Friday, April 29, 2016

Books I Read (March-April)

Prior to publishing this post, 
I found this article about how the "the internet is killing the book review." 

I thought for sure it would talk about how amateur people like myself shouldn't review books because we don't have the literary background to do it properly. 
Instead, it seems like everyone is too afraid of offending anyone, 
so there is a ridiculous amount of gushing when it's not necessary. 

Don't you worry though! 
I don't know a single author or wanna-be-author. 
My reviews are 100% honest. 


Speaking of 100%, 
100% of these books were read while I was still pregnant. 
I'm in the process of reading "All The Light We Cannot See
but it's slow going for now. 
I just renewed my library copy and extended my due date to May 19th, 
so hopefully I'll have it done by then!

In the meantime...


 
Me Before You 
by Jojo Moyes

I was inspired to read this book after seeing a movie preview, 
and my girlfriend exclaimed: "OH THAT'S A GREAT BOOK!" 

Was it? 
Eh. 
I think it will make an awesome movie, 
but as a book it was a bit slow. 
Sweet and sappy and sad, 
but slow. 
 I kind of struggled through it. 
Would I recommend it? 
I guess for a more patient reader than I, yes. 
But it just wasn't for me. 



 Attachments 
by Rainbow Rowell  

Disclaimer: I only made it 1/2 way through this book. 
It was a cute concept, reminding me a little of Where'd You Go Bernadette
except not nearly as good. 
It just didn't hold my attention, 
and when it came due again at the library, 
I returned it without finishing it.

If you happen to read this and find that the last 1/2 is worth a read, 
let me know and maybe I'll check it out again. 





Ready Player One 
By Ernest Cline 

I read Natasha's review of this book 
and immediately put it on hold at the library. 
It was just as she described it:
Totally captivating even for someone without a shred of video game interest or experience. 
(I imagine for someone who actually likes/understands games like World of Warcraft, this book would be a wet dream.)
 
The book is absolutely captivating and I found myself speed-reading through it. 
I just HAD to know how it ended. 
I love that it is DRAMATICALLY different than all the other books I've read recently. 
I needed it too. 
I was beginning to lose interest in reading but this one perked me right back up. 



 Wildflower 
by Drew Barrymore 

 This was a very simple and pretty book. 
I've read a fair amount of memoir / autobiographies by celebrities, 
and this was one of my favorites.
Her writing is so simple, like talking to a friend. 
And the stories have a way of finding the beauty even in the unpleasant. 
Very nice, easy read. 
And definitely makes me like her more.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oliver's Birth Story

If you remember from my Pregnancy Goals
I was really motivated for VBAC. 
We assumed that Aaron's massive size (10 lbs 5 oz) was the reason I was unable to push him out. 
So I worked really hard to gain less weight, in hopes of producing a smaller baby. 

And I did! 
30 lbs with Oliver vs 40 lbs with Aaron. 

Although my OB would have allowed a scheduled c-section up to a week before my due date, I opted to schedule my c-section a week AFTER my due date in the hopes of going into labor on my own. 
(Ha)


My due date came and went on Tuesday, April 12th. 
Zero signs of labor
Even Braxton Hicks seem to have subsided. 


5 days later, Sunday April 17th
Just another day of killing time. 
We took Aaron to the zoo and then the park. 
I did all our laundry and cooked a bunch so Adam and Aaron would have a stocked fridge while I was in the hospital that week. 


6:30pm and the labor pains started. 
They felt EXACTLY the same as with Aaron: dehydration pains
I started chugging coconut water and regular water. 
But the labor pains got worse fast
They were 3 minutes apart but no more than 30 seconds duration. 
I called my OB and she recommended I wait it out until contractions lasted 1 minute duration. 
Again, same as Aaron. 


The labor pains were getting more intense and by 8:00pm
Adam called his parents to come watch sleeping Aaron while we went to the hospital. 


By 9:30, we were at the hospital and I was basically screaming in pain. 
My OB checks me and.....
 I'm still only 1 cm. 

It was the moment I knew my body was not going to give birth the natural way. 
My OB absolutely agreed. 
The intensity of the contractions meant a risk to my prior incision if they waited for me to get to 9 cm. 
C-section it was! 


And so the c-section prep work began. 
Again, just like with Aaron, I was dehydrated 
and every time they tried the IV in a vein it would pop. 
Unbeknownst to me, Adam and his weak stomach were about to pass out at all this vein popping. 
Meanwhile I'm screaming for the anesthesiologist. 
Where the f**k was he?! 


All in all, it was not my finest hour. 
I screamed. 
I yelled. 
I told Adam to shut the f**k up. 
The nurses were trying to get me to calm down and breathe while I'm huffing:
 "I could have just had a c-section a week ago and avoided this WHOLE THING!
And 
"I am NEVER doing this again!  All future babies will be scheduled a week in advance!


Finally. 
FINALLY. 
They wheeled me into the OR and my BEST FRIEND IN THE WORKS (the anesthesiologist) began his life saving art of placing the epidural. 
Ahhhhhhhhhh. 
Relief. 
From that moment everything was outstanding. 
For the first time in hours I was calm and happy. 
Let the extraction begin! 


The c-section went exactly as it had with Aaron. 
Adam arrived and took his seat by my head. 
Curtain went up. 
I heard Oliver's cries before I even realized the surgery had begun. 
It was 11:07pm
I'm not a big crier but I did shed a few tears when I heard his cries.




Then we had our first hiccup. 
The pediatrician told us Oliver was breathing a little funny. 
Because the c-section doesn't allow all the mucus to be "squeezed" out of the baby like a vaginal birth, it can cause breathing issues as the mucus is trapped inside. 
The pediatrician said they would give him one hour to recover then if he didn't improve, he'd have to go to NICU for a day or two to be monitored. 


Ugh. 
The NICU. 
Ugh. 
It hasn't occurred to me that a full term baby might need the NICU. 


Because the maternity unit was overflowing that night, 
they sent me up a floor to the ICU to recover. 
My friend Erin had gone to the ICU after one of her kids and warned me the recovery time was much longer up there.  
I should have been upset but I really wasn't. 
I was so dead tired. 
Soooo tired. 
Plus, I was mentally preparing for the NICU, where I couldn't see my baby anyway, so there was no rush to get out of recovery. 
I was sound asleep in minutes. 
About an hour later, I woke up and asked the nurse if she could call up to see about the status of my baby.
 She did and reported back that he was breathing fine and was in the regular nursery. 
Hooray!!! 
Then I got antsy and wanted to leave. 


Finally around 1:15am
they wheeled me back to maternity. 
My parents and sister had arrived and were there to greet me. 


The nurses wheeled Oliver in and he was soooooo tiny. 
So so so tiny. 
Again, 7 lbs 10 oz is normal but for us with a 10 lbs baby... 7 lbs seems so tiny. 



I don't remember the details of what happened next. 
I know I nursed Oliver. 
I know my family got to hold him (and finally learn his name!). 
And eventually, sometime around 3:30am, Adam and I went to sleep. 


I'll say one thing, giving birth close to midnight is a terrible time. 
It's virtually no sleep that night and all the next day I was falling asleep at random times. 
I fell asleep sitting up in a chair at one point. 


The next morning, Aaron got the surprise of his life when he crawled into bed 
and found Mom Mom and Pop Pop there instead of mommy and daddy! 
He was confused but happy. 
We decided to try to keep Aaron's routine as normal as possible, 
so Adam's parents dropped him off at daycare for the day, 
visited us, 
then went back for him in the afternoon.

Aaron FINALLY got to meet his baby brother. 
He calls him "baby brother" exclusively, never Oliver. 



We had visitors off and on Monday and Tuesday. 
The evenings were difficult since I was alone while Adam was home with Aaron
Thanks to the c-section, I wasn't exactly jumping up and down for diaper changes, 
but also didn't want to send Oliver to the nursery for too long. 
Thankfully my dad stepped in and offered to stay with me both nights from 8pm-midnight. 
How my dad worked the next day is beyond me, 
but I was so grateful. 
After my dad would leave at midnight, I'd send Oliver to the nursery for ~3 hour stretch, 
and when they brought him back, he'd stay with me for the remainder of the night. 
It wasn't ideal, but it worked well. 


By Wednesday, I was ready to go home. 
When Adam arrived after daycare dropoff, I was showered and dressed for home. 
We were out by like 10am. 


And that's that! 
That is Oliver's birth story. 
And Aaron's birth story is here

As I've been telling people: 

My body can grow a baby. 
My body can nurse a baby. 
But my body can't birth a baby. 
Good thing I live in the 21st century! 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Newborn Memories

There are SO MANY things I want to remember. 
My mind is on overload trying to capture it all. 
And I'm sad that I'll forget 90% of it, 
because clearly that's what happened with Aaron. 


So excuse me while I pour out a list of memories of this first week. 
Things that I don't ever want to let go of. 
Or perhaps just NOT FORGET again. 
The sweet. 
And the terrible. 

***

OLIVER IS SO TINY. 

I realize 7 lbs 10 oz is a normal baby. 
But compared to our 10 lbs 5 oz baby Aaron... 
Oliver seems so miniature

We've borrowed a ton of newborn outfits from my sister-in-law, 
and of course my mother-in-law helped with a few shopping trips. 

I can't adequately describe his tininess. 

His ity bity teeny tiny head. 
The miniature newborn diapers. 
His flailing little arms and legs that are shockingly strong. 

I say it a dozen or more times a day: 
He's just so... TINY. 



***

The postpartum pooch is no joke. 

I remember the deflated pillow belly feel. 
But what I don't remember is the belly HANG. 
Like the fat that kind of hangs down and jiggles. 
Did I have this last time? 
I don't remember. 
It's so awkward wearing shirts too. 

Too big and I just look like a tent, 
but anything less than a tent clings to the awkward parts of the pooch hang. 
Even my maternity shirts are horribly unflattering. 

Very seriously thinking of investing in a postpartum band to hold it all in. 

***

Nursing again brings up all the FEELS. 

Of course nursing also brings up crackled nips 
and round-the-clock wake times (more on that below), 
but OH MY THE FEELS. 

I'm not the kind of person who gets all mushy gushy, 
but when I nurse, 
all the feels of motherhood come bubbling up. 

The feelings of "how is he SO BEAUTIFUL?
The feelings of "can I keep this moment forever?
The feelings of "I'll do anything to make sure you are safe forever.
FEELS. 


***

Feet swelling. 

DEAR GOD THE FEET SWELLING. 
I was legit concerned about a blood clot. 
I borrowed compression socks from a friend 
and ahhhhhhh, 
much better. 
The cankles officially subsided exactly one week later. 
I woke up and "boom!" Normal feet! 

*** 

Aaron's sweetness. 

I know it won't last forever. 
I know someday the sibling rivalry will ensue. 
But in the meantime, I want to bottle the sweetness. 

Aaron addresses Oliver in this high-pitched voice I've never heard before. 
When Oliver cries, Aaron pets his head and says: 
"It's ok, baby brother, it's ok." 

He exclusively refers to him as "baby brother," never Oliver. 
He likes to hold him, though not for long. 
He is very inquisitive as to what is going on with Oliver. 
Diaper changes. 
Sponge baths.
Nursing. 

And when Oliver cries 
and Aaron runs to sooth him with "it's ok, baby brother, it's ok"
... 
THE FEELS. 




***

The first and second night home from the hospital SUCK BALLS. 

Aaron was an outstanding sleeper and immediately settled into his crib. 
Knowing we wouldn't be so lucky this time, 
we moved the Pack N Play into our room for the night. 
And STILL I never slept. 

The second night, Oliver woke up every TWENTY MINUTES, 
until 1:45pm, 
when I stopped putting him in the Pack N Play 
and just let him sleep on my chest. 
Then he slept 2.5 hours. 

This sleeping-in-our-bed makes Adam all sorts of twitchy nervous with smothering fears, 
but seriously, 
it was the only thing that worked. 

Night three saw some relief. 
Adam and I had a game plan of taking shifts in the rocker. 
But when we put Oliver down, 
he slept a solid 3-hour, 1-hour, and 2-hour. 
WHEW. 
Since then it's been about 2-3 hour stints, which is totally do-able. 

*** 

Watching one's husband with a newborn is just amazing
(Again with the feels)

I was a wee bit of a cranky pregnant wife. 
(Understatement.) 
I knew it. 
Adam knew it. 
Hell my coworkers knew it. 
Short temper, short patience. 
I just wasn't a pleasant wife. 


When I saw Adam holding Oliver in the hospital, 
it brought back all those amazing FEELS. 


When the hospital gave us our last night celebratory dinner 
(complete with sparkling apple cider, lol), 
all that mushy gushy sappy FEELS came bubbling up again. 

I'm tellin' ya, 
THE FEELS. 

***
 The first beer isn't that great. 

I was so looking forward to popping that Saturday afternoon cold beer. 
To enjoy Aaron's naptime with Adam chilling on the couch. 
But instead of that tiny subtle beer buzz, 
I got a MASSIVE HEADACHE that wouldn't go away. 
It was like an instant hangover. 
Ugh. 

***
I will never say the right name again. 

From the get-go, I'd say "Aaron." 
And even "William" (our kid swap kid) 
All before finally getting to Oliver. 

I suspect this will not go away. 
Ever. 



He's Here!

He's here!

Oliver Harold Cole was born via c-section at 11:07pm on Sunday, April 17th. 

7 lbs 10 oz. 



There's so much I want to write about with him. 


I want to write about his birth story
about his name
and about all these little parts of the first week that I'd totally forgotten about. 


Some of these things are sweet, adorable things I want to remember forever. 
Some things are more of the "holy crap, this sucks I forgot it sucks."  
But I want to try to remember it ALL. 


And with those lofty goals... 
excuse me while I probably go MIA again for a while!


Friday, April 15, 2016

WIDN - Pre-Baby Edition

Well after yesterday's breakdown post
I decided to take a happier approach. 
Please note that I am STILL in my psychotic, neurotic state
I'm just trying to PRETEND that I'm not.

Making
Blue Apron meals
Adam is a very... uh... limited cook. 
And I didn't stock the freezer this time like I did with Aaron. 
So we have opted to give Blue Apron a trial run. 
It's simple enough that Adam can follow the directions. 
Some meals are outstanding, 
some are just okay. 
But all in all, I'm LOVING the variety it's given us. 

Our favorite meal so far: 
Hoisin-Mayo Salmon Burger. 
UNBELIEVABLE. 



Drinking
Lemonade-Flavored Coconut Water. 
I've written about this in every Weekly Preggo Update, 
and it truly is the best shit ever. 


Reading
 All the Light we Cannot See
About halfway through it and have stalled a little, 
but overall it's a really good book 
and so far at least not as gut-wrenching as other Holocaust books I've read lately. 
(Ahem, The Nightingale, which still makes me cry!)


Wanting
Either this or this bathing suit for the summer. 
It's got the great full-coverage going on for postpartum belly, 
and I love a good strapless so I don't have to worry about awkward tanlines.



Watching
Netflix Documentaries
 Kelsey at Pardon My French alerted me to this wondrous world of documentaries a while ago, 
and they truly are as great as she says. 
The nature ones are great for insomnia nights. 
And the food-education ones are amazing for when I spare hour by myself and want to paint my nails or something with background noise. 
I've never been crazy about watching TV; 
it all feels very unproductive to me. 
But at least when I'm watching documentaries, 
I feel like I'm becoming a little more educated about the world around me. 


Listening to
Rachel Platten
I'm sure she's going to be a one-album-and-done-type-singer, 
but oh my do I love her music and her voice! 


Eating
Aside from our Blue Apron specials, 
I recently made this one-pot chicken-and-potatoes and it's become a family favorite. 
For someone who can't cook meat, it's not bad!



Smelling
Lavanila Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit
Yes, I'm on the Crunchy Bandwagon now. 
And after trying the horrible, no-good Toms of Maine deodorant, 
I finally splurged for Lavanilla and LOVE IT. 
I started with a sample size of vanilla, 
which I didn't particularly love the smell of. 
And then moved onto Vanilla Grapefruit which is soooo good.


Wishing
I could have a nice big glass of wine. 


Enjoying
Spring weather. 
It's really the perfect weather. 
Warm-ish during the day (high around 60) 
but cool at night so I can open the windows.


Loving
Bunmi Laditan on facebook
This is the woman behind the twitter feed "Honest Toddler." 
I haven't opened my twitter app in ages, 
but I discovered her on facebook 
and OH MY I LOVE HER. 
She's the perfect mix of serious and abso-freakin'-hilarious.


Needing
 This baby to come out. 


Wearing
These shoes by VISCATA Escala. 
I read about them in The Mom Edit 
and instantly knew I had to get them. 
They truly are as amazingly comfortable as she swore they were. 
(And that coming from a 10-month pregnant woman!) 
I also get so many compliments on them. 


Booking-marking
Cut-out shoulders and distressed jeans
The #1 theme of my pinterest outfits board
I'm absolutely loving this casual fun look.
I've ordered several distressed shorts from Nordstrom, 
all in their largest size so I can wear them as soon as possible postpatum. 
Of course, the glory of Nordstrom is that if I don't wear them postpartum, 
I can take them back anytime I want and

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Crazy Psychotic State



I swore I wouldn't be THAT person. 
I swore I wouldn't lose my mind on my last week of pregnancy. 


But it happened. 


I have entered that crazy, neurotic, psychotic state. 
The state where the due date comes and goes. 
And despite ALL OUR BEST EFFORTS 
(and trust me, lots of effort has been made), 
baby is still not here. 
Baby is not even CLOSE to being here. 
No false labor. 
Nothing. 
NOTHINGGGGGGG.


People who drink castor oil sound like crazy morons. 
Until I get to 40 weeks, 1 day pregnant. 
And then I'm googling whether the castor oil really works. 


I know that I have an end date for a scheduled C-section on April 19th. 
It should bring me comfort. 
But it doesn't. 


Buried beneath this psychotic state is the frustration that my body is going to let me down again
I worked SO HARD to gain less weight to attempt a VBAC
So if I did all that and nothing... 
It seems like all for naught. 
I want my body to at least TRY to go into labor on it's own. 
I know it's not up to me, it's up to the baby. 
And yada yada yada. 
So here I sit in my neurotic state. 
Just waiting. 
And waiting. 
And waiting. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

40 Weeks

40 Weeks. 
10 Months. 
Feels like 10 years. 
I can't remember NOT being pregnant. 
I can't remember the last time I could casually pop a beer on a Sunday afternoon. 
Sigh.


Doctor Appt - 39 Weeks
1 cm dilated
And cervix is 50% softened. 
So in short, no progress. 
But GOOD NEWS: 
I HAVE AN END DATE! 
April 19th will be my schedule C-section. 
That gives me one week past my due date to go into labor on my own and attempt VBAC. 
If after a week, my body still hasn't decided to evict this human, 
I think I'll be ready for the C. 



Baby Size
Jackfruit 
(wtf?)


Total Weight Gain
29.5 lbs 
(1.5 lbs week-on-week gain)

(-10.5 lbs with Aaron)


Sleep
Pretty good actually. 
Only one insomnia night this week. 
But my wakeup time has moved from 5:30am to 5am. 
Weird. 


Cravings
Lemonade-flavored coconut water. 
Please someone find this in an IV form. 


Symptoms of the Week
Super swollen feet. 
Tingly and itchy extremities. 
Minor Braxton Hicks. 


Movement
His little feet like to stick on the side and just hang out there. 
Like a stick permanently poking me. 


Still Running?
  Nope! 
I finally gave it up. 
Went for a run and there was so much pain I couldn't make it more than a driveway length. 
A friend told me her doc said she should be walking an hour a day at 40 weeks, 
so now I just commit to lots and lots of walking. 
We used to stop by the park on our way home from daycare, 
but now I go home, load Aaron up in his mini car, and push him there and back. 


Excited for
My Last Supper. 
Since I can't eat after midnight before my C, 
we are going to Maggianos and I'm ordering everything I've ever wanted.
I will eat and drink until 11:59pm. 
At that point, I should be stuffed to overflowing 
and be well prepared for a day of starvation on April 19th. 



General Mood
How to describe the feelings of a 10 month pregnant person? 

On one hand, I still feel physically pretty good. 
By now with Aaron, I was plagued with horrible backaches and headaches. 
I assume my lower weight gain, healthier food, and more active lifestyle are the reasons I do not feel such horrible ailments this time. 

On the other hand, I am so mentally done I cannot describe it. 
I am done with the "you're still here?!" questions. 
I am done with the "you're about to pop!" comments. 
I. just. want. it. to. be. over. already.






40 Weeks with Aaron here