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Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Shall Call You My Squishy

The past 48 hours have been quite the whirlwind, but it has been amazing. We are officially a family of four! With the help of J and my nurses, I've pieced together G's crazy birth story.

On Tuesday evening, I was feeling a bit defeated. You know, that feeling that you will never not be pregnant. Little did I know, Ginny had other plans in store.

I had been getting random contractions at night for a few days, but was woken up around 5:00 am on Wednesday morning by a very hard and fast contraction. It was very different from the contractions I'd been feeling, so I figured I'd start counting them since I was up anyway. Before I could get my iPad turned on and the contraction app loaded, another one hit - this time with a fun addition. My water broke!

How can you pick out second time parents? When my water broke with Charlie, I yelled for Jeff in a panic. This time? "Well, there goes that..." as I waddled to the bathroom. Jeff looked at the clock and groaned his way out of bed and into the shower. We got ready, made all of our phone calls, packed up our stuff, and were in the car by 5:30 am. 

The ride to the hospital is only about 15 miles, but contractions getting closer and closer together made it seem like an 1,500. As we drove down the highway, I shook my fist at the huge full moon - surely this was its doing.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, the contractions were about 3 1/2 minutes apart and I could hardly walk through them. I hadn't had contractions like this with Charlie until they started pitocin, so I didn't realize just how fast things were progressing. We checked in at labor and delivery, got registered, and made it to my room by around 6:00 am. After checking that my water did indeed break, the nurse said I was at about 4cm.

The contractions were getting ridiculous and the spaces between them were useless. Was this normal? I had absolutely no idea, but knew I wanted now. I asked for an epidural to be ordered, which was fine, but first needed to receive at least one bag of saline to help keep my blood pressure up to prep for the epi. Between the saline requirement and the epi order - it would be an hour. At that point, an hour felt like it would be an eternity and the contractions were getting harder and faster. A quick check around 6:30 am revealed that I had progressed to 7cm in just the half hour since checking in. I really didn't want IV drugs because I hate how they make me feel, but I needed something. Stadol it was.

The Stadol helped take the contractions from writhing pain to don't talk and breathe slowly pain. The only problem was that it also made me completely loopy and groggy. The next 45 minutes passed by in what felt like a blink. In between contractions I closed my eyes to keep from getting dizzy, leaving me to catch random glimpses of the nurses prepping the room. I was so confused; why were they bringing in a baby warmer already? Why were they setting up drapes and supplies? In what probably sounded like a garbled mess, I asked what was going on and my nurse said, "We're having a baby soon!" J and just looked at each other. What?! We just got here! How is this possible?!

By now it was a bit before 7:30 am; two and a half hours since labor first began. I opened my eyes to find the anesthesiologist and my nurse standing around my bed. J was helping me through contractions and I had hardly noticed them trying to get my attention. The nurse checked me again and I was 10cm and Ginny was almost crowning. Excuse me? Yeah, I understand that women have been having babies for thousands of years without drugs, but that was not for me. The anesthesiologist left.

I hadn't planned this. I didn't have some hypno-magic breathing technique in my back pocket. I was terrified. I wanted to cry.

My midwife came in and I don't even remember what I said or did, but I'm sure I looked scared out of my mind. In the most calming, confident voice told me that I COULD do this and WAS going to do this. The Stadol was still making me slightly uncoordinated and my eyes very heavy, but as pain control it was completely useless. She was coming so fast that the slightest movement hurt from head to toe, yet when I pushed I felt like nothing was happening. Just when the moment of panic came over me that I could be at this for hours, my midwife told me that her head was on its way. Everyone, with a much better view than me, coached me to hang in there and keep pushing. In one more push, her head. In another, the rest of her. At 7:50 am, she was on my chest; purple and screaming.

There she was and no one tried to take her. The nurses bustled around, but Ginny stayed right there in my arms. I had surprisingly minimal tearing, but Ginny did end up with a bit of bruising on her face from her wild ride. She pinked up quickly and boy, does she have a set of lungs.

Eventually, she was taken to be weighed and cleaned up a bit, but was returned quickly to nurse and snuggle. It was amazing. She came in at 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 20" long.

Today was full of family, good reports from the doctors, and lots of squishy baby cuddling. Now that we're home, its been fun introducing Ginny to our little family. Charlie is still unsure of what he thinks of her, but likes to talk about "his baby." After a nice long nap in my own bed, I'm feeling much better and am looking forward to the next few months at home with my squishy.

Back to the time where day and night don't mean much, meals are eaten with one hand, and everything seems to be measured in ounces. I feel so incredibly blessed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

DIY: Month to Month Stickers

You know those cute stickers you can put on onesies for month to month baby pictures? Did you know those suckers can cost upwards of $20 a set? Yeah...I don't pay that much for something I can make!

With a little Googling and some Photoshop know how, I was able to put together a set of onesie stickers for Ginny's month pictures. They're not super fancy (not that I'm a fan of the super fancy ones), but they were easy to make and inexpensive. All I need to do now is print them on sticker paper and cut them out.

They were so quick and easy, I made a boyish set as well to share. With a bit of stripes, argyle, and plaid they are fun! I wish I had made them for Charlie instead of buying them. Oh well - live and you learn.

If you'd like your own copies to print, follow these links to the corresponding PDF files. They're high enough resolution to print with a home printer while staying crisp. Enjoy!

A New Job for Charlie

With all that is going on to prepare for Ginny's arrival, I've tried to make it a point to slow down and remember how much this will impact not just our family as a whole, but Charlie in particular. People ask me all the time if he's excited to be a big brother, but truth be told, he has absolutely no idea what is about to happen to his nice little balanced life.

He knows what a baby is, he points to my belly and says, "Ginny," he knows where her room is, etc., but I think these are all just memorized things he's repeating. He doesn't really have a concept that very soon this "Ginny" we keep talking about is going to make a very loud appearance in our house and use his old room, bed, car seat, and toys or that she will eventually follow him around, break his things, and adore him more than anyone else in the world.

The sibs & me
The other side of the big brother coin is watching C lose his only childness. He is so young that I can't possibly explain to him how important his role is and how everything will be okay. Maybe I'm particularly sensitive to this because I'm the oldest child of four and while I don't remember ever being an only child (my sister is 22 months younger), I'm sure my parents had the same little heartbreak to lose all of the one on one time.

So what have we done to prepare? Everything we could think of....I think. I hope.

Talk About the Baby
We started by talking more and more about the baby. With C, we didn't find out his sex until he was born, but this time it was important to us to find out to help when talking about the baby. I think its easier for C to understand words like sister and Ginny, rather than ambiguously using the term "baby" for nine months.

Important Jobs
All toddlers love to help, no matter how big or small the job, and C is no exception. Any way he can get involved in what we're doing is a positive experience for him. He helped us paint G's furniture, arrange her room, sort through clothes - and he loved every minute of it. When she's born, he can help put clothes in the hamper, grab diapers, clean up toys, etc. Sometimes it can be a daunting task to involve a tiny person with developing motor skills and the attention span of about a minute, but when toddlers feel like they are part of the process, they're less likely to act out for attention in negative ways.

Books & Baby Dolls
Two things C loves are books and his stuffed animals. For Christmas this year we got him a few big brother books and a baby doll of his own to care for. Though he is kind of indifferent to the baby doll most of the time, we read through the books and he seems to understand what is happening in the stories. Some of our favorite big brother books are...

Click on the picture to link to the book!

While we love all of these, my favorite part about "What Baby Needs" and "My New Baby" is that they show breastfeeding (as well as bottle feeding) and baby wearing as part of baby's day - something that C will see often as well.

Random Luck
Another (completely unintentional) thing that has worked was getting a puppy. Friends and family thought we were absolutely nuts to get a puppy right before having a baby. Honestly, I think it was kind of nuts, but its worked out better than we could have ever planned. Having Penny around has given C his first taste of not being the only adorable, fun thing in the house. When people come over, C has to share the attention with the new cute addition and while he got pretty frustrated at first he got over himself quickly. Hopefully, the same will happen when G gets here.

Now with such little time left with our only child, all we can do is spend a little extra time tucking him in, a little less time vegging on the couch, and a little more time cherishing our moments as a family of three. Ginny is an absolute blessing and I cannot wait for her to get here, but it was Charlie who taught me how to be a Mom and how to find joy in the most stressful of places.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

38 Weeks

A little late, but an update none the less! Here we are, less than 2 weeks to go and as ready as I'll ever be. I had a check up yesterday and everything looks great. Ginny's heartbeat and movements are nice and strong, my weight has (somehow) been steady for over a month, and my blood pressure is textbook normal.Woo!
Courtesy of my Mom friends.

One interesting tidbit from my midwife, however, is that apparently I'm a ticking bomb! After getting an exam, the question, "And you live how far from the hospital?" is a little unnerving! Not only is this little girl in a low, ready to go position, but I'm nearly 4cm dilated and almost completely effaced. This baby girl is trying to plan a ninja sneak attack escape. Apparently, the few random contractions I've had are doing a lot of work.

Normally, before calling your doctor or going to labor and delivery, you're supposed to wait until your contractions are five minutes apart, lasting one minute each, for one hour (5-1-1 rule). My midwife wants me to go in after 30 minutes just in case this baby is in as much of a rush as she seems.

The anxiety causing part of this is that I could easily walk around for 2+ weeks like this. It's crazy, but true; dilation and effacement aren't good indicators of impending labor unless you're actually having contractions, which I'm not. BUT once they start, this should apparently be a quick show.

Let baby watch 2013 begin...

Wordless Wednesday: Snow!

I thought having a spring baby would mean I wouldn't have to clean snow/ice/slush off my car while 9 months pregnant. Then I remembered that I live in Pennsylvania....

At least I had a helper!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Toddle Along Tuesday: Baby Bloopers

This week's topic for Toddle Along Tuesday is Baby Bloopers!! Some of my favorite Charlie bloopers have been part of his monthly Mickey Mouse pictures. It cracks me up to look back at pictures and see how he grows increasingly aware and interested in the gigantic stuffed mouse sitting next to him. The mouse abuse grows as the months wear on...!


 I'll be nice this month, mouse.

Got your nose!

My mouse!

Join the blooper fun with Growing Up Geeky and Toddle Along Tuesday!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Welcome to BlogLovin'

While I admire Google's constant drive towards innovation, sometimes its a bit annoying. Sorry, Google - it's true. In July, Google Friend Connect (which seems to have just gotten here) will be disappearing along with their reader program.

When I first heard about this change, I knew there would be something coming to fill the void and I was right. As of July, BlogLovin' will be filling in for GFC as a combined reader/follower in one. Every day, you'll get a nice little email of all the updates you follow, kind of like a newspaper (remember those?!)

Here's the catch - you need to tell BlogLovin' what blogs you follow. So, if you'd like to keep getting updates from All Four Love, click on our logo below and keep us on your feed! Don't miss out on all of the cute baby posts in the coming months!

Want to quickly transfer all of your blogs from Google Reader to BlogLovin'? Can do! Once you create an account, go to "Account" and then "Settings." Under "Other" click the "Import" button and choose "Google Reader." All of the blogs you currently follow via Google Friend Connect/Google Reader are now available on BlogLovin'. Easy peasy!

Enjoy your new, easy reading experience without the hassle of re-liking all of your favorite blogs!

Monday, March 11, 2013

37 Weeks

Woo hoo! We've made it to full term!

Its so strange; this is my second pregnancy, but all of this is new to me. When I had C, I was just beginning to feel the impact of the last few weeks, but now I get to experience the whole shebang. While the insomnia, swelling, and constant feeling that my pelvis is going to give out aren't fun, I feel lucky to have made it this far.

My saving grace lately has been seeing my chiropractor and getting some really sweet adjustments. She's going to see me twice a week until I deliver and it has made all the difference. I feel so much more put together (and much less waddley) after I get a good crackin'.

So here we are; 37 weeks, about 30lbs gained, nursery done, with G in head down in an engaged position ready to go. Any time now....which, lets be honest - blows my mind.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Nursery is Done!

Get ready for a ton of pictures! With the exception of the rug (which I hope to have done this weekend), we are ready to go. Clothes and linens are washed, supplies are organized, decorations are hung. Now all that's left is to have this baby!

 Mural wall with birdhouse night light.

 Refinished dresser and birdy art in Goodwill frames.

 Changing table and built in shelves to hold diapers and supplies.

 We purchased this mini closet at IKEA since there isn't another closet in the room. Turns out, its the perfect size! It fits a ton of stuff and will be able to grow with her. The three frames above will eventually have her hand print, foot print, and stats in them.

 Nursing station (burp clothes, bibs, pump bag, etc.) and view of the crib and coat rack and sign that J picked out. It says "Today is a Perfect Day for a Perfect Day."

 Toys, books, and stuffed animal storage and her over abundance of blankets.

I can't wait for you to get here, baby girl!