Time, truly heals all wounds. And looking back, I’d gladly live through two weeks of hell all over again to experience a lifetime with Beckett (I told you there was a silver lining). He is worth every tear, every pain, every fight for survival!

Here is my MUST HAVE survival guide:

1. HELP in the form of a human that can not only take the babe when you need them to, but also one that will cook, clean, do laundry, drive you around, run errands, walk your dogs, rub your feet, back, etc. and most importantly someone who will wipe your tears and pat you on the back and tell you everything is going to be ok. “Thank you, thank you, thank you momma.”

2. Home cooked meals, ready to be warmed up and enjoyed. Matt and I are so fortunate that our amazing friends provided us with weeks of food. If you are on the giving end of this necessity, don’t forget breakfast… we received a breakfast casserole that was awesome!

3. Vicoden, Peri-Colace (stool softener), Simethicone (Gas X). I can not stress how much pain I was in, these three drugs got me through the day. DO NOT skip a dose, do not play a super-human, after all you are already a super-HERO!

4. Loose drawstring pants you can pull up over your incision. You will not feel sexy but you should feel as comfortable as possible, get at least two pair.

5. Steal the hospital underwear, as many as you can. Yes, the huge, unattractive, mesh granny panties… they will fit above your incision, won’t be tight and will be comfortable.

6. A massage therapist that will give you a side-laying massage as soon as you can stand it. Clear it with you doctor first and then get one every week for the first couple of months. Trust me, your back will have never felt worse after giving birth, walking around bent over and learning to hold and nurse your baby. You NEED to find the time to be pampered!!

I hope this helps, it has really helped me to write it! Good luck and God speed!

They Don’t Call it Labor for Nothing!

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Beckett Michael Sherrill was born on Wednesday, May 2nd at 10:06pm, a healthy weight of 8lbs 11oz and 20″ long. My husband and I can not be more proud of what we’ve created and are basking in all the glorious things parenting has to offer.

It started like this…

5/1/12

12:00pm: My mother arrives into town, scheduled, for the day after my due date, May 1st. When I pick her up from the airport we have a good laugh about how my baby boy is not here yet, and that my doctor jokingly told me the week before that my cervix had only began to dimple and the baby’s head was only slightly further down the birth canal from the previous week. He mentioned something about mid-May that I tried to ignore, and that was that! This baby was taking his sweet time. I brought mom home to get settled in.

3:00pm: We decide to head up to our local Burger Lounge for an early dinner, and as we’re finishing up I head to the restroom to relieve myself. OMG!! I lost my mucous plug!! I run out to share the news with my mom who was super excited (lol). We hurry home to do some research. Turns out my elation could be premature, the mucous plug can come out anywhere from two days to two weeks before birth. I try not to be discouraged, after all something was happening!

5:00pm: My mom and I head out for a walk with my boys, Brody and Tate. This is something I have grown really fond of, enjoying time outside with my pups, in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in San Diego. It is really amazing how much you can appreciate the little things in life when you are forced to slow down. We walk, walk, walk hoping for headway.

11:00pm: CONTRACTIONS!! “Yooooooooow, Kelly Clarkson!” I quickly check the clock over the next few hours, contractions are around twenty minutes apart. I think labor is happening…

5/2/12

2:00am: I move myself into the living room as contractions are getting closer together, no need for my husband to suffer a horrible night’s sleep, I need him on his A-GAME today. I fumble around on my iPhone until I find a suitable app to manage my progress, I use Contraction Master.

7:00am: My husband wakes up and I update him on the situation. “We’re gonna have a baby and it’s going to happen soon!“My mom wakes up and she’s excited to hear that things are moving along. Panic sets in for my husband who quickly downs a cup of joe and starts getting things together for our hospital stay. My bag is packed and there is a checklist taped to the door. Contractions are approximately seven minutes apart, I shower and struggle to put myself together.

9:00am: We are packed and ready to go. My contractions are still all over the board. One seven minutes, then four, then three, then seven, then five… they are averaging five minutes apart though, so I call triage at Mary Birch Hospital for Women. The nurse I speak to on the phone suggests I stay home for a couple more hours and see if my contractions get more consistent. I’m stressed out (to say the least), in pain and sleep deprived. This was not the answer I had hoped for.

9:15am: Against the nurses advisory, we are heading to the hospital. I was prepared to be sent home if I was being too cautious, but piece of mind is what I needed right now. What I failed to mention to the nurse, was that I was concerned about how much fluid I was losing, clear-ish, stained pink. Hours earlier I had read in What to Expect that you can experience what they call a bloody show and that this was normal. What was described in the book looked like what I saw in my soaked maxi pad, so I guessed everything was par for course.

9:30am: We check into triage and low and behold that fluid I was losing was my water bag that had broken. The nurse described to me that the situation was likely that my bag had broken high in my stomach (instead of low, where it would have gushed out) and that essentially, my water was only spilling over every time I had a tough contraction. NEVER EVER doubt your intuition, you know your body and you’re probably right! Go to the hospital when you’re ready!

11:30am: Matt and I are checked into our labor room and I receive my epidural within the hour. Life is good better!

1:00pm(ish): A handful of nurses rush into the room, without explanation I am spread open, my doppler heart rate monitor that was placed across my abdomen is replaced by an internal heart rate monitor that is inserted and placed on the top of my baby’s head (yes, while still in my womb). I look to Matt to explain what is happening in my haze of drugs and delirium. Searching his face provides no answers, it shows only the same worry and fright that I am feeling, tears stream down my face. Something is wrong. Bradycardia, my baby’s heart rate dropped below the acceptable range of 110-160 bpm and something was depriving him of oxygen. As the nurses hustle around and get things under control, in what seemed like the longest three or so minutes of my life, they explain to me what they believe to be happening was that his umbilical cord was either knotted, wrapped around his neck or he was simply laying on it when I turned to my left side.

2:00pm: My cervix is dilated to 5cm and completely thinned out.

3:00pm+: The next several hours pass by slowly, we wait for progress. Several different levels of Pitocin are administered to help dilate my cervix. I try without success to turn once more to my left side and we experience the same bradycardia as before, cementing in the fact that I can not move off my sore right side. For nearly seven hours we wait, and nothing good is happening. In the end, I dilate to 6.5cm before my cervix begins to swell, closing my cervix slightly. There are no guarantees in childbirth and any expectations you may have, you better be willing to throw out the window for the health and safety of your baby and yourself. Birth plan or no plan, your way will be mapped out as you travel it.

9:15pm: Twenty three hours in labor and the doctor informs me that it’s time for a Cesarian Section. I had to know it was coming, I knew the (lack of) progress as the day wore on. Exhausted, sleep-deprived and uncomfortable, I break down, defeated. Tears fly out of me with wild abandon. Matt tries to console me and tell me I will be fine. I know that these surgeries happen all the time, but logic was not something I could find in this situation. I sign the documents.

9:30pm: I am prepped, drugged and ready for surgery. This is truly all a blur and seemed to happen in an instant. I am afraid, shaking, unsure of how this will pan out. There is a sheet literally two inches from my nose and my husband sits beside me. They call for the incision. I do not feel pain. What happens next can only be described as someone wrestling an alligator out of my stomach, tugging, pulling, resistance, so much pressure, SO MUCH PRESSURE you can’t breathe, and then, release. Twenty or so minutes and my baby is brought into the world.

10:06pm: My son is pulled from my abdomen and we wait, wait to hear his cry, wait to know that he is breathing… we wait thirty to forty seconds, and there it is, the sweet sound of success. I will survive this, and so will my son. Happy Birthday Beckett!

We Made It… 40 Weeks!

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I must admit, I didn’t think I’d see this day. From the very first ultrasounds, after measuring my little dude, the nurses and technicians have questioned my due date. They ranged wildly from four days to two weeks larger than expected. I insisted that my period date was close to correct so they kept my original due date, based on my own calculations. THANK GOD! Because if I was sitting here, still pregnant, after moving my due date sooner, I’d really be going out of my mind. My doctor has reminded me several times that first-time mothers often go over their due dates, and that patience is the only thing he can prescribe. None the less, call it wishful thinking, or maybe because my mom delivered 3 children early and my sister 2 of 3 early, or maybe because I was told over and over what a big boy I had brewing, or simply a case of wanting to meet this little guy so badly, I sit here today able to write this post, one day overdue. NO CONTRACTIONS, NO LABOR PAINS, NO SIGNS that this will even be happening soon. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my doctor and another ultrasound to see how things are looking. I’d love to not make that appointment, but for now, it stands.

Matt and I are both very excited that we will be giving our son the best chance at a good run at baseball, should he like the sport. The age cut-off date for little league is 4/30, so he’ll potentially be the oldest kiddo on the team. I only mention this because if you have read Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes a pretty good point about planning for your children’s success in sports based on birthdays (as if we could plan for these things anyways). Just trying to find the silver lining, as I wait another day, sleep deprived, uncomfortable and unable to control my anxiety about labor. Yikes!!

A good read: http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Maternity Photos

It is safe to say, that at 35 weeks, I was not exactly feeling super sexy in this pregnancy bod. But it wasn’t a minute sooner that I thought about the idea of actually taking some maternity photos, and forever documenting this curvaceous figure on high gloss. Hmmm… quite the conundrum. As I began to process the time and energy it would take to execute this photo shoot, I got discouraged and almost threw in the towel.

“No, Diane. You’re doing this! It’s your first baby, and you’ll regret not having them.” Love my little pep-talks …ok, where to begin?

Most people I know that have done this sort of shoot hire a professional to pose them and get some flattering light on all the right places. With five weeks til my due date, I didn’t have time on my side and scheduling out a few weeks was really out of the question. Not to mention that spending a couple hundred dollars on photos that I would likely look and feel puffy and piggy in didn’t sound that enticing either. Luckily, my hubby and I spent a small fortune on a nice camera a couple of years back and surely, with the right person behind the lens, we could get a few good shots on the auto settings.

Enter, Joy, my BFF and jack-of-all-trades. She agreed to the challenge and willingly came over to my house, supporting another one of my crazy ideas without any objections. I had a slew of photos I found on the web that I wanted to try to emulate and that is where the afternoon began. My husband would poke his head in to laugh and make fun with a few comments throughout the afternoon, but in all seriousness, I think we got some good ones (with minimal help from Photoshop, wink, wink).

My suggestion to anyone wanting these kind of photos for themselves in the future, try scheduling during your seventh month. Hoping and praying for a good day, without puffiness, skin problems, back problems, moodiness, etc. near the end is risky. I feel like I got EXTREMELY lucky at 36 weeks prego.

Joy, I really can’t thank you enough, you are amazing and we (me and baby) are so grateful to have you in our life. xoxo

The rest of the best: http://babysherrillmakes3.shutterfly.com/pictures/109

My inspiration: http://kellyhicksdesign.com/2011/04/hannahs-materity-photos/

Packing for the Hospital

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This was actually a lot harder than I would’ve imagined, then again, I could just be making harder than it will actually be. In any case, I asked my friends and read through plenty of online information to come up with my bag-o-tricks. The question I asked myself was “how can you make yourself comfortable in, likely, one of the most uncomfortable situations in your life?”

Every hospital is different and will provide you with different amenities. I started my journey with a trip to the hospital, a tour of Mary Birch. I am extremely happy that I decided to do this, not that I felt I had a choice, my doctor scolded me for not doing it sooner. It was great seeing where everything was, checking out both the labor and recovery rooms and in general, just getting my bearings. The tour guide provided ample time for questions and answered many of my concerns I had about the process. We were also provided with a packet (which I’m sure I had received before) with loads of useful information about what the hospital offers before, during and after the birth of your baby.

Here is the list they provided of packing suggestions:

Robe and slippers, 2-3 pairs of pajamas, favorite music CD, a watch with a second hand, sour candy on a stick, lotion for massages, item for back massage to help reduce stress, lip balm, childbirth handbook, nutritious snacks for your partner, warm socks – at least 2 pairs, going-home outfit for baby, going-home outfit for mom (5-7 month pregnant size), list of important phone numbers, change for vending machine, clips for hair/ headband, a fan, paper and pencil, camera and/or video camera, extra pillows with colored pillowcases, cell phone and charger, receiving blanket, installed car seat, nursing bra, breastfeeding book, nursing gown, hair care, toothbrush and toothpaste, contact lens and/ or glasses.

My favorite suggestions from friends (in addition to a lot of those mentioned above):

Water spray mist in a can (I chose PM Awapuhi Moisture Mist), goodies for mommy for after delivery (Milk Duds definitely made the cut), including something good to drink (Gatorade), pj’s, robe, underware in black (get it? got it. check.), toilet paper that I like (Cottonelle flushable wet wipes), change of clothes for hubby and a laptop (iPad loaded with movie rentals).

A few things I came up with on my own, but think will be helpful:

Sound soother, ear plugs, eye cover, photo copies of my driver’s license and insurance cards, travel hair dryer and some make-up (and definitely more than just the few toiletries mentioned above).

I’m sure I will be over-packed but if I’m being honest, that is the way I like to travel. Well, my bag is officially packed and I’m ready to go, just waiting on you know who…