Baby

First three weeks of life and motherhood

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Like I said, the last three weeks have been quite memorable and extremely educational. Definitely for us but probably – definitely – also for Baby. I can’t believe she’s three weeks already! At the same time I can’t believe we finally made it this far…

People often ask me if parenting is as hard as I thought it would be. It’s definitely as hard but I’m surprised how little it bothers you to get up for the fourth time in the middle of the night, change an explosion of a diaper or just not having your hands free … ever. Because it’s your baby and you love her. And also I guess because it’s natural and instinctive, I realize.

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The hardest part for me has for sure been breastfeeding. Those cozy cuddly bonding moments in a big armchair, mother and child gazing into each other’s eyes… Yeah, they haven’t happened yet. I knew breastfeeding was going to be hard in the beginning but I didn’t know it was gonna be so bad it felt like labor wasn’t quite over. All baby and I could do was keep trying and trust people who said that it would get easier with time. And fortunately, it has and we’re almost to the point where it was totally worth the pain.

The recovery in general was also a bit more than I expected. A lot of bleeding and a lot of feeling really weak and a big flappy blob for a belly. Though this all felt like a huge pain in the butt the first week, now it’s pretty much in the same box as pregnancy and labor: sucked, but it’s a long time ago now.

That’s honestly how I feel about everything I went through now. I’m no where near the point of wanting to get pregnant all over again, but I am however already naive enough to think that ‘it wasn’t really THAT bad’. Silly me… but I enjoy the fantasy. I’ll worry about that next time the stick comes back positive.

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Just like when she was in the womb, Baby is still developing pretty darn fast. When she was new she was just a beautiful little cute ball of swollen fatness that could hardly squint through her heavy eyelids. She didn’t say too much and didn’t bother to interact much. But since then she has grown more alert every day. Now, we enjoy several hours every day with her lying awake, looking around and making the cutest ever cooing sounds.

The absolute best thing for both me and Marcus, I think, has been learning that she truly feels comforted by us and that most of the time when she’s upset it’s because she wants to be close to us. I had a nice experience Sunday before last. We had taken Baby to church for the first time and had spent the rest of the day at my parents’. That evening when we got in the car to go home Baby screamed like she had never done before all the way home. When we were finally parked outside our building I unbuckled and pulled Baby out of her car seat and put her on my shoulder. She immediately fell silent. For the next hour I kept her there, just enjoying the confirmation that she actually knows me and that I can calm her because I am her mom.

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I love her so much and though we’ve never had a conversation and though she hardly even ever looks at me properly, I feel like I know her – and in some ways like I always have.

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The birth story – part 2

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THE STORY CONTINUES…

Mom dropped off Marcus and I in front of the hospital and went to go find parking. She caught up with us even before we reached the elevator because I had to stop for every 10 steps to endure another minute of fiery agony. We got upstairs and soon I was back on the table, and the midwife told me with a smile that I was fully dilated and ready to push whenever my water broke.

Now… thinking back I dread the thought of what would’ve happened if we had stayed home like they told us to – my mom’s face would surely have been the first thing my baby saw and some midwife would’ve had her front teeth knocked out later that day – but at the time I just remember incredible relief. It was almost over!

After the good experience from the tub I managed to ask to give birth in water and we were escorted to a delivery room with a huge deep tub. The room was so hot. I spent the time waiting for the tub to fill at the window under which the radiator was on full steam. Ponytail please! Not soon enough I was climbing into the tub, which was filled with surprisingly warm water. Again, amazing relief washed over my body when I sunk under the surface. I remember heaving a huge “aaaaaah” and the midwife laughing. I found a comfortable position hanging over the edge of the tub and managed to ask if I was allowed to push. I was told I could give a small push at the top of each contraction if I wanted. We just needed the water to break before really getting to work. … which happened on my very first push just after with a surprisingly loud ‘pop’. I looked up at the midwife eagerly, but my immediate happiness was quickly swept away when the midwife asked me to get out of the tub. She thought the amniotic fluid looked a bit green, in which case she needed me on the table. I stared at her in disbelief. We were ready, I was comfortable and we were good to go! Was she kidding?

When I didn’t move, she urged me again and instructed Marcus and Mom to help me out. I waited out another contraction, gathered my strength and slowly got out of the tub. My goodness, that bed was tall and I have no idea where I summoned the abs to heave my legs up.

Five minutes later I was just about comfortable and okay dealing with the contractions on dry land. Then she told me I could get back in the tub. Gosh.

It was absolutely worth it though. The water was as amazing as ever.

By now I was pushing as hard as I could. And more than just once per contraction. In the craziness of all the pain I figured maybe I could impress everyone by pushing her out faster than anyone expected. I’d been told that the pushing part can be as fast as 20 minutes and I was deeply disappointed that I didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere.

Then if you’ll believe it, the midwife asked me to get back out of the tub. Only this time she didn’t ask. She ordered. And she made it clear that I had no time at all to hesitate. Apparently the baby’s heart rate had dropped to half. She was in distress.

How on Earth I got out of the tub and made it over onto the bed, I have no idea. The moment I was out of the water I could feel her, her head between my legs. I trust I don’t need to emphasize how freaky that feels.

But then the midwife told me the most amazing thing. “Just one more good push and you have your baby”. I was a little too under to notice her own stress but Marcus told be afterwards how the mood changed. The baby needed to come out immediately. The midwife called a nurse and asked Marcus and Mom to hold up my legs and me to push harder than I thought I could. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t really tell any longer when I was having a contraction, so I just chose a random moment and told the midwife it was time. And I pushed. And pushed. And then the contraction was over. And still no baby. I guessed what the midwife must have been thinking and decided to just keep pushing. The most amazing push. And as if my body had been severely gassy for 9 months, it deflated in an instant and the baby fell into the midwife’s hands.

Immediate relief washed over me. The tight belly relaxed and all traces of the contractions I’d been enduring for 11 hours immediately disappeared.

Mom and Marcus however experienced a few stressful seconds. Baby was all limp as if dead. The midwife shook her and blew in her face. After just a few seconds she coughed and gave an uneasy cry.

It wasn’t for another few hours that I realized I’d done it all natural. I’m not gonna lie. I felt pretty darn cool.

Then she was on my chest in a blanket and hat. And everyone was smiling and taking pictures.

It was over. There she was. Little Baby Girl. 3:40pm and 52cm and 3680g. Beautiful and healthy. Now we were parents for real, I thought. Yes, I thought! I felt conscious again. So conscious and tired that I couldn’t think of crying. So I just watched Mom and Marcus doing it.

It was really that simple. We were a family. Just like that.

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The birth story – part 1

It happened. The story I’ve been waiting to tell for so long can finally be told! And it’s a good one, so put up your feet.

A week ago exactly I had the hardest and most amazing day of my life so far. It all started at about 4.30 in the morning. I woke up and noticed I was having contractions. This wasn’t a biggie since I’d been having contractions just about every day for months, but the new thing was that I realized my contractions were what had woken me up. That hadn’t happened before. I pulled up our iPad and opened our contraction monitor app and started timing them. After an hour it was clear that there was about 6 minutes between them. I sent my mom a quick text “it’s time.” and woke up Marcus. Next, I called the hospital and was told to wait it out another few hours and even try to go back to sleep. I asked when I should call them up again and she just told me “When you need to”. Wondering when that would be, I jumped in the shower, knowing there was no way in heck I’d be able to fall back asleep. Marcus showered too and we had breakfast and watched a LOT (it felt like) of Modern Family on Netflix.

Being mainly focused on my contractions the next couple of hours went by really fast. The contractions were getting a lot tougher but still seemed to be 6 minutes apart. Really? As it was getting a little too painful to lie down I got up and started pacing. Immediately I noticed a difference in my contractions. The gaps between became clearer and the app now showed just 2-3 minutes apart. I finally called mom and asked her to come … now. Then I called the hospital and said we were coming… now.

Mom showed up around 10am with the biggest smile on her face. Neither she nor Marcus made any obvious attempt to be sympathetically serious but instead danced around me joking and taking pictures. I found it pretty darn annoying at the time but I’ll admit it’s a little fun to have the pictures now.

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Half an hour and a hard car ride later we were let into a room to have me checked up by a midwife. I’ll leave out the details and instead disclose how sickeningly inappropriate I found it that there were large posters of crowning babies on all the walls.

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Anywho, soon we were leaving the room again having been informed that I was about 2-3 cm dilated and that they would like for me to go back home and come back later. Say what?? I made it clear to my mom that I was by no means walking up the stairs to our 5th floor apartment again. I had no interest whatsoever in getting back in the car either, so for half an hour I insisted we just wait it out in the lobby of the hospital. Being slightly under the influence of strong pain in my pelvis I suddenly changed my mind and we decided to go to my parents’ house instead.

Yikes, that car ride was not fun. Over the next two hours I endured the contractions standing, sitting, lying down, lying on my mom’s yoga ball… At around noon mom called the hospital back and was again informed to wait a little longer. Frustrated, we decided to try something else and mom went to fill the jacuzzi tub.

I hear that all women react differently to stuff like this, but seriously, I’d recommend waiting out your contractions in a tub to anyone! It was absolutely amazing! As soon as I was in the water I felt like there were actual gaps between my contractions again and I could even sit up and talk to mom and Marcus – completely out of the question before. Another upside of the tub was that it seemed to speed up the process remarkably. I hadn’t been in there for long before the contractions just became unbearable. I couldn’t sit still or be somewhat politely quiet. But due to our last many hospital calls I expected it was going to get much much worse, since they obviously didn’t think I was very far along. So I sat tight – literally – and tried not to complain much … until all of a sudden I felt like I needed to push.

Since I’d never been pregnant or in labor before I wasn’t 100 % sure that this was what it felt like when you needed to push, so I left the door open to it probably just being me overthinking it. Nevertheless, I told mom who jumped up and called the hospital again. A few minutes later she returned with a look of frustration worthy only of the contractions I was experiencing. She said that once again the hospital had asked us to stay home. I had another powerful contraction, by now I was clenching by butt to make sure I wasn’t pushing. When it was over I looked my mom in the eye and told her that we needed to go right now.

As soon as I got out of the tub and the anesthesia of the water was gone I really felt it. My body was trying to push out the baby right here on the bathroom floor. The thought actually occurred to me that maybe I could ask my mom to just deliver the baby here.

Quick as a flash, we were back in the car with me in the front seat on my knees hugging the back of the seat. I remember that car ride as if in slow motion. Every contraction totally removed me from this world and the urge to bear down was stronger than any temptation I’ve ever felt in my life.

Mom dropped off Marcus and I in front of the hospital and went to go find parking. She caught up with us even before we reached the elevator because I had to stop for every 10 steps to endure another minute of fiery agony. We got upstairs and soon I was back on the table…

TO BE CONTINUED

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40 weeks pregnant

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We’re here! The week we’ve all been waiting for! Everything’s ready and everyone’s waiting.

But still no baby.

Rude? I think so. She’s gonna be a little drama queen that waits for all the guests to arrive before making her grand entrance.

Just please don’t wait too long, Baby!

I can’t really think of much we’ve done this week. It seems like it’s all been sitting on the couch staring at the clock. Pulling out an occasional school assignment to pass time. We’ve actually almost finished reading a book together. It’s called Heaven is for Real – you may have seen the movie. Good read! It’s about a little boy’s near death experience and his trip to heaven. Also, our apartment is tidier than it’s ever been. And hey, I finished my changing table project. If Baby takes much longer to come out I might start a project making some canvas pictures from our wedding photos. Tonight we’re gonna get our weekly shopping trip done in all hopes that we’ll have our hands full on Monday.

There aren’t really any symptoms to report this week. Other than the fact that Baby is definitely still growing. I pretty much can’t breathe when I lie on my back and often I need to change positions because Baby is pushing against my hips and ribs at the same time. I’ve pretty much lost feeling in the skin stretched tightly across my abdomen. And my feet are constantly sore – especially when I get out of bed in the morning and put my full 75+ kg on them they scream.

On the happy side I feel more energized than ever and I haven’t needed a nap the last many days. If it wasn’t so hard to move around I probably would be on my feet all day. I wonder if that’s a sign it’s soon… or the opposite.

Okay… next week folks.. there’ll be a baby picture on here!

Project cheap changing table

Baby is still not here, so project changing table is finished! And here is the grand result.

I can’t take too much credit for the design, as the only thing I’ve actually put together myself was the banner. It’s partially made from the same cloth as what my mom used to make the cover for the baby duvet in the crib. So I simply cut out triangles and sewed them onto a ribbon. Voilá! The actual changing pad is the cheapest I could find at IKEA. It actually has inflatable sides, but I thought it made it look too huge, so I folded under and taped them. I’ll need to unfold it again though when baby gets bigger. Instead of getting a cover I dug out a pretty cloth diaper I got for a baby shower gift and put over top. The basket is another baby shower souvenir that I just filled with diapers, wipes and salve. I want to get a pretty purple or green bowl to fill up with water for the wipes as well.

I did it! And I did it cheap!
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39 weeks pregnant

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Folks. We’re down to the wire. Anytime now I’m gonna be Instagramming a cute little baby face. And no, there’s no way you’re anywhere as excited as I am. Every time I have the smallest contraction I wonder if it’s time to time it and hoping against hope that another will follow within the next half hour.

A few days ago I had a real false alarm. We were out walking and apparently my body felt like it needed to tell me immediately that I needed to quit it. It felt like my uterus was going into pretty bad cramps and we had to call my mom to come take us home. Nevertheless, no baby yet.

In the meantime we have had more time to prep for Baby’s arrival. I have now finished packing a perfect hospital bag complete with a brand new fresh pair of PJ bottoms for Mommy – figured I may as well start a tradition while we’re at it, and what in the world is better than new clean PJs?

My next waiting-for-baby-project will be to turn a desk into a changing station. Initially we had decided, in our determination to not spend a lot of money, not to get a changing table and just be monkeys and do her changing on the floor, but the last few weeks have proved that we never use that desk anyway, and I need a baby related project. I’m excited to see what I’ll manage to pull off.

This week has also been my first back to school. Don’t ask how we plan to juggle that with a baby – we’re still optimistically working on it. I’m really really happy to be back though. Not that I regret our last year, but it’s just fantastic to be back working on my education.

Dare I hope that that was the last weekly update??

 

38 weeks pregnant

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What a great week! As horrible and as hard as last week was this week was a stroll in the park compared.

So I was sent to the hospital to do a blood test for my itchiness. At the time I was still experiencing sleepless nights due to my vigorous scratching and general going-insane’ness. But it seems that as soon as the doctors had gotten what they needed, my body seemed to decide it was all a great joke and went back to being normal. Since that day I’ve actually slept peacefully all night (except for frequent bathroom breaks of course) and I’ve stopped using the two liters of lotion every day. I feel amazing! I expect post-pregnancy is gonna feel somewhat like this to some degree – being a little more comfortable in your own body again.

Now I’m only hoping this isn’t a silence before the storm or if this is my body laying off because I’m gonna go two weeks overdue or something.

At the hospital they also monitored Baby’s heartbeat and movements and my contractions for half an hour. Afterwards they did  a quick ultrasound to measure her size, and everything seemed picture perfect! – still can’t get enough of doctors telling me that!

Poor Marcus was all excited about seeing her on the ultrasound, since he wasn’t there for the last one. But since Baby is so big and lying so scrunched up now, to us it seemed as if we may as well have put the ice cold goo on Marcus belly instead.

But who cares. We get to see her face to face in just two weeks!!

– You hear that Baby? Two weeks!

— OH! Also, I’m still in the continued process of tossing things in my hospital bag. I am wide open for tips and good ideas for what to bring. Anything you found handy, comforting or just practical to have with you? Much appreciated!

Baby, we are ready for you!

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I realize I still haven’t put up any pictures of our new apartment. Don’t worry, they’re coming. I just need to clean up a little first, so we’ll look as inhuman as we are definitely not.

This last week we’ve moved in. Though we’ve moved into new apartments five times in our marriage, this was the first time we were actually moving for three people. Baby has got her own bed, closet and shelf in the book case. It’s a really weird feeling waiting for a missing member of your family that you haven’t met yet. Even weirder feeling that that person is the moving bump that’s been kicking me the last few months.

But Baby, I know you said to plan on your arrival in 11 days… but Baby… we’re ready for you now!

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37 weeks pregnant

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Sorry, but there’s no better way to say it. This week I feel borderline handicapped. Thank goodness for husbands, or I don’t know that I’d get anything done that couldn’t be carried out seated. (I have a bad feeling I’m gonna read this post in a couple of years when I’m pregnant again with a toddler on the side thinking I was a bit of a whiner back in 2014)

For the past few weeks I haven’t worked out properly. My workouts these days consist of walks. Walks that I wouldn’t call “walks” if this had been any other period of my life, but to 37 weeks pregnant me it certainly feels like good and proper walks. Yesterday I walked to the store twice with Marcus – I think it added up to maybe a full kilometer and a half! However, though short, I spent at least 45 minutes doing it. Oh, and not to mention the stairs. Did I tell you? We just moved into our new apartment. …. On the 5th floor. That’s a lot of steps! Especially when you’re carrying around an extra 40% of your body weight. Needless to say, each walk up is closely followed by a ‘lay-on-the-couch’ session.

This week I reached the point where I feel exactly like anyone who sees a very pregnant woman’s belly assumes that it must feel like. Stretching beyond capacity and the feeling of being about to pop any second. Especially on our glorious walks does my body seem to say “wow! slow down!”. Marcus captured this phenomenon in the picture below. It was taken yesterday walking back from the store. I think he found it funny because I was torn between being so pleased with having my first sip of Danish chocolate milk (yes, it’s different) since coming home and uncomfortably rubbing my aching belly while I walked as fast as I could (a pace any old lady would take pride in keeping up with).

I’m still itchy as ever! As a matter of fact, I got out of bed at 4.30am to write this blog post, hoping that it would make me tired enough to fall back asleep. Suspecting it may have to do with trouble with my liver my midwife said she would send me for a blood test at the hospital. Little naive Becca thought to herself, ‘Hah! Sure, send me to the hospital, but I’d bet this baby is gonna be out before we can solve anymore problems like that!’

– who am I kidding.

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