Monday, May 21, 2012

A rainy Monday

We had a nice little rainy Monday around here after I picked up Luca. We played in our bouncer.. 

Sometimes we get very serious about play. This is our Baby Einstein bouncer, and I love how I can literally see Luca processing all that is around him. It's so cute.

We're getting bigger, but still not touching the ground with both feet! We'll get there:)

Luca's started to teeth, and we rotate between a few teething rings. He's getting better at grasping the ring and bringing it to his mouth, but the majority of the time he ends up licking the thing.

Most nights Luca will help me make dinner, and by help I mean sit in his bouncer or high chair and chew on something. Tonight, it's his favorite toy for Luca and turkey with sundried tomato for mommy and daddy.
And after dinner is prepared, it's bed time! No pictures of that, but it was pretty routine tonight- bath, story, nurse, in crib drowsy but awake. He has been rolling around a bit before he settles, and sleep is rough lately after his long early stretch. I don't want to jinx what little sleep we've been getting, so I'll move on...

After Luca was down, I looked out to my gardens and thought it might be a good chance to take some pictures of the hard work hubs did this spring. We still have huge plans for our gardens and yard, but things are looking ok so far.

Hubs picked up a few of these solar powered spotlights for our gardens this year. They don't put off a ton of light, but it's enough and I think they're cute.

And now? It's dinner, and some couch time before bed.

I don't mind rainy Mondays so much when I wake up to this little face!

(18 weeks old)

Five Months!

Get ready for photo overload.. I swear this isn't the intention I had for my blog, but I've turned into "that mom". You know, the one who always has a picture that you have to see. But seriously, you have to see these- my kid is the cutest.
Dear Luca,
I'm not sure I can even list the ways you've changed this month. You're so happy, your smile ignites a spark in my soul, and I miss you even when you're just sleeping in your room next door. You've discovered that you love the copy cat game- we stick out our tongue.. and so do you!
You've also discovered that you LOVE your feet! You're no longer in the swaddle, so we put you in a sleep sack at night. It's actually more like a baby sleeping bag- the DeeDee Sleep Nest, recommended by our friend Finn's Mom at oh!apostrophe. You love it, but you've started to try to grab your toes while you're sleeping and now Mommy has to make sure your toenails are really short, or you poke little holes into your sleep sack! You're very silly, little man.
Speaking of mommy.. I'm your number one fan! I love to kiss you and tell you you're the light of my life. You know the song "you are my sunshine"? Whoever wrote that song wasn't kidding, you're seriously my sunshine!

Five months!
You're growing SO FAST. I'm not sure what you weigh because we still have another month until your doctor's appointment, and Mommy has made a promise not to get obsessed with your weight. I actually weighed you for a while, but it fluctuated so much that I drove myself crazy and it wasn't worth it. So now my thoughts are that if you're growing and happy, I'm happy.

This month you started rolling over, and I caught your first time on camera! It was really special, and since then you've been practicing a lot!

I've been learning how to use my new camera, and I'm getting better at capturing your little spark on film. The weekends are your special time with Daddy, and you two are hysterical together- it's like you were meant for each other. You look more like him every day, and that makes me so happy.

It's getting warm out, so we spend a lot of our time outside because you love the fresh air. Sometimes we go for walks, and sometimes we just hang out on the grass. You love watching your doggy Max do tricks and roll in the grass.

We're getting ready for you to start eating solids, as you've really started to show an interest in our food when we eat around you. We're planning on embracing the baby led weaning concept, and it should be fun watching you explore different foods. But I have to be honest- Mommy is nervous and so intimidated by introducing solids!  Can't we just nurse forever?! kidding sort of :)

We love you little man, and can't believe you're almost half a year old! Let the warm weather come, because we're ready for our first summer with you!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Mamarazzi strikes again!

This week while taking Luca's weekly photo, I caught a first on camera! Luca is 23 weeks....


Is that not the cutest thing? I'm SO excited I had my camera out, and my SIL swears that he hasn't done this before, so I really feel like I witnessed an important first- something I was concerned I would miss as a working mom. The icing on the cake? I was on the phone with Luca's Daddy! So he got to hear it happening, and I hope he felt like he was a part of it all.
Even Max enjoyed the show!
Working moms- how do you deal with the guilt of feeling like you're going to miss important milestones while you're away?

Monday, May 14, 2012

These days, we're loving...

..our stroller (and sitting like a big boy)!

We researched and researched and ultimately, our all terrain stroller was between the Bumbleride Indie and the Bob Revolution. We chose the Bumbleride because when we tried both of them, I just felt like the Indie handled better and fit our needs more. Either one would have been fine, but we really really love our choice :)

Last weekend we had a little family get together, and Luca was loving his transition from the car seat in the stroller to sitting up like a big boy. We still sometimes take him in the car seat if he's already sleeping in it or we're going somewhere we might need to take him out of the stroller, but generally our walks these days look like this...

We also love the Bumbleride because it can fully recline, so if Luca needs a nap and we're hanging out outside, we can easily just put him down. Luca's not a great napper anyway, so I'll try anything for a few extra minutes of sleep- night or day!

He's also discovered that he loves to put his feet up on the bar. On our walks I'll look down and see feet and I know he's having a good time.

We take walks every day, and I'm loving our stroller and watching Luca actually enjoy our walks!

Oh, and we're also loving our new pants:) I'm pretty sure seersucker is the new black.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Luca's Birth Story- Happy Mother's Day!

Here's the post I've been meaning to write for... five months? No way my baby is five months. I thought it might be fitting to finish it today, my first mother's day!

A quick recap (click here and here for the whole summary): I was having a somewhat uneventful pregnancy, but my Dr. was worried about an incompetent cervix and I was being followed pretty carefully for that, so I had steroid injections at 30 weeks and after. Around 35 weeks I started to get really, super swollen (like more than just normal pregnancy swollen), and my Dr. had my collect my urine for 24 hours to see how much protein was in it. The day that I was collecting my urine, we had our maternity photos scheduled with my friend Amanda of Doubly Happy Photography. I'm so glad we did, because I had no idea it would be the last full day before I went into labor.
The next morning after the 24 hour collection, we headed to the hospital to drop it off and to get some blood work. Hubs suggested we snap a few photos "just in case today was the day", and I laughed a little but humored him by posing in front of our tree and in Luca's (unfinished) nursery.

Max had no idea how his life was going to change- he loves Luca, but still doesn't always understand that he's one of 2 little men now:)

Luca's nursery before my MIL made us the perfect crib skirt and valances and before we hung any wall art. I'll be posting about this later- if you can't tell it's a safari theme!

So we snapped the photos and I felt a little silly because I honestly thought I was going to go in, give them my urine, and head home. Funny story about the whole urine collection- I sort of spaced it and planned our dinner that night with asparagus. I went to pee in my collecting jug and realized what I had done. I'm so so sorry to the lab technician who had to process my urine- I swear I didn't do it on purpose!
Ok so we dropped off the urine and we were told that the lab needed a few hours to process it, so I would need to be set up to some monitors to monitor my blood pressure, and I would have to give some blood so they could test my platelet level. I still thought I was headed home.

Prior to my pregnancy I always had really really low blood pressure. It wasn't unheard of for my blood pressure to to be around 90/50, so when my Dr. checked it around 33 weeks and it had creeped up to 120/80 (the normal range) she wasn't too worried, but wasn't going to just ignore it. The day we came into the hospital it was still only 145/90 and even when I saw that it didn't phase me as a huge deal. But the attending Dr. from my doctors group wasn't very happy about it, and when my platelet levels and urine protein amount came back, I was told I would be immediately induced.

Platelets are an important part of the clotting process. They circulate in our blood, and if platelet levels are too low excessive bleeding can occur. A normal platelet count in a healthy person is between 150,000 and 450,000 per microliter of blood, and when platelets are below 150,00 it's termed thrombocytopenia and it occurs in about 7-8% of normal pregnancies. When we came into the hospital my platelet level was 80,000 and it dropped to 60,000 before I gave birth to Luca.

So the low platelet levels, elevated blood pressure, and insane amount of protein in my urine meant I had developed a condition called HELLP syndrome. HELLP syndrome occurs in about 0.2 to 0.6 percent of all pregnancies. In comparison, preeclampsia occurs in 5 to 7 percent of pregnancies. The H stands for hemolysis, or the breakdown of red blood cells, EL stands for elevated liver enzymes, and LP stands for low platelet count (sorry, I'm a science geek and have to include this part!). The immediate treatment is to deliver the baby, and for me that meant an induction, something I hadn't really prepared myself for. I still sort of hoped I would be able to go home.
I was pretty emotional at the thought of having to be induced, and all I cared about was that Luca was ok. I really didn't know how serious my condition was, and the Drs were sort of hush hush about it with me, but they were pretty vocal to hubs. I now know that up to 25% of women can die because of HELLP syndrome, and they kept quiet to prevent me from having a seizure. Within hours I was hooked up to pitocin and magnesium.

 I had heard horror stories about being induced with pitocin, but I can honestly say that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I'm sure that's because this was my only experience with labor, and I had nothing to compare it with.  Hubs headed home to get our hospital bags and birth ball, and when he got back I had pulled myself together after calling my family. My mom hopped on a red eye flight, and hoped to make it for Luca's birth.
I even had some time to read up on how to take care of a newborn! We were actually signed up for a newborn essentials class the night Luca was born, but for obvious reasons we didn't go:)

After about 12 hours I was feeling alright, but weak. Magnesium lowers your blood pressure and can slow labor, so the pitocin had to be bumped up. I wasn't allowed to walk around, but they did let me roll around on my birth ball next to my bed. I'm hoping the next time I give birth I'll be able to use it more, because it distracted me a little bit and felt pretty good.

Because I was on mag, I had a nurse in the room the whole time. She was so sweet, and when I begged for food, they let me order a meal- such relief!

I'm not exactly sure what time it was, but maybe around midnight something happened to my IV. Hubs was sleeping in the chair next to me and woke up to a pool of blood below my bed. I won't really go into details, but there was quite a bit of blood and a hustle to get the bleeding to stop. Hubs was freaked out, and I was watched really closely after that.

I came into the hospital around 3-4 cm dilated, and overnight on pitocin I dilated to 6cm. Around 10 in the morning my mom walked into our room and I was so happy to see her, but things were really starting to pick up. The doctors broke my water, and within an hour I was pushing. I don't really need to tell you how intense the contractions were if you've ever given birth, but they were exactly what I thought they would be- period cramps on steroids. I asked for the anesthesiologist, but I was already told I would be pushing. My original plan was to have an epidural, but when we arrived at the hospital and they found my platelet levels were low they told me the only way I could have an epidural was to have the catheter inserted right then and they would turn on the epidural when I needed it. So I had that thing in my back all night and when I asked they turn it on it was already time to push. They tried, but only my left butt cheek was numb-whoopty doo. In retrospect I'm so thankful it didn't work, because I was able to move my legs, and that really helped me effectively push. I don't plan on an epidural for any future pregnancy because of this.

Pushing for me wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be push, rest and wait for a contraction, and then push again. But all I wanted to do was push- even between contractions. Within a half hour, at 12:30 in the afternoon, Luca was born and my life changed forever...

Little peanut weighed 5lbs 13oz.

 I had planned to invite both my mom and MIL into the room when Luca was born, but they were asked to leave just before I started pushing, and by the time I thought to invite them back, Luca was already on his way. So after he was born my mom  and mother-in-law saw their grandson, and I was so happy they were both there.

I might be a bit of a sap right now because I'm writing this on Mother's Day, but I can't express the love and light Luca has brought to my life. I see things differently, and life seems so much better now that he's here. And just when I thought I couldn't love my husband any more, I do. He was amazing during my labor, and I couldn't have done it without him there.
The only real side effect I felt from the magnesium during my labor was that I was SO THIRSTY. The nurses had to limit my liquids because of how they affect blood pressure, but they did let me have a few popsicles! My big mistake, though? Eating a purple popsicle right before Luca was born- my mouth is purple in the photos!

Exactly a year ago on mother's day, hubs and I told our parents we were pregnant. We gave each mom a Mother's day card for grandma, and we were so excited to share the news. This Mother's Day, I'm holding my little man as I type this and feeling so incredibly blessed.
I love you, little Luca. I'm so lucky I'm your mom...

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms- I now know this incredible love, and how special it feels to be a mother.