Sunday, May 23, 2010

Growing...

This first week has gone by so quickly. I'm not really aware of time any more, as our schedule revolves around a little girl's appetite :) (which is a pretty big one). It seems we have also centered our lives around eating and sleeping, much like a baby. Those are the two things we try to make the time for, even when we don't have time to do anything else. Feeling the warmth of Mirabel's little body against mine when I rest her head near my heart, or taking in her sweet baby smell when she's sleeping in my arms makes it all worth it, though! And I still can't believe she's mine sometimes. I lover her so much!

...Doesn't this little dress look familiar ;)?
Jose's been a huge help (I'm so thankful she came before his internship started) and I wouldn't have been able to make it through the week without him. Somehow (probably from lack of sleep ;), my asthma flared up pretty badly with a cold, then it turned into bronchitis. The hacking cough wasn't fun and unfortunately I passed my cold/virus along to Jose, but we've been able to make it through together! And I'm slowly learning how to gracefully accept the unexpected and forget about being perfect...



For instance, my desire to continue nursing Mirabel is still stronger than my tolerance for pain, but I'm beginning to feel myself wanting to bottle feed. I feel terribly guilty for that. The temptation is actually centered on health reasons (bleeding and cracking is quite painful!). When Mirabel was first born, she had to head off to the NICU--where they refused to let me nurse her for the first day because of her breathing issues. She also developed jaundice, and at the time I was not able to provide enough liquids for her so they supplemented with formula (they push liquids on jaundiced babies). Introducing a bottle to a newborn makes things a little complicated, as they get used to it and have a hard time adjusting to being breastfed. I never planned on having a baby that needed to be in the intensive care unit for the first few days of her life (does anyone, really?). I imagined that I would feed her right when she was born (and that I'd have an easy quick labor--haha! Funny what we imagine!).

My "plan" was set, or so I thought. I bought the nursing books, special nursing pillows, read all the information that I could, and met with a lactation consultant (actually, a couple). I even watched YouTube Videos--I was so determined to get it right! Honestly, I still am. But there are moments when the burning/throbbing pain is so bad that I just give her formula, and I feel so guilty afterward. In fact, I feel more guilty about that than I ever have about anything else! I'm trying to be reasonable but logic doesn't exist when the guilt sets in. My expectations for myself are unrealistic, that's what I have to accept. Right now I'm having to weigh what's best for the both of us and not let guilt be what influences my decision. I tell myself that in the end, it's what I offer her emotionally that matters the most and that I am not a failure if I have to give up breastfeeding because of the damage it's causing my body.

This really isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Even when it comes to being a mom, I can only do my best and that's it. Maybe I should even say "especially when it comes to being a mom". Isn't that one of the toughest and also one of the most amazing roles a woman can have? It's also the role no one has to try out for, so we are bound to be mistakes or get a few lines wrong!

I know I still have so much to learn as far as parenting goes. I have a feeling I'll have to give myself a few more of these self-talk/reality-checks as Mirabel grows up. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

My real life doll is home :D

It feels so good to be back home! Thankfully, it turns out Mirabel didn't have an infection in her lungs, just a little fluid and that cleared out. She is a bit jaundiced and has a small murmur, so the doc will be monitoring her and we are hopeful that her health will quickly improve, as these two issues are fairly common.

She's not even home an hour and I'm already putting little flowery things in her hair! It all still seems pretty surreal (but it felt real during labor! ;). When I look at her, I think "that came from me?!". The wait is over and it feels so good to finally have this little girl in our lives. Jose is such a dedicated father :D. A friend of mine mentioned that you fall in love with your husband all over again when he becomes a dad, and I think she's right. I haven't quite decided who I think she looks like most. Sometimes she looks the way I did when I was a baby, and other times I see a mini version of my husband. I'd say she's a nice blend of the two of us.

Mirabel's a fun girl and, so far, a fairly calm and content baby...but watch out, when she's hungry she can hit notes Mariah Carey can't even reach :). We're still getting to know her and every day we learn a bit more about her and about ourselves as parents. For instance, I haven't been sleeping much these past few days but somehow I have the energy to keep on going without a nap :). She only kept us up one night at the nicu, but that was because I didn't realize she was still hungry. After we figured out that she likes to go to bed stuffed, bedtimes aren't in the AM hours ;).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mirabel is here!

Thursday night was a fairly quiet one. Hubby and I decided to stay in, I was watching "The Perfect Dress" on TLC for about 3 hours (which is funny because I never watch TV for that long). Around 4 pm I started getting contractions that seemed a bit different from my typical ones. They were more painful and could be defined as standard labor contractions. This continued every 15 minutes or so for the next 4 or 5 hours. Around 9, things started progressing a bit more, and at this point I was pretty sure it was labor. They started getting so bad and close together, I had trouble standing. So even though the hospital was only about 1 mile away from home, we headed on over any way. When we got there, I was contracting so much and so frequently, the nurses thought I'd soon deliver. Funny thing is, the contractions just stopped and the doctor told me they were just braxton hicks! I begged to differ and told her that my BH contractions never felt that intense; I know what braxton hicks feel like because I'd been having them for months! So the doctor on call at the hospital called my OB, who wanted me to stay over night for monitoring. I LABORED all night (not braxton hicks). When I first arrived at the hospital, I was only about 2.5 cm dilated, by morning I was only about 3.5. Luckily, my doctor paid me a visit on Friday morning. She agreed that I was in labor but that I wasn't progressing the way she wanted me to, so she broke my water... and that's officially when game time started!

So I thought the contractions were painful...little did I know they would only become unbearable after the breaking of the water. OH. MY. GOSH. Seriously?! I was becoming delusional. It was morning and I'd only slept about 15 minutes that entire night because of the contractions. Every time a contraction would come on, I felt like vomiting and I got very, very hot. It was so frustrating because I really wanted to have a "natural" childbirth experience, but I really didn't have the energy. I gave up and realized I had nothing to feel guilty about; for pete's sake, they call it labor for a reason! I figured out the reason ;). But, to my disappointment, the doctor didn't want to give me an epidural until I was at least 5 cm dilated. I cried. Literally. I looked at Jose and said "help me!" and then I'd say "God help me" and then I'd just say the "Our Father" over and over, to help me focus. I was pretty crazy. I even went so far as to pour ice water on my face when a contraction hit. So every other contraction was followed by "Water!" or "Ice!". Poor Jose, what a trooper, he kept up and gave me whatever I asked for. He tried massaging my head but all I wanted was water and ice...oh yeah, and he had to resort to fanning me with a pillow every time a contraction hit. He was awesome and I love him all the more for his support.

By the time I was able to get the epidural, I'd already dilated past 5 cm! In fact, 30 minutes after they gave me the epidural, my doc came back from doing a c-section and said "it's time to push!". Those were the words I never thought I'd hear! I was so out of it, I literally thought maybe she was joking. I didn't see an end to the labor, I wasn't thinking clearly at all. But what JOY and RELIEF the word "push" brought to me. This was my light at the end of the tunnel! Jose was elated and I was still delusional, but somehow, after just 15 minutes of pushing, I managed to get our baby girl out! I gave it all I got, pushed with all I had (which didn't seem like much, but somehow I did it) and she came out with a bang and beautiful cry. It was quite the experience!

Unfortunately, she wasn't "pinking up" as quickly as they wanted her to, and her breathing patterns were a bit off...so after holding her for just 3 minutes, she was whisked away to the NICU. They said that she has Transient Tachypnea, but last night they were able to take her off oxygen and she's doing really well now. We won't get to take her home until monday, because they want to be sure she doesn't have an infection, but we are happy that she has improved and hasn't experienced any other complications. She eats well and doesn't cry much at all, only when she's hungry or not swaddled :). She's such a sweet baby and loves being held...which is a good thing because we love to hold her. Our petite little Mirabel came into this world weighing only a whopping 6 pounds, 6 ounces; she's 17.9 inches long. I think she looks like a little ballerina. She's adorable!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not yet... :)

She still hasn't made her grand appearance! But our new doc decided to do an ultrasound last week and this is what we got :D (no scanner here in Houston, so the pic is a little blurry from having to photograph it). I was really happy because I wanted one of these 4-D ultrasounds soooo badly, thankfully I got one. Mirabel is so camera shy, just like her dad. She always has her hands over her face. Her nose looks a little funny, I think she got my mushroom nose haha :D. She's got a tiny bit of hair and measured at 6 pounds 4 ounces at 38 weeks, which is what I weighed at birth (40 weeks). It looks like she'll be little like me, but we shall see (hopefully sooner than later!).

The not-so-good news is that my amniotic fluid levels are measuring "borderline". The doc set up another ultrasound for my actual due date. If the fluid levels have dropped more, then I will need to be induced. Not exactly looking forward to pitocin contractions, but at least that means I will probably be holding Mirabel next week! AHHHH! I am SO SO excited, and that is an understatement. We are so ready for her! All the baby showers are over and we picked up the final necessities yesterday, we're good to go :).

This is the cake from this weekend's shower, the top part was gluten-free :)!

Mother's day was really special this year. I wasn't expecting anything but Jose gave me such a sweet gift. Awhile ago, I mentioned that I really wanted to buy the Beatrix Potter Fairy Tale Collection. I said it just once, pretty briefly, but Jose remembered. Below is what I found on the kitchen table on Mother's Day morning...

Happy Mother's Day to all of the sweet women out there who've either birthed or adopted children, or have loving hearts :).



I'm tempted to say that the next post will be a birth announcement with plenty of pictures, but, gosh, this little girl is not showing any signs of coming out any time soon! :P Come out, Mirabel!

 

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