Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maternity Clothes and Time. . .

Tonight, I packed away my maternity clothes. In a way, it was nice getting rid of the shirts that looked like I could had a small army under it. But, in another way, it made me sad. It reminded me that time really does fly. When we found out we were pregnant and told my folks, my mom took me shopping for my first maternity pieces. That feels like it was last week, even though it was last July. I know for some women, they hate being pregnant. Hate watching their bellies grow. Miss seeing their feet. Detest wearing tents for clothes. But, I loved everything about it (well, the bed rest in the last month was painful, but I digress). I loved knowing that my body was protecting this tiny miracle. And, when you think about conception. . .pregnancy really is a miracle.
My mom took me out shopping for some transition pieces (working my way back into regular clothes). I didn't want to continue wearing my maternity clothes, for fear of someone asking when I was due! But, wouldn't you know it, everything in the stores look just like maternity clothes! Who knew it was so chic to look pregnant?!?!
I also put away a couple of Ellie's newborn outfits, since she is growing (lengthwise) out of them. Once again, I cried.
Sometimes, I think of all the things I need to do (laundry, file papers, straighten house, etc.) when Ellie is having her "I want to be held" moments. I have to remind myself that one day, she will want to pretend she doesn't even have a mother! Motherhood is making me slow down and appreciate the small things in life. Like, when Ellie makes funny faces when she sleeps. Or, when we have tummy time and she gives me a huge smile.

March 2008

Ellie is not gaining weight. I feel bad saying this because she entered the world weighing over 10lbs and looks very healthy, but it is a cause of concern. The doctor wants to measure all that she intakes, so I have to pump and document how much she eats and how many wet/dirty diapers she has. When I google how breastfeeding moms know how much their babies are eating, experts say it depends on their output. Well, Ellie is doing just fine in that department! We were fortunate to receive boxes of diapers as shower gifts; we are flying through them! But, I have to take her to the pediatrician every two days for another weigh in. And, she keeps losing weight. It's distressing. A friend of mine is an anatomy professor (thank goodness, since he was my "phone a friend" whenever I had pregnancy questions). He said that Ellie was born with lots of brown fat and was fine. That was very reassuring, since the pediatrician's office was more concerned about it.
We have started calling Ellie "Nicole Richie", since she isn't eating and cries whenever she gets on the scale. Well, she also started vomiting after eating. Not spitting up. Projectile vomiting. Artie fed Ellie and she vomited 2 feet and nailed me (at about 2 in the morning----what everyone wants to deal with at 2am!) So, when we told the doctor this, she thought maybe Ellie had pyloric stenosis, so we had to go to Children's Hospital for an ultrasound. Turns out, she didn't have it. I feel bad saying this, but I almost wished she did. Then, we could do a little surgery and Ellie would be better. Unfortunately, we are still trying to learn why Ellie isn't eating.
This month was Ellie's first holiday---Easter. Mimi and Oppa came to town to celebrate. We took Ellie out to her first restaurant (IHOP). Words cannot describe how much I love IHOP. In fact, it was the last place I ate before I had Ellie! (Sidenote: I had to fast from midnight until after 1pm when I had Ellie. I'm not one to complain or anything, but that was harder than childbirth!) Anyways, I LOVE it when Mimi and Oppa come to town----they totally take over with Ellie. Artie and I catch up on our sleep and just relax.
At the end of the month, Ellie had even more spoiling! Auntie Amy and Uncle Sandy came to visit so Aim and I could see "Avenue Q" (HYSTERICAL!). Auntie Amy also took over for us, since she is a pro at babies. Uncle Sandy and Artie babysat for Ellie while we were at the play. They looked like an "alternative lifestyle" couple (not that there is anything wrong with that), but Ellie survived "My Two Dads". Ha ha!!! I know Ellie was sad to see them go, as were we, since it reminded me of the fact that my best friend lives far away from me. :(

February 2008

We brought Ellie home on Sunday with no instruction book. BUT, we did get something better----Mimi (my mom) stayed with us for the week. It was so great to have someone who knew how to bathe a baby in the kitchen sink. . . wasn't exhausted from childbirth. . . could ask intelligent questions of the pediatrician, etc. I HIGHLY recommend having your mom stay with you if you are giving birth in the future. Oppa (my dad) even stayed a couple of extra days (something about him not being able to stay away from Ellie). I must confess that when my parents pulled out of the driveway, I stood on the front porch holding Ellie and bawling my eyes out. How was I supposed to function as a mom all by myself? I thought about how my mom lived in Hawaii when I was born (thousands of miles from her mom) and was by herself with me a week after I appeared (daddy had Army stuff to do). But, she survived as a new mom and I did too!

Artie and I learned that we need to stay one step ahead of Ellie at all times. We learned her sign that she was hungry (starts gnawing on her hands), her facial expression when she makes a dirty diaper, and how she will cry very hard if her diaper is even slightly wet. We got Ellie on a routine (asleep at midnight, up at 3 to eat, up at 6 to eat again and start the day). Mommy and Daddy learned (kicking and screaming along the way) how to survive on a couple of hours of sleep.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Delivery Day

We checked into the hospital at 11am on Feb. 20th. The two hours before the c-section flew by. I felt sad to know that I had protected her for 9 months and now I would have to share her with the rest of the world. But, I knew that everyone else was excited about meeting her.
After three epidurals, I was strapped to the operating table. Artie came in dressed in a head to toe surgical outfit! The operating room was very relaxed---music was playing. . . the doctors were joking with each other. Then, my OB said "I've got a foot." At 1:36pm, the OB lifted Flash over the curtain so I could see her. My first words "God, she is huge!" Artie went to cut the cord and take a million pictures of her. Unfortunately, Flash had low blood sugar, so they had to give her formula immediately. All this occurred while I was getting stitched up. When I was finally moved to the recovery room, I had to pry her from everyone else just so I could hold her! On the way to the hospital, we finally agreed on Flash's name. We thought about Ansley Grace, Grace Elizabeth and Elizabeth Grace. We always liked Ellie as a nickname, so we decided Elizabeth Grace.
Ellie's first days on earth went by in such a blur. I remember she had jaundice and wasn't eating well. I was exhausted and wasn't eating well. Like my doctor said, "A hospital is no place for sick people!" We came home on Sunday and the real fun began!

Third Trimester

The third trimester included attending wonderful baby showers and doing last minute obsessing. It also included preeclampsia and being on bed rest for a month before Flash was born!
I went to the doctor's office the first Friday in February. My BP was through the roof, my protein in my urine was high and I was swollen like a giant marshmallow! The doctor admitted me to the hospital and said that there was a strong chance that they would have to get Flash that night, if I couldn't get the BP down. I had a fantastic nurse who got the BP down, so the doctor sent me home on strict bedrest. My folks came into town to help us get the house and nursery ready for Flash. I felt so lazy lying on the couch counting kicks while my parents did my nesting for me, but they assured me that they were happy to help.
A week later, I had an ultrasound to make sure everything was alright with Flash. Imagine my surprise that Flash was breech and weighed approximately 9 pounds (and I had two weeks left before delivery)! A week later, Flash was up to 10 lbs and was about 21 inches long. The doctor said that we needed to schedule Flash's birthday---she was going to be born via c-section. Nothing is more bizarre than selecting your daughter's birthday!

Second Trimester

The second trimester was pretty uneventful. Well, we did have one issue. In October, I had some cramping and bleeding. My doctor admitted me to the hospital for observation and testing. Artie and I were on pins and needles waiting to hear her heartbeat. My doctor showed up at 1am to check on me. After reviewing the results and checking me out, the doctor sent me home to rest. And rest I did! :)
The rest of the trimester consisted of us trying to figure out how we wanted to decorate Flash's nursery (all the cute nursery decorations were for little boys!), ordering furniture, reading baby books and obsessing about the pregnancy.

First Trimester

Artie and I wanted to wait until the first trimester was over to tell anyone the big news, but I HAD to tell my parents. So, we went to visit and brought them a gift that we got them on our trip to Pensacola. It was a frame with baby ducks on it and, inside the frame I put a note that said "Picture due to develop in February 2008." My parents were stunned, to say the least. You have never seen two people more excited to be grandparents in your life! I made them promise to keep things under wraps until August, which was torturous for them.
The first weekend in August, we had everyone over to my parents and announced the good news to them. Naturally, they were stunned. Two days later, Artie and I had to go to a perinatal specialist. Unfortunately, we received horrible news. Flash had cystic hygroma (a watery tumor) and didn't have a good prognosis. There was a 65-70% chance the hygroma was caused by Down's or Turner's Syndrome. There was a 30% chance that it was caused by a genetic defect that would make Flash not make it very long. There was a less than 5% chance that everything would work itself out. We were so blessed when the genetic results came back all clear; Flash was just fine! Originally, we weren't planning to find the sex of Flash, but we knew 100% (due to genetic testing) that Flash was going to be a girl!
Other than that horrible event of cystic hygroma, I was very lucky to only have two bouts of morning sickness (once, after eating pasta too fast. The second event came from smelling Appalachian Chinese Food at a leadership retreat)!

Learning About "The Big News"

At the end of June, I went to my friend Karen's birthday dinner at a wine restaurant. Oddly enough, the wine just wasn't sitting well. So, I had to duck out of the party early. When I got home, I got online and chatted with my friend Brian. I mentioned to Brian that I was craving jelly beans, to which Brian asked how long I had been pregnant---ha ha. Just for kicks and giggles, I decided to take a pregnancy test (at about 11pm). Imagine my surprise when it came back positive! I ran into the study, where Artie was on the computer, and screamed at him "The stick is positive, but that can't be right because there is no way it can be positive because that means we are pregnant and that can't be right." Or, something like that. I was a BIT hysterical. Artie looked at me and said, "What are you talking about?" So, I calmed down a bit and told him we were pregnant. We ran back into the bathroom and looked at the stick. After realizing that the test expired the year before, I made Artie go out (at midnight) and get the expensive tests! Six tests later (all positive) it started sinking in that we were going to be parents. The seventh test in the morning confirmed that it was not a dream. The eighth test in the doctor's office solidified it for us----we were going to be parents! That night, I was a upset because I thought there was no way we ready to be parents. I mean, we didn't even have any baby names picked out! (Not like we would have 9 months to think of names, but you don't think about that when you are hysterical!). Artie told me that there was a name he wanted to name his little sister when she was born, but his mom said no. I thought it might be a family name or something, so imagine my surprise when Artie bent down to my belly and sang the Flash Gordon theme song (how many of you knew Flash Gordon HAD a theme song???)
And that began 9 months of Flash!