Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Week & First Night Alone with Bendelle

Since Bendelle was born, I have been dreading the day that Aaron has to go back to work. It hasn't all been rainbows and unicorns, taking care of a newborn, but it has kind of felt like a fairy tale, having our whole family home together for two weeks. So when Aaron went to work last night, all I could think about were all the diapers he's changed, all the baths he's given Bendelle (which I have yet to do!), and how he has developed this magical touch that keeps her happy. But despite all my fears, I somehow made it through our first night alone together with some sleep (better than I expected!) and I only cried once! These past two weeks have given me such a deep appreciation for my husband and also for all you women who have had to do this alone. I am so grateful to have a husband who is such an enthusiastic father and I couldn't imagine parenthood without him.

Daddy's girl
How I managed to take a bath our first night without dad

Bendelle at 2 weeks old
This weekend we had the pleasure of seeing our best friends, who went above and beyond for us. Not only did they make an amaaazing pumpkin chili with all the fixings, but they brought wine and pomegranate juice (for me, in place of vino) so we wouldn't be stressed out at all with having people over. On top of that, they brought "pumpkin bark" dessert and even offered to change Bendelle's diaper! Mandy & Sean, I am so thankful for you guys :)

I could not be more excited for Halloween week! Even though I won't be doing some of the festive things I have done in the past (dress up, party, carve pumpkins, bake pumpkin seeds) just because this whole mommy thing is still new to me, I am so excited to spend our first holiday together with our little pumpkin. I'm glad Halloween falls on a Friday so Aaron will be with us on Halloween night :) That morning Bendelle has her first doctor's appointment, and then the rest is up to us. . . Our town goes all out for Halloween, with a parade and zombie run so we might go into town depending on how everyone is feeling. We already went to the Idyllwild haunted house which was so creative, spooky, and fun. I was so impressed with all the hard work that went into it and was happy my little cousin kind of forced us into going one night when she was visiting.

We introduced the pacifier this week! Lately it's hit or miss

Enjoying the Autumn weather and fall leaves during our walk on Sunday
So I think Halloween night will most likely look like a cozy night in front of fireplace and scary movie at home, which I am totally happy with :) But that doesn't mean I won't be dressing all my babies up . . . thanks to my friend Kendra, who gave me a ton of doggie outfits and costumes earlier this year, Darcy is going to be a crocodile and Bennet is dressing up as a lobster! They already have tried their costumes on and I swear Darcy would wear hers all month long if I let her (which would make for fun walks around the neighborhood). For my first Halloween, my parents dressed me up as Batman/girl, so I am continuing the tradition with Bendelle. I already bought a Batman onesie when I was pregnant with her, which will be accompanied by black and white striped leggings and a black tutu and bow.

I am so excited for our first holiday together, although I know she won't remember it. We finally have a little bumpkin to share our holiday enthusiasm with! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 2 with the babe

Week two at home has been a little bittersweet. My mom and sister left on Monday and Bendelle and I were both a little sad to see them go (at least that's what I got from her fussy mood that day). 

On the upside, I get to spend this whole week with Aaron which means everything. He's such an amazing dad and has gone out of his way to make both his ladies happy.

Flowers Aaron bought us yesterday
 Sleep has been off and on--I never really know what kind of night it will be, but obviously last night was amazing because here I am blogging :)

We are experiencing a lot of exciting firsts over here, like her first real bath, which she experienced last night after a huge spit up explosion. I went upstairs to change her diaper and was pleased to experience an easy diaper change when it happened. I was strapping on her new diaper when she started to spit up. I quickly threw her over my shoulder to burp her when she projected nasty, chunky breast milk all down my back . . . Aaron came upstairs after hearing her throw up and yelled, "Don't move!" Not only was there milk down my back but there was a stream leading down my pants to the floor. When I peeled Bendelle away from me, poor baby girl was covered and speechless. She held her hands out, her little fingers spread apart and eyes wide opened. She was in shock.
So we decided it was time for a real bath. She lost the rest of her umbilical cord when she was just six days old, but until yesterday we had stuck to just giving her sponge baths. So we busted out the bathtub and dad gave her the first bath! 
She hated it, of course.

We have been religious with our daily walks every evening. I think the fresh air is good for everyone, especially the pups. They have been so good with Bendelle and we are trying hard to still give them the attention deserve :)

We are so in love with this little human and are excited to spend this holiday season with our new little bundle of joy. In exactly one month Aaron's mom will be here for Thanksgiving, and we couldn't be more excited for her to meet her first grandchild!

Tomorrow Bendelle has her first doctor's appointment, so we are hoping for a good report. Until next time, here's some baby spam :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our First Week as Parents

It still feels surreal. I knew my growing stomach was a ticking time bomb, but it doesn't really hit you until you're holding your newborn baby in your arms. And that moment is one you'll never forget.

I was relieved when my doctor said we could leave the hospital 24 hours after Bendelle was born. I have heard of people staying 2-4 days and Aaron and I hate staying in hospitals. Despite everyone's advice to take advantage of the nurses and care given to you after birth, I was hobbling around the room packing our bags over an hour before we left.

Bendelle's first car ride, after making our escape.
It was such an amazing feeling bringing her home and introducing the pups to the new member of our family. Even though Bennet is overly curious, I can tell they both love their little sister.

This week has almost felt like a (stay at home) vacation to me, despite the lack of sleep I get and the pain I feel off and on. I am so incredibly thankful Aaron gets two weeks off through his work and we are able to bond as a family and be parents together. I may be her food source, but dad definitely wins in the diaper changing department. There is nothing sweeter than watching your husband bond with your newborn baby girl and see him become a wonderful dad.

We have also been blessed having my mom stay up here in Idy with us. Not only has she been a wonderful support system and here for advice, but she has gone out of her way to make us amazing meals, and has filled our fridge with much appreciated leftovers. I don't know what I would do without her.

As for Bendelle, she couldn't be more perfect. I love her little features, the little noises she makes, and I could spend all day just watching her sleep. Which she does a lot. And eat. I love the way she moves her tiny fingers and hands, like she is conducting an orchestra with her dramatic gestures. I also love how ferocious her face gets when she's hungry, right before she latches on. I love her perfect little lips, incredibly soft skin, and curious grey eyes. 

We are just getting her on a sleeping schedule and are still experimenting with how to make everyone get the best sleep possible. She is such a good baby though. She rarely cries, and if she does it is only because she's hungry or cold (when we are changing her diaper).

We love taking her on walks, which we have been doing all week, totally soaking up the beautiful weather and majestic mountains surrounding us.

I am trying to soak up every moment when she is this little (some of her newborn clothes are still too big for her!), and every leisurely moment we get to spend together as a family. This time in our lives is so perfect, and we could not feel more blessed :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bendelle's Birth Story

It all started at 4:10 am on Friday morning with a stomach cramp. Only it wasn't a stomach cramp--it was a contraction. After about four of them, I called my mom at 4:30 and told her I thought I was having a contraction. She told me to call Aaron and tell him to come home. I felt apprehensive about calling him right away because at the time I had no idea how much pain I would feel in about an hour and I didn't want him to come all the way home and have it be a false alarm. Luckily Aaron and my mom had more common sense than I did and they both headed over. 

After feeling the first contractions
It could not have been more perfect that my sister came up on a whim the night before, so she was there when my mom came over. I also should have taken it as a sign when Baby G was moving like crazy in my stomach after we went out to dinner. 
By the time they got to my house, about ten minutes later, I was getting contractions every 5-6 minutes and they were quickly becoming more and more painful. Throughout pregnancy I never thought too much about how painful labor could/would be, so it was kind of a rude awakening.
We anxiously awaited Aaron to come home (it takes him an hour from work), while I packed the last minute necessities I thought I would need for the hospital. One thing was clear: the minute he got home, we were leaving for the hospital.
By the time he arrived, around 5:40am, my contractions were 4.5 minutes apart. My step-dad was out of town on business but was scheduled to be back in Idyllwild around noon. We didn't want to leave four dogs at home alone for all that time, so we decided my sister would stay at our house with them until a little bit later. So we jumped in my mom's car, and she drove us down to the desert. It would take us a little over an hour to get to JFK Memorial Hospital, so in the meantime, Aaron helped me breathe though each contraction in the backseat while we drove through the Garner Valley as the sun rose around us. If it wasn't for my sailor's mouth it would have been a beautiful moment.
My contractions were so strong, that as we started to descend down the hill, I felt nauseous. With not enough time for a warning, I rolled down the window and threw up on the car behind us. Lovely.
Once we got down to the desert, we pulled over again where I threw up several times in a parking lot. I barely got out of the car in time, and ended up running across the parking lot to some bushes, barefoot, with traces of puke in my hair. I had only one thing on my mind that held me together and gave me some hope of relief--epidural.
When we got to the hospital we checked in and they gave me a room where I changed into a gown and waited for a nurse to check my progress.

The day before at my doctor's appointment I was dilated a tight 2 cm, and wasn't surprised when they told me I was still 2 cm. Because my contractions were so painful and we lived far away, I knew there was no chance in hell we were going home to wait for me to dilate more. So I was offered the option of getting Pitocin to help along the labor process. Since I was already in labor, the Pitocin would help to encourage the process, which meant more intense contractions. By this time, right around 10 or 10:30, I told the nurses I wanted an epidural. I kept repeating that I wanted the epidural, so they got the point that I wasn't messing around, and right around 11:30 I FINALLY got one. It was a process to get the anesthesiologist prepared and during the process, I had two contraction which made it almost impossible not to move despite his instructions to keep still and breathe through it.
It kicked in almost immediately and I cannot explain to you the relief I felt.
A little while later my sister showed up and shortly after that my doctor arrived. We all made bets on what time baby would come, as my doctor said she would definitely be here by dinner time. I guessed 4:10 pm (12 hours after my first contraction this morning), and everyone else guessed later times (5:30, 6:40, 7:30). The nurse inserted a catheter and the doctor broke my water.  I was having contractions less than four minutes apart, but thanks to the epidural, they were pain-free though I could start to feel the tightening and pressure increase as time continued. At 3 pm I told the nurse I wanted my doctor to check me because the pressure was intensifying. I was shocked however, when after she checked me, my doctor said, "Okay, you're ready. It's time to start pushing."
Throughout the whole time I was at the hospital, I was shaking. I think it was just from the shock my body was in. Now I was shaking because I was so excited--This was the moment I had been waiting for!!
I did about 15 minutes of (what I refer to as) practice pushing with the nurse before the doctor came in and we moved into the delivery room. I was told to push when I felt pressure, so while everyone was getting ready, I pushed through each contraction.
Then it was time. 
The doctor and nurses pushed my legs up and everyone yelled at me to "Push! Push hard mama!" My mom, sister and Aaron all stood at the head of my bed with cameras ready, helping me push as well. At one point, the doctor said she could see her head, and I lost it. Tears were streaming down my face and she brought my hand down to touch the tip of her head. This is it, I thought, this is it
I pushed as hard as I could for the next five minutes, and finally as her head emerged, I felt the rest of her spill out. I couldn't help but cry as the nurse yelled out "16:02!" 
"Girl?!?" I called out as they wrapped her in towels, and they all confirmed that yes, she was a beautiful baby girl.

The next minutes and hours that followed were surreal--I couldn't believe that we were parents and were blessed with a beautiful, healthy, baby girl. It was the happiest moment of my life.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Last Week (hopefully!)

It's so insanely amazing yet crazy to think that by the end of this week we could be parents.

After all these months of waiting, and surprises (from taking the pregnancy test, to finding out the due date, and then finding out the sex of our Bumpkin), I am so ready for the biggest surprise of them all--going into labor and finally meeting our baby girl face to face! I am so thrilled, I'm giddy.

I'm really trying to soak up every last minute of being pregnant, as excited as I am for her to arrive. There are things I will miss, like feeling her kick and move inside my big ol' belly, but I would gladly trade it in to be able to hold her in my arms and stare at her all day.

My belly feels stretched beyond max capacity here, and even getting off the couch is a minor accomplishment, though I'm still trying to stay somewhat active by walking the dogs and cleaning/organizing the house.

This weekend was fun and relaxing, with no big plans. My mom is now up here full time until baby arrives, which is comforting knowing she is just a few minutes away instead of a couple of hours. This weekend we barbequed some hot dogs, went on a 3 mile (mild) hike with the pups before it warmed up one morning, watched scary movies, and FINALLY decorated for fall!

My mom brought me some fairytale pumpkins, which are my favorite, and last Thursday after my doctor's appointment, I went to Target and bought these amazing Glade fall candles and room sprays. I keep the Red Apple Bakery scent in the living room and spray it in the morning, and I swear the house smells like Autumn all day long.

And to add the the fall festivities,I totally scored on this pumpkin cookie recipe! The best pumpkin cookies I have EVER had!

And speaking of my doctor's appointment, I was excited to find out that I am 1 cm dilated!!! When she checked my cervix she was even able to feel the baby's head!! WHAT!?!? I was beyond shocked yet thrilled to find out that baby girl is getting ready for her big day! I am really hoping she comes after Thursday yet before Monday . . . although I know it is alllll out of my control. Baby girl will come when SHE is ready!

Last week's update:

Weight gain: 30 lbs!
Symptoms: Feeling like my stomach is going to pop.
Changes: Not really a change feeling her move, but I swear she is sooo strong and her movements are so big! She is a wiggle worm just like her mom!
Clothes: Sometimes it takes a few tries in the morning before I find a shirt that actually (kinda) fits me. I really try hard not to wear the same five shirts over and over again!
Sleep: I can’t sleep more than 7 hours—I don’t know if it’s the excitement or what, but I’m really trying to make myself sleep longer while I still can!
Missing:  Being able to fit into all my clothes.
Cravings: Chocolate lava cake, halibut, and honeycrisp apples, which are my new favorite apple!
Best moment this week: Doctor’s appointment and spending time with my family, barbequing and hiking together :)
Looking forward to: Ummm. . . MEETING BABY GIRL!!!!