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14 Nov
This is part two…if you would like to first read part one, click here.

My bag was packed, my water was broken, and my contractions were a steady 5 minutes apart.  My husband and I headed down our street en route to the hospital.  During a surprising 6 minute break between contractions we briefly reflected on how our lives and our little family were going to change as a result of this little trip we were embarking on…those 6 minutes were the calm before the storm.  Somewhere between the suburbs and the highway my contractions went from 5 minutes to 1 minute apart without notice.  I had no choice but to climb out of my seatbelt and cling to the back of my chair. Eventually I found the courage to verbalize one of my bigger delivery fears to my husband, “I feel like I’m going to have this baby in the car.”

My husband nervously sped down I-25 at over 100mph {I had no idea at the time…all I knew was he wasn’t getting there fast enough}.  When I landed on the triage table on the Labor & Delivery unit I almost instantaneously heard the brakes click and the bed jolt over the room’s threshold…long florescent lights flashed over my head as I was rushed down the hall to an actual delivery room…the male triage nurse at my side denying me my epidural…denying me any and everything but  an all natural delivery…something I had NOT planned for.

I went to war with my body.  I did not want to cooperate.  I thought I was going to die.  Pain radiated through every muscle, every nerve, every cell in my body…I had never felt anything so intense or overwhelming.  I prayed through every contraction, every push, every short break…prayer was the only thing that got me through the situation that women {and ummmm, animals!} all over the world have experienced before…and so many of them, handled so much more effortlessly and beautifully than I could.

We have no idea what time we arrived at the hospital due to the mass chaos, but shortly after 2am my son was tucked safely in my arms.  It wasn’t a one push, no stress delivery, but my most important wish from my birth plan was granted.

I can’t believe a year has passed since that crazy night.  Today is the anniversary of the day I fell hard and fast for a boy…a toothless boy with a deeply receding hairline.  My heart has never been the same.

Happy 1st Birthday to my baby boy…

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.”

-Robert Munsch


Change of heart…

4 Aug

I have heard that August is breastfeeding awareness month and also that this is breastfeeding awareness week…I’m not sure which one is correct, but I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding, so I’ll consider this my contribution to the cause!

I haven’t always been the big supporter of breastfeeding that I am now.  I am modest almost  to a fault and the thought of exposing a breast to feed my child {even in the privacy of my home} seemed strange to me at one time.

As a new graduate working in the NICU, part of my job description was to assist  new mothers with breastfeeding when necessary.  At that time, I couldn’t leave a nursing mom’s side fast enough…I felt uncomfortable, so I would politely excuse myself citing respect of their privacy.

Our pediatrician provided us with this book at my daughter's fist visit. It's a great resource!

As a public health nurse,  I received countless hours of breastfeeding education before even seeing my first client.  My younger, child-less self  held back eye-rolls at some information provided by the lactation-Nazis, but somewhere between bonding and children’s health, they won me over.  I was on a mission to promote breastfeeding with my clients and for the first time felt very comfortable doing so.

The benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child are numerous {click here to read a research-based list of many of breastfeeding’s greatest benefits}. My favorites are the prevention of illness and reduction of SIDS {I’ve mentioned before how fearful I am of that}.

These days when people ask me if I am still nursing, I have to ask them to clarify what form of nursing they are talking about…feeding my child or caring for patients as a Registered Nurse?  My answer is “both.”  I am aiming to achieve the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to breastfeed for my baby’s first year of life {although not exclusively, solid foods should be started at about 6 months}.  I have done it once and I know I can do it again!

When it comes to doing what I think is best for my children, not even the fear of developing saggy boobs can stop me!  Having healthy children is well-worth any cosmetic consequence.  And, modesty??  I haven’t thrown that out, but a chubby baby laying across my lap provides a lot of coverage!

Is it colic??

24 Jun

The medical definition of colic is crying for 3 or more hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for a minimum of 3 weeks.  It’s called the rule of 3s.  Dr. Karp, the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, gives a parent’s definition of colic… “when a baby cries so much her poor mom needs three nannies, three margaritas, and…six hands!”

At Olive’s 2 month well-baby check, her pediatrician told my husband and I that if she cried for 6 or more hours straight after her immunizations that we needed to notify the doctor’s office so they could document a possible vaccine-related reaction.  My husband and I both commented “that sounds like every night at our house.”  The doc thought we were joking…she laughed and sent us on our way.

We loved these straight-jackets...I mean, swaddle blankets. No re-wrapping necessary. You get the swaddle right every time!

Yes, it was that bad.  When my husband was home from work we took turns holding Olive in the side-lying position, swaddled tightly, while shushing and swinging her, pacifier firm in her mouth…every night, all evening long.  Dr. Karp’s 5S method {that I raved about last week} worked wonders for us, but as soon as we would take a break, the screaming started again.  Our arms were tired.

The sleepy newborn phase didn’t really exist with Olive.  She was angry pretty much all day, everyday.  She hated her swing.  She hated her bouncy seat.  She hated rides in the car.  She hated her car seat {and still does}.  I changed my diet {vegetarians should omit all green veggies, right?} since I was nursing.  We tried every trick we could think of, we tried every contraption recommended.  Nothing worked…so we continued to stand with her, swaying her in our arms, everyday until she was 4 months old when it just stopped.  Just like that…no more colic, no more continuous screaming.  A happy, smiley, friendly girl emerged.  We were so thankful.

One thing that continued was Olive’s love for the swaddle.  We swaddled her for so long my husband and I joked that we would be teaching her roommate how to swaddle her when we dropped her off at college someday.  But, a hot summer with a southern-facing bedroom window broke Olive of her swaddle-habit when she was almost a year old.

I’m a believer…

15 Jun

I thought I had a lot of experience {compared to other non-mommies} in the baby department.  My little sister was born when I was 10 years-old and I loved “helping” take care of her.  In high school I was a lifeguard and taught swimming lessons.  I always tried to teach the beginners class because I just adored the little ones.  In college, I was a nanny for a darling baby boy.  In nursing school, I succeeded in having all of my clinical experiences surround babies and children except for one half-semester with adults {yuck!} and my labor & delivery rotation {♥}.  Once I was actually an RN, well… I’ve already talked about that…babies, babies, babies!!

So, I was completely shocked {and definitely not a believer} when I found myself in a nursing conference listening to this doctor speak about his discovery.  Dr. Karp was a wonderful speaker {a comedian, really}.  He had my attention from the beginning even though I was a skeptic.

He showed video clips of himself meeting with parents of “colicky” babies.  He did the most simple things…things that EVERY parent/babysitter/caretaker tries on a fussy/crying/furious baby.  Every time he was able to calm the baby.  EVERY TIME!!  I had tried the swaddling, the shushing, the pacifier, the rocking, and the position changes before…those things do not always calm a fussy baby…right?!?!

I left the conference room impressed by his skill, but almost annoyed by the “infomercial” I had sat through.  I felt like he was trying to sell something that was SO obvious and take credit for developing a calming method that was common sense.

Dr. Karp’s book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, made the required reading list at my job.  So, I read it….and I enjoyed it.  It was an easy read.  It had humor.  It had funny cartoon drawings.  I learned a lot, and I loved everything that I learned.

Within a few weeks, I found that I was able to calm my client’s babies during our visits with the 5S methods I learned from Dr. Karp’s lecture and from the book.  Although I had tried similar methods before, they were not the method.   I was a believer!

I re-read the book when I was expecting my daughter.  My husband read it too.  We were ready to use the methods only in the case of emergency.  We would never have a “colicky” baby….right?!?!

We had never been so WRONG!  More on that to come…

{P.S.  The Happiest Baby on the Block also comes in DVD.  I have seen it many, many, many times.  I prefer the book!}

Talk about a baby boom…

8 Jun

I know about 3o people who are pregnant at this moment {who knows how many more are waiting to break the big news too}.  These blossoming mamas are scattered all over the U.S….mostly people I went to college with and some from a Mom’s group that I belong to.  But, thirty!!!…really??  Is there a true baby boom or is it just in my circle?

When I was pregnant with my first little monkey, {as I like to call both of my children} my wonderful friend Jenny {not McCarthy}, told me about a book I had to read and she loaned me her copy.  It was, Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy & Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy.  This was a welcome distraction for me during my miserable bout with 24/7 nausea and vomiting {I can’t even bring myself to calling that “morning sickness”}.

I was never a huge Jenny McCarthy fan.  But, everything that I found unattractive about her in the past, I loved about her in this book.  She is so candid, animated, vulgar, uninhibited, honest, hilarious…I could go on and on and on.

Now, I am not proud to say this, but I am not a big reader.  Something must be really good or really important if I am going to read.  This was just really good.  I couldn’t put it down.  I read the book cover to cover in a couple of hours, laughing out loud, {and if you know me well, you know, I don’t laugh too easily} and even reading excerpts to my husband {he didn’t get it…it’s a book for pregnant gals, not squeamish baby-daddies}.

I’ll put it plain and simple:  this is a fun and easy read if you are comfortable with bathroom humor and bodily excretions/secretions.  However, it is not for the faint of heart.  Enjoy!!