Letters to a daughter from her parents, starting from before she was born

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One week birthday

My love,
Congratulations on your first week of life.  Here are some highlights
*today you found your thumb
*last night you Skyped with your grandparents in Oregon
*you nurse like a champ, meaning I never got engorged. Thank you so much.
*you'll sleep four hour stretches, usually once during the day and then once between 4-8am.
*your father is regretting is hasty offer of diaper duty after you started pooping all the time.
*you fall right asleep in the car, and dont seem to mind your car seat but our only outings have been to your pediatrician.
*you're wearing 0-3m clothing because it's easier to get you in and out of for diaper changes.
*your umbilical stump fell off on day six.
*newborn diapers? We went through a pack in six days and switched to our vast collection of size one. We're going to start with cloth soon though.
*every day you turn me into one of those seagulls from Finding Nemo that just say, "mine mine mine mine mine!!" There is a little "my precious" mixed in there too.
*Daddy hates handing you over at mealtime because you're just too squishy perfect.

The random stream of baby facts is brought to you by the blogger app on my phone and the sleeping baby on my shoulder.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week One Journal: Welcome to the world little girl.

My love,

Welcome to the world my beautiful daughter. You are sweeter, squishier, more perfect and more loved than I could ever imagine. Feel free to insert every...single...schmucky thing you've ever heard other people say about how adorable and perfect their newborns are. It's true.  I spend so much time just staring at you, smelling you, and touching you.

This entire pregnancy, all I wanted was a natural birth at the birthing center. Those plans were stymied near the end by a diagnoses of gestational diabetes and a baby that didn't want to come early, or on time. Fortunately for us, you decided that enough was enough, and I went into labor on Thursday morning, the date that induction was originally scheduled.  After one hellacious drive to the birthing center, that included me swearing at every car stopped at every stop light, we were on our way to our goal.

I'm going to skip forward through the story of my labor, because while I was in labor for 16 hours, time becomes meaningless.  You look at a clock and realize that somewhere between having contractions every two minutes that last a minute long, you've lost a few hours.  I could count time better through the number of times I had to change positions, and if we were in the shower, the whirlpool, on the bed or exercise ball than through looking at a clock.

The only people I had with me at the birthing center were your dad, and our doula Cara.  I can't say enough good things about her, and encourage every woman, even if you want to get an epidural or will go to a hospital, to have one.  She and the midwife knew tricks for helping my labor, like belly binding during contractions to pull the baby into position in my pelvis (which really made a difference and probably radically shortened my labor time), side lunging, and other positions that were instrumental in not only my comfort, but my ability to concentrate and stay focused.

I can't take all the credit for this experience, because I wasn't alone.  Your father never left my side (except once to go get bagels...I was starving).  Cara, and your father constantly told me what a good job I was doing, even when I whined back, "I don't have a choice!" The rubbed my back, held my hand, listened to me whine, and watched you enter the world.

You are a big chunk of baby love. At 9lbs 14oz, I think you even surprised the midwives. I think it wasn't your size that surprised them as much as how strong you are.  You have a full head of dark hair.  We aren't entirely sure which side that is from because your dad is (okay...was) a red head, and I was born blond. I think you look like your dad, but only time will tell.  Our nurse, who is also a lactation consultant, helped put you to my breast and you immediately latched.  You have little furry ears that dad calls your Yedi ears.  Your eyes already look more hazel/brown than blue, so we'll see.  You have a crease on the top of your nose, and when you squish your face up you look like an angry Buddah...or an angry gnome.  When you're hungry you mewl in a cry I call the, "saddest cry in the world!" You basically sleep, eat and poop and then cry about having to have the poop removed or having gas.  You're a wonderful, easy baby so far and oh my God we love you.

Here are some shots of you.  I have only taken pictures with my phone so far, so you'll have to wait for the professional ones we're having taken.

To my readers: Yes...her cheeks are actually that big. We aren't posting pictures on Facebook right now, which is why I wanted to get a blog out.  Dad may eventually get her website set up...but he's been a little busy being our servant.

Note: I'd have pictures of her awake, but she's generally nursing then and no one needs to see my cleavage.

Day One selfie.  

Day Two: contemplating life. 

Day 4: At the doctors office.  You have a tiny bit of jaundice, but it had already improved by the time we got to the doctor.  She was excited to see and squish you!  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

38 week journal aka "waaatt? no baby yet?!"

Dear Ada,

I was going to be a cynical disclaimer at this top of this post because it isn't all roses and sunshine like most of my posts are.  However, we really are super excited about your imminent arrival (imagine me saying that with a smile and gritted teeth) and I can't wait to squish your little pudgy cheeks! You are such a little butterball (because Dad said it wasn't nice to call you Fat Baby). Maybe I'll just call you baby Buddha and try to take pictures of you in the lotus position? Mwhahaha I'd do it too.  Dad claims if I call you butterball that he's going to put you in a roasting pan and take pictures. He did it with the cat, so it shouldn't be any problem right? Your grandfather mentioned drawing a goatee on you as well. Um...good luck coming into this family. I promise not to share all of the pictures.

So kid, it's sorta time to get this show on the road.  If you were a small baby...I might be okay waiting a few more weeks, because frankly you're pretty easy to take care of in there.  However the really painful ripping stretch marks I've started to get around my belly button, the bad abdominal pain I suffer every night and some days, and the thought of pushing out a big baby are making me a not nice person to be around. Just ask your father. I think I blamed him for everything including the polar ice caps melting earlier today to detract from the fact that I'm just really anxious about your upcoming arrival.  Also, as much as Newton actually enjoys your ring sling, it was purchased for you...not him.

Dad is trying to figure out his vacation time after you arrive. Even though he dutifully saved up all of his vacation so he could take a month off when you arrived, they decided to wait until the eleventh hour (you know that time after you worked through the holidays and didn't get to spend time with your extremely pregnant wife) to tell him he was only allowed (at most) 2 weeks. What kind of world do we live in that doesn't value the role of a father being able to take time off to bond with his child, and would go so far as to question why taking this time off was even important to him? What kind of society do we live in where fathers that are offered paternity leave (which your dad isn't) still won't take it because it makes them look 'bad' in the work place to take extended leaves of absence to spend time with their families? Where and what are our priorities? I am so truly blessed that I will be able to stay home with you, and our financial state isn't such that I'd have to return to work soon after giving birth, but I'm well aware that I'm the exception not the rule.  I'm angry about this, but currently also completely powerless.

How far along: 38 weeks (and I'm writing this 3 hours before 39 weeks and you're STILL IN THERE.

Size of baby: Too big to push out without drugs. No seriously, child...let's get this show on the road.  The ultrasound place said around 9lbs, but that a. you're long (long femur!), and b. that it's just an estimate. It can go like 10% either way so that would make you average size to omg huge.  They doubt you're that huge though because your fluid levels are good, and you move quite a bit.

You're really low, which translates to it frequently hurting to do things like...walk, and although I don't really have the sensation of having to urinate like I did before I got pregnant, I can just sorta guess that I always can. Actually...sometimes I might respond to an email while sitting on the toilet, knowing that I'll get a second pee out of it. Yeah, I'm classy like that. Know that if you send me an email, I'll probably be peeing while responding.  

Gender: girl, or a boy that will really have to embrace the color purple.

Movement: Less lately, or rather you move, but it's not as big of movements. Maybe your chubby self has finally run out of room? You've never been much of a kicker but more of a slosher. You're moving around (mostly mid morning, and if I lay on my side), and still getting the hiccups around once a day.  I can push on your rump and frequently annoy you into moving as well.  It was more fun before it started to be painful.

How I'm Changing: Since last week? Who knows. I am a generally impatient somewhat short tempered person, and the longer this uncertainty of delivery and baby are hanging over my head, the more anxious I'm becoming.  Oh...and I'm becoming increasingly intolerant to people's 'helpful' but really just patronizing attempts at advice.  Sooo...I'm anxious and bitchy. That sums it up pretty succinctly.

Maternity Clothes: Yes, please.  I came to the conclusion the other day (and why the heck did it take me this long??) that I can get away with wearing dad's sweats and t-shirts, and my belly is covered and I'm comfortable. I HATE maternity pants. They make my skin itch so much and I only have 1 pair of maternity jeans that even fit right now.  I'm loving that this 'b-belly' has more or less allowed me to wear my own clothing through most of this pregnancy...well any of my own clothing that accounted and allowed for the exponential growth of my butt.  I told Dad to pack some of his sweats/shorts and t-shirts for the birthing center because, "one of us will wear them!"

How I'm Feeling: I think we covered that in the anxious and bitchy section.  I've been pretty tired, and no matter what does or doesn't get done, still feeling overwhelmed.  I'm someone that likes to plan everything in advance and I'm well aware that doesn't work well with babies. I've been having a lot of braxton hicks contractions that come and go, and lower abdomenal pain that comes and goes. I'm not sure if the pain I've been having is related to my round ligament or actually getting this kid out.  I'm hoping it's the latter, because I'd hate to think that I'd experience that sort of gut wrenching pain for nothing. My right shoulder has been killing me. I'm not sure what's wrong, but at this point it's radiating pain down to my elbow. Fun times all around.

Sleep: So I went from 4 hrs in a row, to 2, and last night to 60-90 minutes. It's weird though. Dad will get out of bed and it never wakes me up. He gets up to use the bathroom and night and flushes, and I don't wake up. But if he walks into the room in the morning I *always* wake up, and I wake up without fail at intervals throughout the night. I'm not even sure half the time if I have to pee, so just make myself get up because God forbid I don't...the excruciating round ligament pain isn't worth the extra sleep.

What I miss:  Hrm...certainty in my life, physical activity, not having strangers judge and touch me constantly, sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar sugar and umm..sugar? Oh yeah, and tying my own shoes.

What I'm Eating: Too much food that we aren't preparing at home? Not enough vegetables.  Probably too many carbs too. I was great for a couple of weeks, but then my blood sugar started to go low...so I started to eat more carbs.  My numbers have been higher than I'd like. One of the problems of the baby dropping is that I've started getting more hungry again.  I'm scared to step on a scale. I just want you born so I don't have to weigh myself anymore!!

Cravings:  I had a weird craving for cheese fries.  Also...sugar free jell-o, although I call it 'chewy air' is shockingly delicious.  I could also eat about a gallon of apple sauce a day. I'm not sure what my thing with apples is, but I could eat them all day long.

Best Moment This Week: Dad took Thursday off. We went and bought a ring sling for you (and got him to fall in love with the baby store), then went to lunch. Later in the evening went to the mall to walk around, and return some clothing. We also ended up having a delicious dinner which may have negated the health benefits of the mile plus walk we took. It was fun either way. We also went to the grocery store last night, mostly just to walk up and down the aisles. You took a nap. Thanks kid.  

So I was going to have dad take a nice picture of me, but why kill the selfie tradition?
Taken earlier in the week to prove to my mom that I own a different shirt than the red one

He loves it. I love the ring sling. The linen is going to be a biotch to break in though. 

Taken 38w 6 days (aka this afternoon)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

37 week journal

Dear baby girl,
We're getting down to the wire here! You're officially full term, and we're so ready to meet you! That said, aside from the no sugar thing, having you happy bouncing around my uterus is much easier than having you outside. I bought the most adorabllllleeee outfit for you to wear home, so please don't be too big for it! I also packed some (sorry but not quite as adorable) outfits in case you're too chunky for the newborn outfit.  The wanting to dress you in cute clothing mania has apparently already started.

Yesterday I got lots of practice with my new little frog wrap....wrapping Newton.  I need to work on getting my rails tighter, but it was fun and he's shockingly cooperative. I feel like he's going to run away any time he seems a baby wrap now though.  Wait until we get a ring sling. He's going to love that thing...until you take it over.  I feel much more confident wrapping you now though.

How far along: 37 weeks aka...we can discuss your eviction notice at any point now.

Size of baby: Winter melon (no idea what this actually is, but basically I'm wondering how you fit in there)
Average size: 18.9-20.9 inches, 6.2-9.2 lb.
Baby’s inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking.
(I just noticed at the length and weight don't change for the duration of the pregnancy, although they just give you weirder and bigger fruit)

Gender: girl

Movement: Sometimes you move constantly--usually in the evening. Today you're being pretty chill. You're still getting the hiccups at least 1-2 times a day, which are pretty darn cute.

How I'm Changing: This belly...it's just ridiculous at this point.  I keep walking into things...and people with it.  Also, my ribs on the right (since you still won't get out of there) are sort of really stretched out. Sometimes when I lay down my belly is really crooked, especially when you start sticking your butt up.

Maternity Clothes: I have no choice. I can still wear yoga pants though!

How I'm Feeling: Tired and completely unmotivated. It takes me all day to empty the dishwasher, and I've started asking dad to run easy errands for me.  When I went to the mall this last weekend with my friend, I got a bit too dehydrated and had a ton of contractions for half of the trip, into the night. I had to reassure my friend that I wasn't going into labor (alas...).
My hands and feet are feeling swollen some days, but I actually think that cutting out refined sugar really cut down on the inflammation.  I hate that I couldn't resist eating a cookie on NYE and killed my glucose for the day, and my hands and feet started hurting again.

Sleep: I've been getting 2-3 hrs at a stretch, but I can go back to sleep pretty easily.

What I miss: energy to do things like clean my house!

What I'm Eating: Lots and lots of protein. I just wanted to eat soup and crackers the other day...and couldn't.

Cravings:  chocolate. Sugar free chocolate pudding seems to work.

Best Moment this week: 
This has been a really big couple of weeks! Last week we had Christmas, and this week we were blessed to welcome the New Year with our close friends.  Dad is having fun introducing people to my tummy (you).  It's a little embarrassing, but what the heck.

On Tuesday we actually had excellent appointments getting your sonogram taken, and then our midwives appointment.  This sonographer found out that we hadn't actually gotten to see your face or anything (just lots of ribs and heart), so she turned on the 4D picture and showed you to us and oh my god...you are SO cute/chunky and SQUISHED.  I <3 it.  I think I really needed to see your little face.  It just made my week.

After that appointment we went to the midwife and I got to ask all of the questions that had been bothering me all week, like can we deliver at the center?, and what their procedure for gestational diabetic women are, and what are the procedures at the hospital. Basically, my blood glucose levels are being controlled very well by diet, and there is no reason at this point for me to have to deliver by my due date (sometimes they freak with GD babies b/c they assume they're huge).  Everything is on as planned...you just need to decide that it's time to get out.



And to my readers, here is your reward.  A picture of my own personal chunk ball.
She was wedged between her arm, and something else. Dad thinks she looks like an angry Buddah.
I think you're adorable!!!! Such perfect fat cheeks and adorable lips.

That bump is all your butt, kid...just thought I'd put that out there. And, it's blurry because dad can't take pictures on the fly.